Any websites, no matter how big or small they may be, they are not safe from security threats. So as long as your network is connected to the webs servers, the level of such risk is there.
There are certain factors to consider when we talk about the level security risk that could happen to your site, risk may happen thru a simple misuse of your network resource by the employee. Your server and site host is the most serious source of higher security risk.
Your website servers are designed to open a certain window between networks that you’re into it and so to the world. Your network administrators carefully run server maintenance, the application updates of the website and the coding defines the overall size of your window, certain information is allowed to pass on the server after an established degree of security that is being implemented.
Is the Website at Risk?
When we talk about “Website Security”, it has two main components relative to it, namely public and the internal one.
We can say that the security of your network is high
- if you have fewer resources,
- the site has been set with extra high permissions,
- the website server is set up with the correct settings,
- all application are updated and all patched up,
- and lastly the website coding is perfectly done setting it with high standard permissions before any one will be given access to the database.
The security of your website is low
- if your company has integrated its financial assets, example customer identity or credit card,
- the content is controversial or extremist,
- the servers use old coding and applications
- or your website is maintained by an outsourced Information Technology expert.
All departments including IT are financially challenged with a tight resource, tight staffing creates maintenance issues that may challenge the security of the website.
Security Risk of the Website
If anything on your site that is made available in public, for sure your website security will be challenged and tested frequently by cyber criminals.
Make sure that the information you provide will not be used against your company of becoming embarrassed or other worst scenarios that could happen.
If your website has poorly coded software (this can be due to the not update one), this creates a higher security risk issues.
“Bug” is result to codes which was created poorly on the site and this creates a “hole” that threatens the whole website for possible serious risk.
Basically, programs with complex code or have bugs has less weakness than programs that were poorly coded that results to bugs.
Good website server is coded with complex data and it has lesser security threats. Though the complexity of the coded program potentially invites the public for possible holes in security, with the updated code created by experts, this can minimize possible security risk.
Technically speaking, website with the same programming increases its value, the visitor’s interaction, script permission or the SQL commands that will be executed on the website database as response from the request made by the visitors.
Also, web based form or any script that is installed on site has its weaknesses or bugs that may appear that will compromise website security.
Differing from what most people know about balance, a system which allows site visitors to access across its resource via website at the same time kicking unwanted site visitors on delicate portions.
Your website has no switch for you to push so it will instantly provide the needed security.
To think, open a window creates new arguments and there are several dozen permissions, just to think on the website server alone and every port or application that is open creates another settings. And think of the code of its page and you will see the clearer picture.
- The website security differs from the permissions granted to the
- and customers.
They have different variables regarding the security of the website.
The website security issue will be not be felt by the site visitors. One of the common website attacks is about silent installation of the code that will secretly exploit user’s browser without its knowing.
The website might not be the direct target of the attack and there are times that this can be a starting point for a possible massive attack. Normally, owners will have no certain information about the added code to the site that will compromise its visitors.
The target of the attack is not directly the website, but it becomes a bridge for attacking visitors installing nasty programs on their computer.
Security of the Website Server
Even the world’s secure website servers are the one that is being turned off. The idea is simple, bones of website servers have open ports and those services on those open ports are the best thing. This setting is not an option for companies.
Flexible and very power applications (for example: firewall) are required to run composite sites and naturally these are prone to security related issues.
A system that has number of open ports, services and even multiple script has high vulnerability on security issues, since there are open points to monitor.
If the system was configured perfectly and the IT assigned has been doing its job by regularly updating security patches to counter possible risk. Then the security issue might come from the active application running on the site.
If this is the situation, you might need to conduct a re-assessment of the application and create new update and check coding of the site by the expert for possible hole.
Web Code and Security
Every website including your site has means of communication towards visitors. In short,
in every interaction between two parties, potential vulnerability on the website security could be possible.
Normally, the website will request its visitors
- to load the page that is stored in a dynamic content,
- search for a specific location or a product,
- fill contact form,
- search any content in the site,
- use the shopping car,
- create user account
- and log in to the created account.
In every situations listed above done by the every visitor to the site, they are sending certain commands directly to the server or even to the database itself. During the communication in such field, a certain code will allow certain commands for it to be accepted or rejected. This is the deal of the website security for them to safeguard the website.
However, the limits of these commands are not automatic, it needs trained coders for them to write a certain code that will allow expected data to be check and enables the system to allow or disallow possible harmful data to the system.
Another problem and we found this common to most website.
The code from the site came from variety of IT programmers. Some came from third party IT, or it might be old. The website might be executing software that consumes larges sources.
Take note, almost every website administrator and website programmer has its own code that hey they created themselves, so if they update and made revisions it might alter the previously established website security settings embedded on the site. In addition to that, consider looking at the software purchased long ago and was not updated in adoption with the new trend.
There lots of server applications that are not used or unfamiliar with the new set of staffs anymore.
The code might not be that easy to locate, since it is about unfamiliar and not patch for years, this can create security issues as this will be the target of the hackers for them to get in the system.
Known and Unknown Website Security Vulnerabilities
There are many people online who tagged themselves as ‘hackers’. And you can easily guess out if they are just pretenders or not that equally skilled as to a hacker. In fact, most of them who call themselves as hackers are those who are ‘copycats’.
They simply read known technique devised by a certain person and use it in order for them to break in the site that interests them most.
On most cases, they just do it for them to test if they can actually do it or the technique they have found out will actually work for them.
And once they successfully done their plan, two things can happen.
- They will just leave it there,
- they will then take advantage of the weakness of the site for them to place harmful codes, hidden links, steal or plant something.
Only little number of legit hackers has the capability to discovery new way for them to bypass certain web security.
Considering that they are going to face the work that is being done by thousands of hard programmers operating around the world just to improve site security.
So discovering the new method in attacking a site is not that easy as what “copycats” do. It took not just hundreds but even thousands of hours for legit hackers for them to create an exploit.
Site attack is normally done by individuals and sometimes it is done by organized cyber crime. In most cases, attack is done for specific reason.
- want to maximize certain return of investment for the energy spent,
- or they will offer service via third party for website honors to get on,
- or doing attacks for them to get valuable information to the site, specifically on government assets.
And the attack will be running until such time that this will be discovered. In order to counter this attacks, you have to partner along with a group of website entities.
It is way better to contact them as they have the needed information to be used in order to counter the attack, since they are working in group and share latest information on web vulnerabilities and how to counter it.
With the involvement of professional IT programmers, the exploit used by hackers will be documented at the time they are discovered and sooner shared to the network.
By sharing information to the network, it will enable them to immediately check and take action to the flaws and create better site defenses.
Known and Unknown Website Security Risk
A certain site can be attack many times using the known exploit than the unknown one.
The reason for this concept is simple, most known exploit is used in order for hackers to increase the possible chances of getting in the site as its exploit has its target vulnerabilities and chances are high if the hole shall match to the used type of exploit.
The total number of websites around the globe is greater than the newly established one, and for sure some known exploit are still unknown to most of them so the chances of having a safe website is nearly zero, not unless you have IT assets with great value.
If your site does not get the attention of dedicated and financed cyber attackers, they your concern shall focus on eliminating known vulnerabilities so hackers using known the known vulnerabilities will not work for them.
Designed Defense Strategy on a website
In order to accomplish excellent web security, you need to go along the right road.
- The first one is you need to manage the resources needed in order to main frequent alert for latest security threat.
- Make sure the all the needed site updates and patches are up to date, if possible review all your running applications for possible bugs, and only ask for the right expert who has the needed knowledge to do the work and make sure you check their web security experience and expertise.
- The other option is making use of “website scanning” (daily malware scanning, file monitoring, etc.), this method is a solution for web owners to test its equipments, website code and applications if “KNOWN” security vulnerability exist.
Although Antivirus, IPS/IDS and firewalls are worthwhile, it is also advantage to double protect the door. In other words it is more effective to repair running risk than just leaving them and build higher security walls on them.
If you walk along these roads, building walls and checking vulnerability on the site, you will notice that conducting web scanning is way much better as it creates higher level of security based from the money you pay.
And this is what experts suggest for you to invest on it. This type of security is already proven by biggest websites that is being hacked regularly. With scanning it can immediately detect possible vulnerabilities that can compromise the site.
Using Web Security Audit
The greatest defense against possible attack on your site is to run regular complete scan up to the highest level, everything should be considered from the running applications up to the code being created by the programmers and evaluate if it was done right.
“Website testing” commonly known as auditing or website scanning, a hosted service that is provided by WSSA (Website Security Audit), the security service does not need any installation or hardware setup, this can be done any time without interruption of the operation.
For the record, the information accumulated regarding website risk for years has been complied and stored on a database on how to counter those vulnerabilities.
Each exploit has its unique combination and target potential weaknesses.
By examining open ports for possible exploits it gives high possibility to counter possible attacks on the site by countering the method.
It only takes hours, this type of network scanning system can even run through the entire website database and detect thousands of possible vulnerabilities and produce accurate reports and shows the level of possible threat on the site.
You can hand over the data to your designated staff and notify them on the web vulnerabilities reported on the scanning, after handing the data you can now look for possible solution to counter those possible codes with hidden threats on your site and conduct updates for your to make sure you site is completely free from possible security issues.
WSSA can be run regularly on your site for it to test your network for possible new threats as the other exploits has been eliminated, and also running WSSA regularly enables them to provide solid data for you to be notified if the action is at high or low level priority.
Another thing with this feature is it notifies you when new code was recently added that makes your site becomes unstable, unexpected port has been opened, or the new service loaded creates a possible chances for hackers to break in.
In terms of larges systems running with sensitive data, running a web scanning daily ensures that none of the recent site code added or application opened a new port in your security perimeter.
So if ever that open ports may happen for possible exploit, experts can then create a security measure in order to restrict potential cyber criminals from entering the system.
Recommended website security services
- Sucuri Sitecheck
- Qualys.com Freescan
- Quttera malware scanner
Table of Contents
- 1 Is the Website at Risk?
- 2 Security Risk of the Website
- 3 Security of the Website Server
- 4 Web Code and Security
- 5 Known and Unknown Website Security Vulnerabilities
- 6 Known and Unknown Website Security Risk
- 7 Designed Defense Strategy on a website
- 8 Using Web Security Audit
- 9 Recommended website security services