Security has become an essential part of webspace. With the intensity and frequency of cyber attacks, a website with no security measures is an easy target for hackers. Web developers and site owners now consider site security as a top priority when creating a website.
Whether you have a small website or a big eCommerce store, there will always be a threat. Website security is critical to prevent the risk of malware and spam.
Hackers can embed malware and steal your data. Some may delete the content of your website, which will affect your site traffic. Therefore, it is essential to have complete security for your website to protect it from hack attacks to secure your site’s data.
How important is website security?
Website security is not a set-it and forget-it solution. It is a continuous process, which requires a thorough assessment to reduce the risk of malware and spam. By following a systematic approach to website security, you will safeguard user data, business data, and content. For this, you will need to review website security before implementing safety protocols to protect your site.
A. Why Should You Consider Website Security?
Small site owners believe that their website is insignificant, and no one would target it. But, contrary to this belief – in 2013, more than 70% of WordPress new installations were vulnerable to attacks. Though, most attacks were due to outdated software. Besides, most owners don’t know the update feature and don’t care about the security updates.
There are many reasons why you should consider security:
- Your critical site pages may be blank, or hackers can stuff them with illegal links.
- Sensitive information – like customer details – may be stolen from your website.
- Your site could have a code injected that may cause visitors to infect their systems with malware.
- Malware attacks can spread to other websites on the server.
- Admin account information – username and password can be changed, which may prevent you from logging in.
- If Google detects suspicious activity or malware on your site – it will blacklist it and remove it from the search result.
C. Ways and Tools to Secure Your Website
If you find security-related issues and lapses after scanning, it is time to act on those issues and rectify them.
1. Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication or two-step authentication gives your log-in an extra cover. Besides your usual username and password, you will need a piece of information to log in. It is like adding a unique additional code. Two-factor authentication can be a digital code sent to your phone, or it may require email verification. In WordPress, there are plugins like Two Factor Authentication that can help add this functionality to your site.
2. Web Application Firewall
Through a web application firewall, you can use rules to filter out the traffic on your site. It helps you block the IPs associated with hackers or DDoS attacks. It is best to apply a web application firewall at the server level, and it is available as a cloud-based service provided by Cloudflare.
3. Prevent DDoS and Brute-force Attacks
DDoS attacks slow down a website with many bogus requests, which makes it difficult for users to access it. To prevent DDoS attacks, you can use a web application firewall and customised anti-DDoS software. Apart from this, you can disable the rest API for users and xmlrpc.php to prevent all third-party apps from accessing your site.
Just like DDoS, a Brute-force attack can guess your admin password and hack your website. To prevent a Brute-force attack, you can use two-factor authentication and change the login page of your URL. You can set up an activity log for unofficial login attempts or limit the page login attempts.
4. Connect over SSH or FTP
At times, you will need to connect your site via FTP to modify the files at the location. For this reason, it is best to use SFTP over FTP as the former is more secure. The FTP data is not encrypted, so if the user manages to intercept a connection, the user can see everything from your file uploads to login credentials. Moreover, you can consider SSH access that allows you to have a stable connection through command prompt to manage your site directly.