Is Your Website Safe Against These Common Security Threats?
Building a website is challenging in and of itself, but it can be downright tricky with all the security threats present online. However, one thing that makes it a little easier is that most risks come from common security threats.
Since they’re so standard, building safeguards and defenses into your website is a routine part of building a website. However, that doesn’t mean you should take your defenses for granted. If you’re not building your website yourself, consider hiring an outside agency to help you secure it properly.
Hiring a penetration tester like Cybri can help you identify the security gaps in your website and come up with a plan to mitigate them. Here are some of the most common security threats for websites, so you’re aware of what you’re up against.
Denial of Service
Denial of Service (DoS), or its relative, the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), attacks are where an army of devices (referred to as botnets) send vast amounts of illegitimate traffic to a web server, which is only designed to handle a finite amount of traffic.
The server is overwhelmed and will take much longer to respond to legitimate traffic, or worse, ignore it completely. This ultimately results in a complete loss of service on the targeted website.
DDoS attacks have affected some of the most influential companies in the world, and botnets are becoming ever larger and more complex.
How to Protect Your Website from DDoS Attacks
Defend against DDoS attacks by employing multiple layers of defense to filter out malicious traffic, utilizing cloud-based services like Amazon Web Services, using firewalls, and enforcing good cybersecurity practices with your users.
Interestingly, DDoS mitigation-as-a-service is an innovative cloud-based service that lets companies of any size pay for protection against DDoS attacks.
Not so much an attack against your website as an attack against visitors, typosquatting is where a third-party website uses a domain name that’s similar to yours but might include a common misspelling. Think gogle.com instead of google.com (although that typo brings you to google anyway).
Typosquatting is commonly used in politics, where opponents can set up a fake website that’s damaging to a political candidate for office.
While many typosquatting websites aren’t necessarily malicious, they can be. A common tactic is for attackers to use drive-by downloads to put malware on an unintentional visitor’s device.
Obviously, that isn’t necessarily your business’s fault, but it does become your problem when visitors often are misdirected to a harmful website.
How to Defend Against Typosquatting
The best defense against typosquatting is to buy domain names that are similar to your website’s and then redirect that traffic to your website.
There are also tools available that can generate a list of active domain names that can help give you ideas of ones that are similar to yours. It can also help you find domain names you might want to try to purchase.
You can also use a service like Phishing Catcher to see where active domains are hosting content that’s similar to other active domains. You can track down potentially malicious typosquatters this way too.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Finally, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks occur when attackers inject malicious scripts into otherwise harmless. These are commonly found on web applications that use user input without filtering (such as on a login screen).
XSS attacks can then send malicious code to an unsuspecting victim’s device. This code might display cookie data, web history, or even let the attacker install further malware on the device.
Obviously, XSS is bad news, and it’s one of the most common types of attacks to which many websites are vulnerable. It comes in a variety of forms, but it’s a type of injection attack because it uses user input to generate script or code that takes malicious actions against the user.
Defending Against XSS Attacks
First, you have to see if your website is even vulnerable to XSS attacks to know that you need to fix the issue. There are several good scanners out there, like XSSniper or webInspect, that can scan your website for vulnerabilities for free.
Once you’ve determined your site is vulnerable to XSS attacks, there are a number of steps you can take to secure it better. These protections often have to be built into the website’s code and policy rules. These include the following:
- Validate and filter user input
- Make sure browsers interpret responses as intended by employing response headers
Defend Your Website, Your Business, and Your Users
Having an unsecured website is bad for business because it leads to lost traffic and untrusting customers. By checking for these common web-based attacks and taking steps to mitigate them, you can protect your website, your reputation, and your visitors from malicious attacks online.