Maximum Security and Knowledge is Needed About Website Hacking Risks
With the evolution of the internet, especially the World Wide Web (WWW) service, almost every organization or company owns a website. These websites are useful in promoting businesses to customers or offering various services to users.
While these websites are useful, some security risks threaten their existence; amongst them security risks, the major one is hacking.
Hacking is a major threat to any business whether small or large; to the point that even big brands like Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Drupal, NBC, can’t claim that they are immune to hacking.
Hacking involves modifying and exploiting a system’s loopholes to access certain crucial information.
So, let’s look at some of the methods hackers use to hack a website.
SQL Injection attacks
The most common hacking technique that hackers use is the SQL Injection attack. Hackers can easily take advantage to access your website if it has an SQL database or libraries with numerous vulnerabilities. A lot of sites use SQL (Structured Query Language) to create, retrieve and update various database records. Meaning, that it can store almost everything ranging from user logging information to eCommerce transaction details.
For instance, a hacker may type in SQL command like ‘OR 1=1’ into a web form and try to run it. In that way, if it returns true, the hacker will easily get access to some restricted areas of the website. There are also some automated tools that hackers can use to perform SQL injections.
You can prevent SQL injection attacks through correctly filtering any user input.
Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
A major vulnerability that hackers often use to hack a website is the Cross Site Scripting or XSS attack. Due to their operation, these attacks are amongst the most difficult vulnerabilities as even the largest websites around like Google and Microsoft have dealt with it.
Since hackers usually place these malicious links in areas where users can easily click them, website owners ought to filter various user input and remove malicious codes to avoid XSS attacks.
Denial of Service (DoD)
A Denial of Service attack is a powerful hacking technique which involves sending numerous fake requests to a server to make it crash or unavailable to users. The attackers will use malicious computers known as zombie computers or botnets simultaneously to launch DOS attacks on a specific server. As a result, a server will be overwhelmed with a lot of requests that it needs to process and simply crash.
A good example is where tons of URL requests are sent to a particular webpage in a short amount of time.
For an owner to prevent this kind of an attack, it is crucial to use firewalls with DDoS protection, drop malformed packets, set several timeouts on connections and limit a web server’s router rate.
Keylogging is one of the oldest and simplest and hacking methods that attacker use to capture actions that a user performs on a keyboard. When an attacker puts a keylogger to your machine, it will record keystrokes and sequence you make to a log file. Such an action is risky since the log file contains sensitive information like username, passwords, and personal email IDs. These keyloggers usually target installed programs, smartphone sensors, and electromagnetic emissions.
The most effective way to deal with keylogging is to use virtual (on-screen) keyboards which usually encrypt text inputs. Most Online banking and commerce sites use them, but they are available for personal use. Also, take extra precaution when using a computer in a public setting.
Cookies found on the browser cache usually hold a lot of information from the websites that a browser visits. It can store personal data like user credentials, passwords, browsing history, and financial data.
Since cookies are either stored as plain text, or with some level of encryption, hackers find easier and richer prospects of using browser add-ons to carryout cookie theft. Most of the times cookie theft is used in conjunction with other attack methods like a hijacked session or a fake WAP attack. After stealing the cookie, a hacker can easily impersonate you online or read crucial information.
Avoid such a scenario through constantly clearing browser caches, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to tunnel connections and avoiding public, private networks.
Non-targeted website hack
In a large number of instances, hackers will not usually target a particular website. They will usually conduct a massive hacking whereby they target a CMS, template or plugin that is vulnerable.
For instance, they can come up with a hack that is meant to target vulnerable WordPress or Joomla versions. To identify vulnerable websites, attackers will use Google’s Hacking Database. In that way, they can insert malicious software, steal sensitive information or even delete data from sites.
Therefore, ensure that you regularly update your content management system, templates, and plugins to avoid non-targeted hacking attacks.
Social engineering techniques
Sometimes the way people use website predisposes weaknesses in the security system. This is the weakness that Social engineering exploits. Through common interaction, a hacker convinces an administrator or website user to divulge some private information that permits exploitation.
The most common forms of social engineering attacks include the following;
Phishing involves replicating mostly accessed sites with an aim to set traps and steal information. Fraudulent email messages will be sent to a recipient to try to divulge some credit card details, personal information, and login details information. The hacker will eventually use the received information to compromise a vulnerable website.
This method entails an attacker purchasing some advertising spaces on a particular website to carry out the malicious operations. In case a user clicks on that ad, he will head to a malware-infected page. The link will further lure the user to download and install adware or malware on the computer. Once the malicious program installs, the hacker can slightly access certain files on a PC.
It is a method whereby a hacker pretends to be another person and contacts a website owner, employee or customer. In the process, the hacker request sensitive information that later is used in attacking a website.