For the majority of the companies, web security becomes a matter of concern only when a security breach has occurred.
But then, this is the wrong way to approach web security issues. Web security should always be on top of the agenda for online companies. In other words, a proactive approach is better than a reactive approach.
This post focuses on seven common web security issues businesses need to take note of:
1. Absence of GDPR Compliant Forms and Policies
The introduction of EU regulation GDPR has prompted many websites to request user consent before using their personal data. Consent is generally asked in the form of pop-ups.
Consent forms will have to specify the measures taken by them when it comes to collecting and protecting the user data.
So, make sure you read it – word by word – before giving your consent.
The regulation is being looked upon as a massive step in data privacy, encouraging several US states to follow suit.
For the uninitiated, the US Government Accountability Office has published a 56-page report that proposes the adoption of federal legislation that looks similar to the GDPR mandate.
2. Dubious Contact Information
It has been observed that if the visitors don’t find the website’s contact information, they tend to leave the site and look elsewhere. And, in case, ‘thorough contact information’ is missing it, in a way, reduces the credibility of the site with the vendor.
So the point is, the website should have clear-cut contact information that highlights the email address, phone number, physical address, not to mention social media accounts. This assures the customers in terms of where to reach out if there’s an issue.
3. Common Malware
Believe it or not, even if the website has got the required SSL certificate, contact info or trust seal, there could still be security issues if its infected with malware.
Some of the common malware attacks include:
# Spam in Website’s Comment Section
This is commonplace, and you can quickly figure this out because the comments generally consist of broken English, irrelevant claims and a link directing to a malware-ridden website.
# Phishing kits
These kits resemble banking websites and eCommerce stores. The idea is to trick visitors into believing that they are running a credible site and they shouldn’t be too much worried about handing over their sensitive information. The confidential information these sites look for could include any login credentials or financial details. Of course, the site will appear legitimate and everything, but then, there will be glaring spelling and grammar issues.
Even malicious redirects fall under the phishing kit category. This happens when you key in a particular URL but are redirected to another similar-looking but suspicious site. Yes, again, their lousy spelling and grammar will give away.
# Suspicious pop-ups
Be careful of pop-ups that claim wild claims. These claims are nothing but luring you to click the CTA button which could be malware infested.
This one you can quickly figure out. Why? Because cyber-criminals hack the website by replacing the site’s content with a different name, logo, and imagery.
4. Injection flaws
Injection flaws happen when sites fail to filter out untrusted input. It generally occurs when you pass on the unfiltered data to the SQL server and the browser and to the LDAP server and so on. The attacker injects commands to these entities, which results in loss of data and, in turn, hijacking the client’s browsers.
Which means, whenever your application receives anything from untrusted sources, it should be filtered out first and foremost by complying to the whitelist.
5. Security Misconfiguration
It’s quite common these days to find misconfigured web servers and applications.
Some examples of misconfigured servers and applications include:
● Running an application with debug set up in their production
● Directory listing on the server leaking valuable information
● Running outdated software such as WordPress plugins, old PhpMyAdmin
● Sticking to the same default keys and passwords
● Irrelevant services are running on the machine.
Put into practice the “build and deploy” process which will run tests before deploying.
6. Sensitive Data Vulnerability
Sensitive data should be encrypted at all times and should never be traveling in the URLs. Credit card information and user passwords, especially, should never be stored in an unencrypted format and most importantly, passwords should be hashed.
It goes without saying crypto/hashing algorithm shouldn’t be weak. Web security standards recommend AES (256 bits and up) and RSA (2048 bits and up).
7. No SSL certificate
Last but not least, you need to check the SSL (Secure Sockets Layers) certification the moment you enter the site. If you really want to check if a website has a valid SSL certification or not, you could use these two methods. The first method is to look out for a padlock symbol, which is positioned next to the URL at the top of the browser. The other way is to look at the domain name, which is if the site has been secured by SSL certification; you will see that domain will begin with “https” and not “http.”
The SSL certification ensures data security, be it your credit or debit card details. Without SSL certificate, there’s the risk of sensitive information being exposed and being available to cyber-criminals.
Website security should never be taken for granted both by the website owners and internet surfers. Always look for certificates, security seals and customer reviews.
Most importantly, arm your business with the best of the web security tools to prevent cyber attacks.
Author Bio: I’m Jennifer Warren, resident wordsmith with GoodFirms – a review and research platform for top ecommerce development companies, digital marketing companies, app development companies among many others.