No business wants to put a lot of time and money into building the perfect website only for it to be hacked. Web developers should be careful not to make mistakes that will put a new site at risk of security issues.
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The experts at Syntax IT Support London have put together this guide, with five key things to look out for before a website goes live.
1] Outdated software
Outdated software can make your website vulnerable and allows hackers to compromise your server more easily. Updating software is straightforward and is necessary to keep yourself and your site users protected against threats.
Ensure that your WordPress stack is fully up to date to avoid related vulnerabilities. Checking for outdated software isn’t just something to do before a new website goes live, but should be carried out regularly long afterwards to keep your site secure.
2] Error messages
Error messages are a key part of the web development process and are useful when trying to fix issues before a site goes live. Developers should ensure that these messages cannot be viewed by the public, however, as they can give away sensitive information which can be taken and used by hackers to gain access to your web server.
This is an easy mistake to make, but should be avoided at all costs. Remember to remind your developing team to tidy up all error messages before your site is launched, so that the only messages viewed by users are helpful to them and are void of any sensitive information.
3] SQL injection
Your website will contain a database within it which contains information about the site’s content and users. SQL injection is an attacking method used by hackers to break into the backend database of a website by exploiting vulnerabilities in data entry mechanisms.
This kind of attack can be prevented by using parameterised queries and stored procedures. These help the database to distinguish between user data and SQL code, thereby stopping hackers from accessing parts of the database that you never intended them to see.
4] Lack of HTTPS
To make a secure connection, you must acquire and install a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate on the server hosting your site. Traditional HTTP isn’t encrypted and therefore is not secure, so without using SSL your website is left vulnerable to attacks that put sensitive data at risk.
A SSL certificate is an inexpensive way to make your website secure and gain customer trust. All traffic sent between your server and a user’s computer is encrypted and protected.
5] Cross-site scripting
Cross-site scripting attacks — also known as XSS — involve hackers injecting malicious scripts on web pages to gather data from subsequent site visitors. Users are put at risk from cross-site scripting as attackers attempt to impersonate them and gain access to their accounts.
You should ask your web developer how they guard against these attacks to determine whether you are well protected. Mitigating XSS can be a complex procedure and you need someone who knows how to deal with these increasingly sophisticated attacks.
Any new website should be thoroughly checked before it goes live, but it is also important to monitor existing sites and ensure that they are secure.
If your website isn’t well-protected and a malicious attack causes it to fail, sensitive data is put at risk and your business’s reputation could be destroyed.
As your primary link with customers, your website should not only look great and have good usability but should also be as secure as possible. Giving your web developing team time to get the job done properly and keep your site protected is vital.