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secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

Best Practices to Secure And Maintain Website Vulnerabilities

Your website is the most important asset and the central component of your web-based business.

You might know that the vast majority of websites are built with PHP as their programming language (Includes all the PHP frameworks and the leading PHP based CMS platforms like WordPress).

Web security is a continuously aching concern across websites. That is the reason it is crucial that you need to take the best practices to secure and maintain Website Vulnerabilities.

You need to take proper security measures to protect your website from various online threats. For securing the hardware and platform, you will need to write your code with security.

A well-maintained and protected website will provide a secure environment for your visitors and increase trust for your brand.

You can never build a perfect site but the more experience you have the less vulnerable your system is going to be.

In this particular guide, I have focused on some of the common web security pitfalls that you need to be aware of.

#1 SQL Injection

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

It is one of the most common hacking mechanisms that most sites are not completely equipped to deal with. In SQL injection, the attacker tries to alter the data you are passing via queries.

This is the only technique that can easily bypass the authentication measures or can manipulate the login data of the user. Even a single query can compromise the whole application.

For avoiding this, first, you need to be suspicious of any input you accept from a user and second thing you can use PDO (PHP Data Objects) prepared Statements.

If I talk about PHP Data Objects (POD), it is an extension that defines a lightweight, consistent interface for examine the database in PHP.

It provides a data-access abstraction layer, which means the database you are using, you use the same functions to fetch data and issue queries.

Suggested Read: – Fast and Secure Managed Web Hosting

#2 Source Code

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

With source code revelation, people being able to see the names and content of files they shouldn’t in the event of a breakdown in Apache’s configuration.

This is not likely to happen, but if it could then it’s good for you to protect. As you know that PHP is the server-side which means that you cannot just do a view source to see a script’s code.

But if something happens to Apache and suddenly your scripts are served as plain text, people see source code they were never meant to see.

There is a possibility that some of that code might list accessible configuration files or have some sensitive information like database credentials.

Suggested Read: – 8 Major WordPress Myths That You Need To Know

#3 Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

The XSS attack is one of the top five security attacks carried out across the internet. This attack is possible when you display input that was sent to you like you would do with a forum posting for example.

The attack is just like a type of code injection which is build possible by incorrectly validating user data which gets inserted into the page through a web form or using an altered hyperlink.

The code injected can be any malicious client-side code, like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, VBScript, and others. The code is used to save harmful data on the server or perform a malicious action with the user’s browser.

Every PHP programmer must understand how attacks can be carried out against their PHP scripts to exploit possible security vulnerabilities.

#4 Remote File Inclusion

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

Remote file inclusion is when remote files get incorporate in your application. Right, but why it is a problem? It is because of the remote file is untrusted.

It could have been maliciously modified to contain code that you don’t want to run in your application.

Imagine if you have a situation where your website at www.goodpeople.com includes the library www.myplace.com/script.php.

Suddenly one-day www.goodpeople.com is compromised and the content of the file is replaced with evil code that will trash your application.

Then someone visits your website, pull out the updated code and can easily access your website.

But the good thing is you can easily fix this, all you have to do is to go to your php.ini and check the settings on flags.

#5 CSRF (Cross-Site Request Fort)

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is a serious and common exploit where the user is tricked into acting but did not explicitly intend to do.

For example, a user is logged in to one of his favorite sites and proceeds to click a seemingly harmless link.

And in the background his/her profile information is silently updated on the attacker’s e-mail address.

Due to this, the hacker can use the website’s password reset feature to e-mail her/himself a new password and can easily steal the user’s account.

With this attacker is allowed to perform on the behalf of the user, whether it is for updating profile, posting messages on the forum, adding items to shopping cart or anything else.

Suggested Read: – How To Secure WordPress Website From Hackers

#6 Session Hijacking

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

Session Hijacking refers to when a ne’er does well steals and uses someone else’s session ID which is like a key to a safe deposit box.

When a session is set up between web server and client, PHP will store the session ID in a cookie on the client-side probably called PHPSESSID.

Sending the ID with page request provides you access to the session info persisted on the server. But what if someone steals a session key, is that bad?

Well, the answer is it is not unless you are using that session to authenticate a user.

Only then it would allow some nasty person to sign on and get into things. It’s quite bad if the user is important and has a lot of authority.

But here arises a question, how people steal these session IDs?

Session IDs are often stolen via XSS attack, so preventing those is a good thing that yields double benefits. It is necessary to change session ID as often as it is practical.

This reduces your theft window. In PHP you can run the session_regenerate_id() function to change the session ID and notify your client.

Suggested Read: – What is WordPress Maintenance? And Why You Really Need It?

#7 Directory Traversal or Path Traversal

secure and maintain website vulnerabilities

Directory traversal is an HTTP attack that enables attackers to access restricted directories and execute commands outside of the web server’s root directory.

Website server provides two main levels of security mechanisms i.e

  • Root Directory
  • Access Control Lists (ACLS)

Access control is used in the authorization process. It is the list that is used by the webserver to indicate which groups or users can modify, access or execute particular files on the server.

And If I talk about root directory then it is a specific directory on the server file system in which the user is confined. Which means users are not able to access anything above this root.

There are certain ways to protect yourself against this attack. The first thing you can do is to define what pages can be returned for a given using whitelisting.

And second is to convert file paths to absolute paths and make sure they are referencing files in allowed directories.

Suggested Read: – How to Backup WordPress Site [Step-by-Step Guide]

Conclusion

Website security issues can be avoided by following precautions and guidelines. Here I have tried to cover all the details in this article so that you will get to know about the best practices to secure and maintain website vulnerabilities.

Hopefully, it will help you to understand how to secure your projects from different malicious attacks. Don’t ever trust data coming from third party sources.

You can protect your website by validating the incoming values in a well-defined context, escaping output for the protection of your users, and sanitize the data to protect your code.

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