Fix Hacked Site

Ten standard website security vulnerabilities and how to avoid them

Maintaining your website includes activities that ensure that the website works and is up-to-date. One of the tasks involved in website maintenance is website security.

For many companies, website security measures become a priority only after an attack has occurred. One of the primary motivations for website security is that you don’t need a big budget to protect your website effectively. All you need to do is develop a practical approach that is both proactive and defensive.

This article will present some of the most common website security vulnerabilities and recommended security practices;

1. Injection errors

Injection errors occur when you pass unfiltered data to the SQL server, browser, or LDAP server. This unfiltered data may contain commands injected by an attacker, which can lead to the following problems;

  • Data loss
  • Leakage of sensitive data
  • Possible execution of administrative operations on the database.

To prevent this, all input must be filtered appropriately. To do this, utilize the filtering features of the framework.

2. Insufficient protection of the transport layer

Applications constantly transmit information over a network, including authentication credentials and banking information. Without adequate protection, this communication can be vulnerable to attackers. The use of expired certificates or weak algorithms often compromises transport layer protection.

Ensure that your certificate is not expired and valid, and enforce that the transmission is over HTTPS only.

3. Defective authentication

The website creates a session ID and a cookie for each valid session. These cookies contain sensitive information. When the session ends, and the cookies are not invalidated, the data remains in the system.

Through this vulnerability, someone could gain access and modify or disclose information.

4. Lack of access control at the function level

It is mainly due to a lack of authorization. Many assume that the server generates the user interface; therefore, accessing functions not accessed by the server is impossible from that end of the system. However, if there is no means of authentication, a user can spoof requests and gain access to withheld server functions.

A simple workaround is to perform authorization on the server side.

5. Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting, also known as XSS, are vulnerabilities that focus on scripts that execute on the user side and allow an attacker to execute the scripts in the user’s browser.

They occur when an application sends untrusted data to the browser without validation. Since the browser does not know if the script is valid, it executes it and allows the attacker to hijack session cookies or redirect the user to malicious websites.

One solution to this problem is to avoid returning HTML tags to the client, allow a list of the input fields, or use an input-output encoding.

6. Non-validated redirects and redirects

An attacker can redirect users to malware websites if proper validation does not occur when redirecting pages. The attacker sends an actual URL with an encrypted URL that could be malicious.

One way to protect your website from this vulnerability is to avoid using redirects altogether. If this cannot be avoided, you should decide against including user parameters when determining the destination or ensure that the specified value is authorized and valid for the client.

7. Compromise of sensitive data

This vulnerability is aimed at exploiting insufficient resource protection. When it comes to sensitive information and data, it should always be encrypted, both in transit over the network and at rest.

It might be a little more difficult to protect sensitive data while it’s stored, but there are some solutions you can try. You shouldn’t store data if it’s data you don’t need. However, if the stored data is necessary, ensure it is encrypted and the passwords are hashed. Remember not to store the encryption key with the data you want to protect.

8. Insecure direct object references

A direct object reference is when an internal file is visible to a client or user. In this situation, an attacker is only required to specify the reference, and the attacker will gain access if there is no privilege enforcement. With this access, an attacker can make changes that compromise the entire application.

Store data internally and do not rely on retrieving data via CGI parameters. Prevention measures include performing user authorization correctly and consistently by implementing access control checks. Also, avoid exposing references in URLs.

9. Incorrect security configuration

If the security of the application, database, web server, frameworks, and platforms is not correctly configured, an attacker can quickly gain unauthorized access to the application’s functions and data.

Misconfigurations can occur by running outdated software, exposing error handling information, and running services on the machine that are not needed, among other things.

One of the most efficient solutions to this issue is to ensure that the existing architecture provides good component separation and security.

10. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attack occurs when a malicious third-party website tricks the user’s browser into acting on the website that the user has authenticated. In this attack, a logged-in user’s browser sends a fake request to a vulnerable application.

The attacker takes advantage of the user’s access to a specific website and can use this attack to change the website the user is logged into.

One way to prevent cross-site request forgery is to use a hidden form field that a third-party website cannot access to store secret tokens. Also, check the hidden field regularly. Employ mechanisms such as unique request tokens or re-authentication, and require user presence for sensitive operations.

Taking the time to acquaint yourself with common website security threats is essential in protecting your site. Once you know the threats, please take steps to protect against them, either by making changes to the site’s design or installing software that will protect your data.

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