Hackers gain access to websites in many ways, but the good news is that most of them are preventable by taking careful precautions and preparing your site to defend against the most common attacks.
To do this, you will need to understand how websites get hacked in the first place and what steps you can take to defend against these common security breaches.
Here are some common ways hackers gain access to your website and tips on keeping them from stealing your website’s data and other resources or, even worse, crashing your site entirely.
Consider The Scale Of Hacked Websites
It would take over 160 years to see every site on the World Wide Web, assuming a 3-second load time and continuous queries.
It is impossible to keep track of many websites, so Google’s Safe Browsing attempts to alert users to unsafe sites. Currently, it delivers around 3 million warnings per day.
On average, 1-2% of sites scanned by our technology have some Indicator of Compromise (IoC) that indicates an attack.
Taking that small percentage and extrapolating it over the entire number of websites, we find that somewhere around 12 million websites are currently compromised or infected. Together, that is about the size of New York City and Los Angeles.
In light of this reality, websites will always be a target for hackers, and the fallout from such a hack can devastate a company.
Even though the threat is big, persistent, and harmful, understanding how hacks occur goes a long way in preventing them.
How Do Hackers Gain Access To A Website?
SQL Injection Attacks
The hacker finds a flaw in the code that allows him to inject SQL commands. The SQL commands tell the database what data should be shown on the page, and if they have been used correctly, no one will be able to tell that anything is wrong.
These attacks can also take advantage of poor password security, so websites must use multi-factor authentication or encrypt password fields when storing passwords or user IDs in their databases for added protection. Suppose no malicious code is injected or vulnerabilities in the website’s coding. In that case, standard password-guessing techniques might be used by attackers, such as guessing passwords randomly or trying a list of commonly used words from dictionary files.
Third-Party Integrations / Services
The most common way hackers gain access to a webpage is through third-party integrations and services. Hackers can get data about your site by using one of these services, or they may have already created an account with the service and now have the right credentials.
They might also use malware or phishing techniques to find information about your site. You must review all the third parties you’re using on your site and any information you share with them.
Denial Of Service And DDOS
Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are two ways hackers can shut down or slow down your site. Both types of attacks work by flooding your site with traffic so that it is rendered inaccessible. The difference between the two is that DoS is usually a hacker attempting to cripple one site, while DDoS attacks are executed by multiple computers simultaneously.
These attacks can be mitigated using WAF or Web Application Firewall. This firewall detects and blocks malicious requests, like those sent during an attack, and then recovers from such incidents automatically.
Brute Force Attacks
Through a brute-force attack, hackers test different passwords hoping to gain access. One way of figuring out your password is by utilizing the rainbow table to crack your password.
Rainbow tables contain lists of possible passwords and corresponding hashes, which hackers can use to automate their attacks. The best defense against brute force attacks is to use uppercase and lowercase letters in your password.
Hackers can get into your website by using phishing. Phishing is when the hacker sends you an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate company, but it’s not. It could say that you need your login credentials or bank account number, and if you don’t give them up, they’ll close down your account. This is how they get the information they need to access your site.
How To Protect Your Website From Getting Hacked?
Use A Website Firewall
Website firewalls are a great way to keep hackers at bay. Firewalls will help secure your website and prevent it from being breached. You can also do your best to use strong passwords, encrypt all of the data on your site and make sure you’re using a reliable hosting service.
Use SSL/TLS Certificates.
SSL/TLS certificates are an easy way to secure your website. SSL encrypts all the data transferred between your website and your visitors’ browsers, including passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information. In essence, SSL/TLS certificates make it difficult for hackers to steal your data. Once you buy SSL from a reputed company, you can install it on your website with just a few clicks of the mouse. This will help you to encrypt your website data. The selection of an SSL certificate depends upon the site’s requirements. You can install either a wildcard SSL certificate, single-domain SSL, or multi-domain SSL for the website’s security.
Schedule regular Backups
Create a backup of your site and store it on an external hard drive or in the cloud. This way, you can restore the site if it becomes compromised. If you use WordPress, some plugins will automatically create backups for you.
Don’t Use The Same Password For Multiple Sites.
Avoiding using the same password for multiple sites is always a good idea. If someone manages to get into one of your accounts, they’ll have access to all of them and can wreak havoc on them. Passwords alone aren’t enough anymore, and it’ll help keep hackers out if they can’t just guess the password or type in a username they find online somewhere else.
Secure Your Server
You can take a few steps when securing your server that can help prevent hacking:
- Ensure you have the latest security updates and patches installed on all machines on the network.
- Keep all of your software up-to-date, including browsers and operating systems.
- Do not expose any open ports or services.
Finally, Website owners have fear of being hacked and many of us want to know how hackers gain access to a website. However, hackers can penetrate through many ways into the website. Here, are a few of them we have discussed above.