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Essential Web Security Checklist to Safeguard Your Website from Cyberattacks

Do you know what’s common between cyberattacks and flu?

Both take place not so often, but when they do, it makes your life no less than hell. Web security has become pivotal to safeguarding your website from various kinds of cyberattacks and ransomware attacks doing the rounds on the internet.

An article on Forbes says that it takes over $84,000 for companies to recover from a ransomware attack. Also, one ABC report warns about the increase in Cybercrime by 600% due to the Pandemic.

Also, here’s an industry-wise breakdown of weekly cyberattacks:

(Source)

These are staggering numbers and alarming for internet security and website owners. The question is, how can you safeguard your website against such threats?

Let me give you a 7-point web security checklist to safeguard your website:

7-Point Web Security Checklist to Safeguard Your Website from Cyber Attacks

1. Install and Verify the SSL Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer, which can be seen and verified in the address bar when you click on the lock shape. Integration of this certificate with your website means your site currently uses an active SSL connection. Installing such a website security measure sitewide is necessary for transmitting information on an encrypted network.

Information such as passwords transmitted outside of this secure connection could aid in compromising the whole site. Thus, verifying such an important web security element is essential to ensure your website is protected and users can access it safely.

As with any other, this certificate has an expiration date, so keep checking your SSL certificate to make sure it’s been upgraded. For the same, you can take help from website security service providers to install or replace your SSL and safeguard your website.

2. Use SHA-2 Encryption

Secure Hash Algorithm 2 or SHA-2 is a set of cryptographic hash functions and a significant upgrade over its predecessor — SHA-1. It consists of a family of six hash functions, out of which, SHA-256 and SHA-512 are prominently used.

These web security functions drastically improve the encryption of your website’s SSL certificate. Check your website’s SSL certificate encryption, and if you find SHA-2, congratulations, you’re on the modern encryption type.

If you find SHA-1, replace it immediately with a 2048-bit SHA256 one. Also, more encryption methods will come into effect with the advancements in security technology.

3. Keep Your Header Information Private

Please refrain from publicizing your web server’s type and version information or broadcasting it to the internet community. It’ll do nothing but aid the cybercriminals in compromising your web server and breaching security levels.

Such information will help them focus on the attempts to find possible vulnerabilities your web server type may have. This is especially true for ASP.Net header, server information headers, and X-powered-By header.

Thus, keeping your header data private is always in your best interest, as no one should get their hands on such sensitive data.

4. Use Secure and HttpOnly Cookies

Using secure and HttpOnly cookies ensures that your website information stored by the visiting systems stays private and transmitted only through an SSL connection. This restricts any imposters or cybercriminals from exploiting your website data.

The biggest advantage of HttpOnly cookies is that they restrict the access to client-side scripts. Also, flaws in the cross-site scripting cannot access the cookies stored in the visitors’ system. Enabling this feature will give additional protection to your website from vulnerabilities that target client browsers.

Also, secure cookies prevent your sensitive data from being intercepted by third parties. Implementing an SSL connection will ensure that cookies are not delivered over the unencrypted connections.

5. Improve the Web Server Processes

Ensure your web server processes are not running as root or Local System. Most web servers running on Linux systems will have a dedicated user and limited privileges.

Keep tabs on the dedicated user allotted for the Local System and what permission it has. Before going to production, change the default config of your Local System to a dedicated account.

Further, ensure the user assigned is not the admin and only has access to necessary files only. This will prevent your web server processes from being compromised by unauthorized users.

6. Secure Your Site from SQL Injection

SQL injection is an attack wherein attackers inject malicious code or scripts, causing your website or web app to crash or perform unexpectedly. Since the use of SQL databases is ubiquitous, injecting malicious SQL codes is a common threat people on the internet face.

Utilizing parameterized database queries with bounds, typed parameters, and careful use of parameterized stored procedures can help prevent the SQL injection. Accomplishing such a task is possible in a variety of languages including Java, PHP, C#, and others.

Another way to protect your website is to restrict it from running stored procedures. This ensures that any attempt to inject SQL code fails as it can only accept certain input types and reject anything else.

7. Frequently Test Your Website’s Configurations

If you want to safeguard your servers and other systems, you must frequently check your configured changes. Doing so will allow you a chance to fix security loopholes even before they get exploited.

Moreover, frequent testing ensures that your data centers have standardized processes and streamlined workflows. What else can help is keeping an eye on historical trend data to make quicker decisions while making changes.

Nothing is as effective as routine testing your web systems for the safety of your website. So, incorporate it into your web security checklist guidelines.

Wrapping Up

Apart from these, there are several other steps such as updating your web frameworks, frequently changing passwords, using one container for one site, and many others. However, these are common ones that we have excluded from our website vulnerability checklist.

Since your priority is to ensure and maintain the security and integrity of your website, we have presented an essential website security checklist to help you achieve the same. So, focus on the above-mentioned web security checklist to safeguard your website from cyber criminals.

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