4 Common Ways to Hack a Website and How to Avoid Them By Joseph Ikhalia
You may have heard that it is easy to build your own websites with very little money or even none at all. While this is not entirely wrong, a properly-designed and secure website does cost money. A website is not only about good-looking layout and posting contents, but also making sure that it is safe from the risk of hacking. You need to do your due diligence and a lot of preventive measures to keep your website well and running. Hackers use different methods to target website vulnerabilities, but here are 4 common ways to hack a website and how to avoid them.
- SQL Injection: in simple words, a successful SQL injection attack enables the hacker to act as website administrator or any over-privileged account, meaning the person can execute any command to modify or erase a website database. The easiest way to avoid SQL injection attack is to use different/customized user as database owner. You must also make sure that user with the permission to access database has the least privileges. In case you encounter database error for any reason, do not disclose the error messages to the user.
- Cross Site Scripting (XSS): when an XSS occurs, it means a hacker creates a security loophole on a website; it is difficult to detect and stop. Thanks to the security loophole, the website becomes vulnerable to attacks. Its users are prone to identity theft, data theft, and financial theft. XSS is also used by good hackers to help others identify vulnerabilities on websites. Failing to validate input and encode output as well as trusting data retrieved from shared database make your website susceptible to XSS. To avoid XSS, you must assume that all inputs are malicious; therefore you have to validate and constrain all of them. Every output must be encoded including data read from databases.
- Authorization Bypass: even the simplest website should be able to prevent an authorization bypass. Without properly configured content management frameworks, however, a website is vulnerable to this kind of attack. Please put in mind that authorization bypass is not actually a complicated process, but the hacker has total control of the website/application along with its content once he/she manages to enter as an administrative user. A proper security protocol to secure access to a website main page is the most effective way to prevent this attack. To be safer, use encryption to secure sensitive information.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks: a DOS is an attack in which a hacker makes a system/website unusable due to a flood of access; the hacker basically overloads the website’s resources to render it unresponsive. In a DDoS, the incoming flood of traffic comes from multiple hundreds (if not thousands) of sources. It is almost impossible to isolate the actual source of the attack. The most effective defense against DDoS is to utilize reverse proxy or a collection of multiple proxies spread across different hosting locations. In this case, you have multiple bouncers to divide incoming traffic into many small fractions. This reduces the risk of overloading.