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5 Best Practices To Secure Your Website From Hackers

August 21st, 2018

Everything is moving online. Thieves too! And those thieves in the online world are called Hackers. They are tirelessly seeking websites that are insecure and vulnerable. And upon finding one, they are quick to hack it.

In fact, cybercrime has been in such an exponential rise that the global cybercrime cost is expected to reach USD 10.5 trillion (yes, with a T) in 2025 from USD 3 trillion in 2015 as per Cybersecurity Ventures.

But why do hackers hack? You may ask. Although there are good reasons to hack as well, we are here talking about securing our website from malicious intent. Here are some of the dirty reasons why hackers hack: -

  • To gain access to confidential data of a company and sell it

  • To threaten or blackmail the website owner

  • To demand a ransom

  • To leak information to the public

  • To disrupt services

  • Espionage

Yes, these things can happen to you as well! The bad news is that you can do nothing to give your website 100% impenetrable armor that will always protect it from hackers. But it is better to be a wolf in the jungle than to be a lamb in front of a hungry lion.

What I mean is that with some practices, you can bring down your chances of getting hit by a cyber attack. And that is exactly what I am going to show you today. Here are 5 easy ways you can secure your website from hackers: -

1. Keep your software, OS, CMS, etc. updated

Believe me, this is as easy as it gets. By keeping your online properties updated, you are laying the foundation of your wall of security against hackers. But it is sad to see how many people ignore this even though they have an unlimited data package.

  1. Is your website using any CMS like WordPress?

  2. Do you use any plugins for your website? (Almost always, yes)

The developers of every software you use online are trying to fill the loopholes in the code and release a more secure version of it. Thus, it is wise to update them as soon as you can.

CMS like WordPress gives you the option to set the update process on auto-pilot. That means the software will automatically update itself when it releases the new version of CMS or plugin.

2. Keep a strong password

Many people prefer keeping passwords that are easy to remember. So what do they come up with? [name]12345, [name][birthdate], or a simple plain text like “password.” Come on. You are better than this.

Put up an effort to think of a strong password that is hard to be guessed by anyone. Now, what is a strong password?

  • It is mixed with letters, numbers, and special symbols.

  • Some of the letters in it are capital.

  • The password is at least 12 characters long.

  • It is totally unrelated to you - doesn’t include your name or favorite actor (you get the idea).

And even if you have a strong password, I recommend you to change it frequently. And by changing it, I don’t mean - JOE#BiDeN$1 to JOE#BiDeN$2. Change it completely like 47SINGA##pore().

Nowadays, Google suggests very strong passwords which you don’t need to remember and is stored safely by it in the system.

3. Have an SSL certificate

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. Ever noticed that some websites have “HTTP” as a prefix while some have “HTTPS”? Yes, the “s” make a lot of difference in website security. The “s” shows that the website has an SSL certificate.

An SSL certificate encrypts your website data and adds an extra layer of security to it. This makes your data impossible to be understood without the decryption key.

You can buy an SSL certificate from your hosting provider, and usually, it is a one-time buy. That’s a pretty good deal considering that it increases trust among your website visitors. And remember that Google too prefers a website with an SSL certificate over those without one.

4. Beware of SQL Injections

Do you know that hackers can sneak through the form fields and URL parameters on your website? Yes, they can gain access to your database or manipulate it if they are successful in doing so.

It all happens when you use a rogue code into your query that could be used to access information, change tables, and delete data. But what can you do to make sure that it doesn’t happen with your website?

Don’t worry. SQL injections are easily preventable by always using parameterized queries in your chosen database language. This is fairly easy to implement too.

But what is a parameterized query? It allows you to place parameters in an SQL query instead of a constant value. A parameter takes a value only when the query is executed, which allows the query to be reused with different values and for different purposes.

Take this query as an example: -

"SELECT * FROM table WHERE column = '" + parameter + "';"

If an attacker changed the URL parameter to pass in ' or '1'='1 this will cause the query to look like this:

"SELECT * FROM table WHERE column = '' OR '1'='1';"

Since '1' is equal to '1' this will allow the attacker to add an additional query to the end of the SQL statement which will also be executed.

You could fix this query by explicitly parameterizing it. For example, if you're using MySQLi in PHP this should become:

$stmt = $pdo->prepare('SELECT * FROM table WHERE column = :value'); 
$stmt->execute(array('value' => $parameter));

5. Always keep a backup

As I said earlier that you can never be 100% secure from cyber attacks. No matter how protected your site is, it can still be hacked! That is why big companies pay hackers a big amount to find bugs in their websites or products and prevent any future possibility of getting hacked.

But since it is not affordable for every company, what else can you do? Have a backup.

It is always wise to keep a backup of your website and web application so that, God forbid, if anything happens, you don’t completely regret not having one.

Now, there is one mistake many people commit. They keep the backup in the server! So if the server gets hacked, your website backup also goes away with it. So make sure that you take the backup of your website frequently and keep it in any other place than your server.

Almost all web hosting companies provide you with the service of automatically taking daily backup of your website at a nominal cost. Or you can do it manually too.

How to protect your Laravel website from hackers?

Though Laravel web development has been on the rise, it has become a hunting ground for hackers to find a vulnerable website. Is your website developed through Laravel? Relax, we have brought some practices to make your Laravel website more secure.

Conclusion

Now that you know how you can strengthen your website against cyberattacks, it is your responsibility to implement these techniques in your website to have the best possible chance of survival when an attack happens.

I admit these practices are not enough. But they are the most fundamental ones and are good to start your journey to make your website secure. But let me tell you that nothing beats a good quality code.

Do you want a secure web application? Are you looking for a powerful and secure website? You can join hands with us to let us take care of that. We can provide you a better quality code that is less on bugs and high on performance.

Mukesh Ram

Founder and CEO, Acquaint Softtech

I love to make a difference. Thus, I started Acquaint Softtech with the vision of making developers easily accessible and affordable to all. Me and my beloved team have been fulfilling this vision for over 15 years now and will continue to get even bigger and better.

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