These days, website security is more important than ever. Hackers all over the world are preying on business and personal websites; which may contain valuable user information! With that in mind, we’re here to present you with a couple of important security tips for development and hosting!
Set Up A Web Application Firewall
Web applications are traditionally protected by a series of corporate firewalls, a secure DMZ server, and required authentication for an LDAP directory (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). However, the world of cloud-based computing has also brought with it new security threats – and while this sort of security is still required, it’s no longer enough. That’s why a WAF (Web Application Firewall) is incredibly useful in such a situation.
A WAF will protect your web applications via careful monitoring and filtering of any HTTP traffic occurring between said applications and the World Wide Web. In essence, it’s something of a shield. You can use it to deter any zero-day exploits, CSRF attacks, malware threats, SQL injections, etc. Though, bear in mind that you can’t use it to defend against any sort of attack; it should only be a part of your protection suite.
This is also referred to as a reverse proxy. With a usual proxy server, the identity of the client machine is protected via an intermediary. But with a WAF, the server itself is protected because all clients go through the web application firewall before they reach it.
WAF operations are governed by rules that we call policies, utilized to single out any malicious traffic. These policies can be modified by the user pretty easily, allowing for a quick adaptation to new attack vectors.
A Reverse Proxy Service Explained
To reiterate – the regular proxy service is there to stand “in front” of the machine of the client. When said machines make a request to an Internet website, the proxy server will intercept such a request and perform the communication with the requested web servers, acting as a middleman.
But why is this useful to begin with? Well, there are a couple of reasons. You may want to avoid browsing restrictions or to restrict access to specific content on social media, preserve the identity of the user, etc.
On the other hand, the reverse proxy is there to protect the origin server from potentially malicious clients, by making sure that no client will have direct communication with the server in question. Thus, reverse proxy services help with protection against DDoS attacks, as well as load balancing.
There’s no doubt about the fact that a reverse proxy immensely improves the security of any given website. It makes a targeted attack far harder to achieve, as any attackers would be able to target nothing more than the reverse proxy itself.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
Apart from this, we also recommend enforcing multifactor authentication – MFA. With it, you have an additional security layer that any online organization could use. Sure, it won’t make you impervious to attacks – but as you’ve probably realized by yourself, nothing will. There is no impeccable security; only degrees of certainty. With that in mind – the MFA definitely will make your users, and therefore your website, a lot less prone to harmful attacks. Having MFA on your administrative interface for hosting will make all of the client websites far more secure.
Essentially, MFA is perfectly described by its name – it means having more than a single mechanism for authentication. Most commonly, we’re talking about two-factor authentication (2FA); though MFA can mean more than that, with each tier protecting the others. These mechanisms are usually something like a PIN or a password, hardware or smartphone token; perhaps even a voiceprint or a fingerprint.
In fact, one of the most common kinds of multifactor authentication is based on SMS. Most of us have encountered one of these when registering for some kind of service online; once you make an account, you provide your phone number too. And upon a later login, besides your username and password, you also need to enter a temporary passcode; which you receive via SMS on your phone.
Importance of Proper Hosting for Updates
When building a website, most people don’t realize how important keeping everything up to date is. When you’re using something like WordPress to construct a website; you need to keep in mind that these content management systems constantly receive updates. And that’s where the importance of having proper hosting comes into play!
While most of the fixes and patches you’ll find are free – these will rarely be installed automatically. That’s why you want to find trustworthy hosting providers that deal with all the needed maintenance! Conversely, you might be faced with the prospect of sorting out all of the updates on your own. While finding the right service providers is not easy, there are some which offer both the affordability you want and the advanced options you require; here’s a collection of free services that we find trustworthy. With that in mind – make sure that you’re up to date with any changes in the software you use and you don’t overpay for the hosting on a regular basis.
Consequences of Neglect
If you don’t, the results can be truly disastrous. One of the most famous instances was the hacking of Equifax in 2017, one of the largest credit report companies in the world. Back then, the hackers managed to steal the personal data of over 145 million individuals. The company was using a pretty standard open source component in their portal for customer disputes, but they didn’t install a crucial security patch. This is one notorious example you want to steer clear of; as website security is crucial for both you and your online users.
The good news here is – basic website security takes time, but it usually doesn’t require too much money; especially in comparison to what you’d have to do in order to deal with the consequences of a breach. With that in mind, do everything you can to shore up your online security!