A few reminders to help keep you and your business cyber-safe

Cyber attacks are a looming threat in modern times. You could unintentionally be giving away your personal information if you are not cautious of your actions on the web. No entity present on the internet is foolproof. Thus, cyber safety is of prime priority.
The intent of unlawful hackers is to modify the features of a website/system, which is not in accordance with you. Most security breaches have the intent of using your server as an email relay for spam, or to set up a temporary web server for uploading malicious content. Banks and large companies are common targets for hacking jobs, but sometimes smaller companies or a specific person’s computer are targeted as well.

 

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Irrespective of whether you are a web-designer, reseller or the owner of an e-business, cyber-safety is a criterion to keep yourself secure. No one wants to have their websites compromised. Here are a few common exploits that hackers use that you must be wary of.

SQL INJECTION 

1) What is it?
SQL injection is used by hackers to steal data from organizations. It is probably one of the most common application layer attack techniques used. SQL commands are injected by hackers because improper coding of web applications provide leverage for them to do so. Data can be accessed within your database if a hacker injects SQL commands into a login form for instance.
2) How does it precisely work?
Website users through web applications, are allowed to submit and retrieve data to/from a database. The database is the central hub of websites. It stores information regarding customers, employees and suppliers. Company statistics, user credentials, financial and payment information may all reside within a given database and accessed by various users. SQL Injection attacks allow hackers to view information from the database or even erase it. This poses a great threat to your business/organization.
3) How do I prevent SQL Injection attacks?
Whether a hacker is able to see the data stored on the database or not, really depends on how your website is coded. What is certain is that the attacker will be able to execute arbitrary SQL Commands on the vulnerable system. Security patches for your severs, databases, programming languages and operating systems should strengthen your defense against SQL related attacks.

POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS FILE UPLOADS 

There are a couple of risks from allowing content to be uploaded onto your site, but how important they are to you will likely depend on exactly how the site you’re designing will work. Allowing users to upload files to your website can be a big risk. Here are a few examples of what an attacker may upload in order to cause you harm:
  • Malware upload –  If an attacker can upload malware onto your site and that malware is downloaded and executed by your users then that’s likely to be a problem.
  • Active content upload – For example if your site uses php, hackers can upload a php script and get it to run as part of your application and eventually take control of the server.
  • Illegal content – If you allow user generated content, you’re most likely to deal with it sooner or later.
  • An attacker could upload custom HTML or JavaScript files.
The recommended solution is to prevent direct access to upload files all together. Also, ensure you have a firewall set up.
If you are allowing files to be uploaded from the Internet only use secure transport methods to your server such as SSH or SFTP.

FORTIFY YOUR PASSWORDS

It’s elementary in today’s world to keep your passwords secure to avoid a cyber breach. The most obvious idea is to keep them long with an alpha-numeric pattern. In short, do use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters with symbols and numbers. You wouldn’t want cyber criminals prying into your family member’s lives or your financial information now, do you?
  1. Make sure you change your passwords regularly
  2. Don’t use names or numbers associated to you, such as birth date, anniversary etc.
  3. The longer the password, the better.

SSL CERTIFICATES

SSL being an acronym for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’ creates an encrypted connection between your visitors’ web browser and your web page thus allowing a hassle free exchange of private information to take place. Attackers wait to take advantage if the medium of information exchange is not secure.
SSL certificates need to be enabled on a website. You can notice it adjacent to the left of the URL in your browser search bar. . Most SSL certificates only secure a single domain or sub-domain. But a wildcard certificate will help you secure multiple domains or sub-domains.
Comodo SSL Certificates offer to protect online establishments in the most cost effective way. Apart from being perfect for small to medium sized businesses, Comodo offers great value added packages.

WEBSITE SECURITY TOOLS 

After you have taken note of the topics mentioned above, it’s best to cross-check your web-security. There are a variety of website security tools available that you can use to check the vulnerability of web applications. Here are a few free open source web vulnerability tools that you can use.
 
  • Grabber – A web application scanner which can detect multiple security vulnerabilities in web applications. It performs scans and tells where the vulnerability exists. It helps in spotting SQL Injection, Ajax testing, XSS, JS Source Code Analyzer etc. It is simple and portable but not as fast as other security scanners.
  • OpenVAS – Considered to be one of the most advanced open security scanner.
  • Netsparker – Netsparker offers full support for AJAX and JavaScript-based applications. It also helps discover flaws that could leave your website exposed.
  • Zed Attack Proxy – Also known as ZAP is available for Windows, Unix/Linux and Macintosh operating systems. If you are new to these testing platforms, this tool is very simple and easy to use. ZAP primarily focuses on Intercepting Proxy, Dynamic SSL Certificates, Authentication support, Plug-n-hack support etc.
If you still find yourself infected in spite of following the above precautionary protocols, you can use SiteLock to help scan for malware. Also, in case your website/database has been wiped clean owing to a malware infection, Codeguard will help you restore your website or database to any previous back up version. Couple the two of these, and you have just made things a lot simpler for yourself.

 

Follow these simple guidelines to help keep your website safe. Also if you are a web hosting provider, do urge your customers who have their websites up and running through your hosting service to stick by these must follow reminders. Let us know your thoughts on this.

About Siddanth Pillai

Siddanth PillaiSiddanth can eat 7 hotdogs in one sitting. Apart from Content Marketing, he enjoys singing and is a professional Karate instructor

Siddanth Pillai

Siddanth Pillai

Siddanth can eat 7 hotdogs in one sitting. Apart from Content Marketing, he enjoys singing and is a professional Karate instructor