You might not believe that your website has anything that could cause it to get hacked, but sites are always compromised. The most of site security breaches that happen do not target altering the website layout or stealing data, but they instead try to utilise your server to broadcast spam emails, or to create a temporary internet server, usually to operate files that are illegal. Other conventional methods of abusing compromised websites include mining for bitcoins or using your server as a botnet portion. Your site could even get attacked by ransomware.
Hacking is often done using automated scripts created to search the web for websites with a particular software security issue. Below are some tips that can assist to maintain you and your website secure online.
This is a protocol that offers security through the internet. HTTPS ensures that consumers communicate only to the intended server, and no one else can change the content or intercept the content they are looking at on the way.
If your website has anything that the consumers might want confidential, it is recommended that you only use HTTPS to convey it. That includes login and credit card pages, and your website in general. For instance, a login page will always set cookies. These cookies are always sent to your website whenever a logged-in user requests to authenticate the requests. An intruder may get this information and entirely imitate the user to take up their login period. To prevent such attacks, you will require to use HTTPS protocol for your whole website.
Also, Google boosts your search engine rankings when you use HTTPS, offering you SEO advantages too. Now it is time to upgrade because the use of the vulnerable HTTP protocol is soon coming to an end.
Avoid User Uploaded-Files
Giving users the ability to upload files on your site is a considerable security risk, even if it is to modify their profile. The threat is that the uploaded files, regardless of how innocent they seem, could comprise a text that when your server executes it, it completely uncovers your site.
If your website has a form for uploading files, you need to handle all the data with suspiciousness. If you allow the users to upload pictures, you cannot depend on the type of mime or the file extension to verify that it is an image file because they can be easily faked. Also, utilising functions to determine the size of the image or opening the file and looking at the header is still not dependable. Most formats of images allow for comments that would contain PHP codes that can be effected by your server.
So, what do you do to protect that? Some options include renaming the uploaded files to make sure they have the right file extension or changing the permissions of the files so that the server cannot execute it. If utilising *nix, you can make a .htaccess file that restricts access to only the set files, which prevents attacks from double extensions as mentioned above.
Eventually, the best solution is preventing the server from accessing uploaded files directly. That way, any uploaded files in your website will be stored in your database as a collection or in a folder outside your webroot. If you cannot access the files directly, you will require to make a script to retrieve the files from the external folder and present them to the browsers. Most web hosting in Singapore agencies undertake the server configuration tasks for you, but if you own a server that hosts your website, you will need to check for a few things.
Make sure that you have set up a firewall that blocks all the ports that are non-essential. Where possible, set up a DMZ that allows access to port 443 and 80 from the external world. However, this may not be achievable if you cannot access the server from an in-house network because you will require to open up the ports to allow file uploads and login to your server remotely through RDP or SSH.
If your site allows file uploads over the internet, use only secure transport means to the server like SSH or SFTP.
If you can, ensure that your database and website are hosted on different servers. By doing so, you secure your database from direct access from the external world. It can only be accessed by your web server, reducing the risk of your information getting exposed.
Also, do not forget to restrict physical entrance to the server.
Inspect Your Passwords
Everybody understands that they should utilise strong passwords, but it does not mean that it is what they do. It is essential to use complex passwords to your website admin section and server. It is also crucial to insist on strong password practices for the users to safeguard their accounts’ security.
Although the users might not want that, enforcing requirements for passwords like including characters and uppercase letters, and the minimum number of characters helps guard their information in the end.
You should always ensure that you store your passwords as encrypted treasures using a single-way algorithm for hashing like SHA. For additional site security, it is advisable to salt your passwords – giving each password a different salt. If someone tries to steal or hack your passwords, hashed passwords prevent it since it is not possible to decrypt them. The only options they can use are brute force attack or dictionary attack. These involve guessing all the combinations until they get a match.
Gratefully, most content management systems offer loads of these site security features installed, although you may need some additional modules or configuration to set the minimum password requirements or utilise salted passwords. If you use .NET platforms, it is advisable to use the membership plans because they are very straightforward to configure. They also come with inbuilt site security features and password reset and login controls.
Authenticate on Both Sections
Make sure that you validate both the server and the browser sides. Browsers can mark simple flaws like compulsory empty fields and when text is entered in the numbers-only field. These can get easily avoided, and it’s up to you to ensure that you look for that validation – the same applies to the server side, as failure to do that might cause to scripting or malicious codes getting inserted in your database that can lead to unfavourable consequences in your site.
Watch Out Error Message
Be cautious of the information you disclose in the error messages. Give away as minimum errors as possible to the users to make sure they don’t uncover your server’s secrets like database passwords and API keys. Also, don’t give all your exception information, as it makes complicated attacks such as SQL injection more straightforward. Store detailed errors in the server logs and give users only the details they require.
Defend Against XSS Attacks
The most important thing here is to concentrate on how the content generated by users might bypass the limits you intended and get interpreted by the browser as something else rather than what you wanted. It is the same as protecting against injection of SQL. When generating HTML forcefully, utilise the functions that target the specific changes that you need.
Beware of SQL Attacks
SQL attacks involve attackers use URL elements or the form fields on your site manipulate or access your database. When using a basic Transact SQL, it is simple to insert a malicious code that could be used to delete data, gather information, or change tables. This can be prevented by utilising parameterised queries. This feature is available in most coding languages, and it is easy to use.
Keep Your Software Updated
It may sound obvious, but ensuring that your software is updated is crucial in providing the security of your website. It applies to both the operating system of your server and the active software on your site, like forum and CMS. When there are security flaws on your site, hackers are fast in trying to misuse them.
If you have contracted a Singapore web hosting agency to host your website, there is no need of worrying too much about updating your site security details as the company takes care of that. If you have extra software on the website, ensure that you apply security updates quickly. Most companies offer RSS feeds or mailing lists that give you any security issues on your website. Other platforms like Umbraco and WordPress send you notifications of an available update whenever you log in.
You can also use online tools like Gemnasium to send you automated notifications whenever your website becomes vulnerable to attacks.
Use Site Security Tools
Once you feel that you have finished everything, it is now time to test the security of your website. The best way of accomplishing this is by using website security tools, commonly known as pen testing or penetration testing.
Here are some of the tools that you can consider using for free in Singapore:
- Xenotic XSS Exploit Framework: It is a tool developed by OWASP, and it has a massive amount of XSS injection examples that you can run quickly to test whether the upload on your website is vulnerable in IE, Firefox, and Chrome. The automated test results can be scary because they present a large number of potential threats. The critical thing is to concentrate on the pressing issues first. Each reported problem usually comes with a decent explanation of the possible risks.
- SecurityHeades.io: It is a tool that offers a free online security check to your website for security headers that has been correctly configured and enabled in your domain.
- OpenVAS: This is among the most advanced open source scanner for potential security threats in your site. It is excellent in testing for known risks, and it currently scans over 25,000 vulnerabilities. However, it can be hard to install since it requires the installation of an OpenVAS server which only works on *nix.
- Netsparker: It is suitable for examining XSS and SQL injection.
There are some additional steps that you can use to compromise your website manually by changing the values of the POST/GET elements. A proxy for debugging can help you with this as it enables you to obstruct the HTTP request values between the server and the browser. An example of a free tool that can assist you with this is Fiddler.
Top 9 Online Website Security Tools for 2021
The website is one of the most valuable assets to your business. It is imperative to ensure that it’s fully functional and secure to continue offering exceptional user-experience to the customers.
Security breaches will ruin your credibility and result in loss of revenue. Information about website hacks spreads like wild bush fire via social media, and you could be forced to close shop hours after the hack.
It’s estimated that 30,000 new websites are hacked every day, and it takes 280 days on average for most web admins to identify a security breach. The new websites are the most susceptible to hacking due to insufficient security features.
However, that does not mean that websites that have been around for a while are not prone to this problem – they can be hacked, especially if the security systems haven’t been updated for a while.
Luckily, there are many free website security tools that businesses can use to secure their sites. Here is a comprehensive review of the top 9 online website security tools for 2021.
SUCURI is one of the most popular malware and security scanner for websites that you can use to enhance your website’s security. It’s a WordPress plugin with several essential features that guarantee the user’s security, such as post-hack features, email alerts, integrity checks, and malware scanning.
All the features work in tandem to scan the entire website for all loopholes that cybercriminals could exploit to penetrate your site. All detected malware will be deleted “exterminated” immediately.
Every scan will be accompanied by a detailed report to help you gauge the level of security and make a decision on whether there is a need to revamp it. You can upgrade to the premium plans to enjoy robust firewall and SSL certificate support.
- Uses WordPress hardening technology to enhance security
- Regular email alerts of all questionable activities on the website
- Robust post-hack actions on the affected site sections
- Defence against DDoS attacks is offered through WAF protection
- Optimised CDN to enhance the performance of pages
- Excellent customer support
- All patches and data is saved in a secure server
- The security features are minimal compared to other tools
- Premium tools are expensive
Many web admins and businesses use Qualys to scan their sites for vulnerabilities and SSL/TLS misconfigurations. The scan report is detailed and accurate compared to other premium website security scanning tools offer. The in-depth analysis report also gives the website a rating based on how secure it is to the users and the business.
This tool also goes an extra mile to detect cipher and scans all website applications to ensure that you comply with the stipulated PCI regulations. It is user-friendly, and you don’t need to be a data analyst or programmer to get maximum utility from it. All the information is displayed in an intuitive dashboard to help you make informed decisions.
- Strong website application firewall to protect your site from malware
- Scans all website applications and plugins for threats
- Continuously scans the site in the background
- Regular security assessment questionnaires
- Sometimes the scans are painfully slow
- Automatic resetting of passwords is inconvenient
SiteGuarding is another efficient security tool that you can use to secure your website. It is wired to complete security checks on the site to detect defacement, website blacklisting, injected spam, malware, and other issues.
It’s compatible with several content management systems such as Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Magneto, Bulletin, and many more. The detected malware is automatically removed before it can cause any damage to the website. The trial package lasts for 14 days – take advantage of this offer to gauge its performance and suitability to your website.
- Extensive search engine blacklist monitoring
- Files are scanned daily to identify any loopholes
- Round the clock customer support
- Timely security alerts to help you keep tabs on the website
- New generation web firewall and antivirus
- Fast clean-up after a hack
- The trial package offers very limited features
The intruder is a website security tool that is cloud-based and capable of scanning the entire website for anything and everything related to security. The tool’s infrastructure is regularly updated to ensure it stays abreast of all existing and new hacking tactics.
The high enterprise-level security features it offers make it ideal for online businesses and governments that are keen on making sure that their data doesn’t land in the wrong hands. The whole scanning process is simplified to save time and ensure that your site is 100% secure.
- Can detect missing patches
- Identification of misconfigurations
- Resolves SQL injection and cross-site scripting
- Detect and remove bugs and bad bots fast
- Identification of content management system vulnerabilities
- Offers enterprise-grade security features
- Concerns from some users that the results of the automated scans are not always accurate
- User-interface can be difficult to decipher for new users
The observatory is a product from Mozilla designed to help website owners stay abreast of all security challenges on the site. It identifies security issues by validating or counter-checking all the information captured during the scans against OWASP header security and the renowned TLS best practices.
This site security tool also goes the extra mile to check all third-party applications such as plugins, security headers, HSTS Preload, SSL Labs, and many more. Most hackers rely on cookies to gain access to sites without arousing the attention of web admins. The observatory can check all the cookies and seal all loopholes before disaster strikes.
- Reliable content security policy protection for all websites
- Accurate redirections
- Checks the integrity of all sub-resources or third-party applications
- Verifies all cookies
- Stellar cross-origin resource sharing scanning of the entire website
- Fast detection of x-content types
- Robust security through provision of X Frame modern options
- Provides hack-proof HTTP strict transport security protection
- Does not scan the website code for security lags
- Limited information on how the tool functions
SSL Trust is designed to give you full control of your websites by keeping hackers at bay always. This website security tool works in tandem with other known security tools such as Opera Blacklist, OpenPhish, Sucuri Site Check, Google Safe Browsing, and Avira.
Unlike other tools that offer few features, SSL Trust does 66 different checks, and the information is validated against the recommended security best practices to determine if the website is fully secure or not. The reports generated are displayed in an intuitive interface and are easy to digest even if you are a novice user.
Despite the fact SSL Trust’s functionalism and capabilities are unequal to no other, the tool is 100% free.
- Counterchecks data against known blacklist databases, Google Safe Browsing, and other phishing tools
- Checks the domain for span databases and email addresses
- Validates the SSL certificate
- Exceptional ability to detect malware and virus using tools such as Comodo
- Conduct deep scans
- Automatically encrypts customer data
- Affordable pricing
- Since it’s dependent on other security tools, the results may be inaccurate and variant
- The interface is not intuitive to some users
Pentest Tools is not one website security software but a set of tools that scan the site for viruses, malware, and other vulnerabilities. It will protect the customers as they browse the pages and input sensitive information such as credit card numbers when shopping.
Pentest tools will also cushion your business from ransomware by conducting regular deep content management system testing, SSL certificate testing, website application monitoring, and testing the existing website infrastructure.
For example, it can detect flaws in the server configuration and provide recommendations on how to resolve them. There is a light version that you can start with to gauge its ability to meet your business’s security needs. However, the light version only does passive or surface-level security scanning, and therefore the report may be incomplete or less detailed.
Using this tool, you can check your HTTP header’s security level and detect server software that is outdated or faulty. It also comes with a cookie setting that determines the security of the cookies. The scan report covers local file inclusion, SQL injections, operating system command injections, and XSS.
- Visually appealing presentation of the scan results on the dashboard
- Ability to schedule scans based on the website traffic patterns
- Ability to scan different templates that support more than one tool to detect threats that may be affecting them all
- You can custom the scan to only focus on specific elements or sections of the website
- A detailed summary of the scan findings. The report includes risks, evidence, vulnerabilities, and recommendations
- Can scan the network for security loopholes
- Even though the report is graphical, interpreting the data presented is not easy for users who are not conversant with terms such as SQL injection
39.5% of all websites globally are powered by WordPress. Based on this fact, it’s not difficult to see why most of the hacked websites are usually on this content management system. Luckily, WPScan, a website security tool, can help protect your website from cyber-attacks.
It is custom-made for websites that run on WordPress and comes with an array of security features meant to scan every part of the website and generate a report. The scan will detect flaws in the themes, WordPress core, and even the plugins.
The free plan has limited features, but you can use it to determine if it can protect your website. However, the paid package is more reliable and offers additional features that will greatly help you keep your website safe.
You can decide to be leveraging it via cloud scanning (no need to install it), or you can install it on the server for even easier access. Regardless of the option that you choose, you will get good results and utility from the tool.
- Enhanced security with a two-factor authentication feature
- Deep enumeration scan to identify all threats on the WordPress website
- Detects weak passwords and checks vulnerability of the username
- Checks the WordPress plugins and theme for weaknesses
- WPScan works best only on websites that run on WordPress
Probely is a unique tool whose function is similar to the conventional virtual security specialist services. You can hire development experts, a security team, DevOps, and SaaS business pros to work on your websites on the website.
The website security tool offered here works like the other tools we have reviewed in this article. It can detect issues with the website application, code, and other elements. The scan report not only highlights the issues detected but also provides recommendations on how to fix them.
The free package has limited scanning and malware detection capabilities even though it uses the API-First approach. The paid packages are available at different prices, and each package has different features. Make sure that you compare the pricing and features to select the right plan for your site.
- Accurate evaluation of the website risk to virus and malware
- Thorough website scans and detailed reports
- Easy to blacklist or whitelist elements highlighted in the report
- Essential security features or functionalities are prioritised
- Robust vulnerability protection
- The starter, pro, and premium packages are expensive
These are the top 9 website security tools available online that you can use to protect your websites from malware and viruses. Most of the tools have a free trial plan that you can use to gauge the tool’s suitability to your business. Check the reviews posted online by other customers to know if a particular tool delivers the expected results.
Another important factor that you should consider is the level of customer support. The best web security tool is enhanced by a support team that is always available to respond to queries via email, call, and chatbot. Consult widely and take into consideration the pros and cons we have covered to make an informed decision.
Once you have found the right tool and installed it on the website, the next thing that you need is a reliable team of digital marketers and SEO pros to optimise the site and market your brand online. Get in touch with us today for professional digital marketing services.
Site security is among the things that take time and money to achieve but can be beneficial if you get involved in a cyber attack. However, you cannot be 100% guaranteed against attacks. This guide will assist you to secure your site, but if a hacker gets access to your site and has the resources and expertise to attack you, it might still be possible. We hope that the article was helpful to you.