How to know if your website is secure?


Knowing whether a website is secure is crucial in today's digital age, where cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common. There are several steps that can be taken to assess the security of a website, such as checking whether it has a valid SSL certificate, checking the legitimacy of the website and its links, and ensuring that credit card details are not shared on the website.

What is a cyberattack or computer attack?

A cyberattack is a malicious attempt to access, damage, or destroy computer systems, networks, or electronic devices. These attacks can be carried out by individuals or groups with various objectives, such as data theft, extortion, espionage, and sabotage, among others.

According to the Spanish news portal El País, in the year 2022, 94% of companies admitted to having suffered some cybersecurity incident, positioning Spain as the third country with the highest number of cyberattacks worldwide.

With the rapid evolution of digital technologies, cybercrimes are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect. Therefore, it is crucial for all technology users to stay informed about different types of attacks and the appropriate security measures to prevent or mitigate their effects.

What are phishing, vishing, and malware?

Cyberattacks can be perpetrated in many different ways, and each type of attack has its own specific characteristics and targets. Cybercriminals use a wide variety of techniques to achieve their goals, from social engineering to malware to denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

  • Phishing: Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that seeks to trick users into sharing personal and financial information by masquerading as a legitimate company or individual.

  • Vishing: A variant of phishing that uses voice techniques to deceive people.

  • Malware: Malware is malicious software that seeks to damage or take control of computer systems without the user's consent, while denial-of-service (DoS) attacks seek to overwhelm systems with traffic to disrupt their normal operation.

How does a cyber attack usually occur?

Websites can be hacked primarily in these five ways:

  1. Through login screens Malicious hackers and bots often attack login screens first when seeking unauthorized access.

  2. Password security is also crucial. Weak passwords such as "0000" or "1234" are not secure; a recent study indicates that 99.9% of accounts are hacked due to weak passwords and a lack of multi-factor authentication.

  3. Outdated websites offer easy access to unauthorized users. If you are still using an old version of a CMS, the security system may not be up to date, leaving your website vulnerable to attack.

  4. Configuration, Plugins, and themes: A recent ZDNet report on website security indicates that most website hacks are due to vulnerabilities in plugins and themes, configuration problems, and lack of maintenance by webmasters who forgot to update their CMS.

  5. Open source: Hackers also tend to target popular open-source CMSs, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, because they are widely used and open source. They are also often used by non-technical users, making them an easy target for hackers.

The 10 most common website vulnerabilities and their preventions.

Understanding the vulnerabilities that can be built into applications is a good starting point for increasing overall security hygiene. Here we take a brief look at the top 10 most critical web application security vulnerabilities that development, cybersecurity and entrepreneurs face, as listed by OWASP.

The OWASP Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving software security in various industries. One of its main contributions is the compilation of the OWASP Top 10, which is a list of the most critical web application security vulnerabilities. The list is compiled by analyzing application data from a variety of sources.

  • Faulty access control: Refers to a failure to restrict user access to resources within their assigned permissions. When access control fails, it can result in users performing actions that require different permissions, as well as unauthorized disclosure, modification or destruction of data.

  • Cryptographic Flaws: These are weaknesses or deficiencies in cryptography (techniques for encrypting information) that can compromise the system or expose sensitive data. This includes personal identification information and credit card numbers, which require additional protection. The methods used to protect data depend on the type of data and whether it is subject to data privacy laws such as the EU GDPR.

  • Injections: These include vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection and XML injection. They can be identified by reviewing the source code, also automation can be useful to test all parameters and data inputs in order to detect vulnerabilities. Applications are susceptible to injection attacks when they accept user-entered data without proper validation, sanitization or filtering, or when hostile data is used to extract sensitive information.

  • Insecure design and insecure implementation are two different problems in software security. A secure design can still have vulnerabilities if it is imperfectly implemented, while an insecure design cannot be fixed by implementation alone because it lacks adequate security controls. Failure to accurately assess the business risks associated with the software or system being developed can result in insufficient levels of security, highlighting the importance of proper risk assessment and design considerations in software development.

  • Security misconfiguration: Security misconfigurations can result from a number of improperly configured controls and other factors, which can leave applications vulnerable to attack. Examples of misconfiguration errors include misconfigured permissions for cloud services, enabling unnecessary features that can result in open ports or elevated privileges, and failing to change default account login credentials.

  • Vulnerable and obsolete components: Obsolete and unpatched components that remain in use even after vulnerabilities have been discovered and disclosed can pose a significant risk. Applications may be vulnerable if they are not running the latest version of the software or if it is unclear which library or component version is being used. In addition, components that are not scanned for vulnerabilities may also be at risk.

  • Identification and authentication failures: Authentication and identification failures occur when user identity, authentication, and session information are not confirmed before the user is allowed to access systems and data. Factors that can put an application at risk due to these failures include allowing weak passwords; using weakly hashed plaintext password data stores; and allowing bots, which can perform automated attacks such as brute force and credential stuffing.

  • Software and data integrity failures: This is the potential risk of relying on software and data updates without verifying their integrity, which attackers can exploit by using the software supply chain to inject malware through seemingly legitimate updates. Many systems have automated update functions that do not check the integrity of updates.

  • Logging and security monitoring failures: Effective monitoring and logging are crucial to detecting and minimizing the impact of an ongoing attack. Failures occur when important transactions, such as high-value transactions, login attempts and failed login attempts, are not logged, or when log entries for errors and warnings are not generated, or are unclear or inadequate. In addition, suspicious activity is not monitored for APIs and applications, security logs are only available locally, and applications lack the ability to detect ongoing attacks or issue timely alerts.

  • Server-side request forgery (SSRF): These flaws occur when applications retrieve remote sources requested by users without first verifying the destination. This allows attackers to send specific requests to the application via an unexpected source. These vulnerabilities often arise when applications retrieve URLs to facilitate task switching for end users, allowing them to access other functions through the retrieved URL while remaining in the application. With the increasing complexity of cloud architecture, attacks of this type are becoming more frequent.

Are Headless CMS safe?

To understand how secure a Headless CMS is you need to understand the difference between a traditional CMS and a Headless CMS and how they work.

  1. Traditional CMS: Traditional CMSs allow content creators and non-technical users to create and publish styled templates, which are stored in a database and displayed to the end user based on a predefined template. The front-end and back-end of a traditional CMS are codependent, leading to potential vulnerabilities.

  2. Headless CMS: In a headless architecture, content is typically delivered through a content delivery network (CDN) rather than a database. The front-end and back-end of a headless CMS are decoupled, allowing more focus on content creation and storage. In addition, the API publishes headless content as read-only, which makes it less vulnerable to attacks, as it can be placed behind layers of code, including an application layer and a security layer, further reducing the risk of attacks.

Undoubtedly, the Headless CMS architecture itself offers greater security than the architecture of a traditional CMS. One of the most important advantages is its resistance to DDoS attacks, since it has no database and connects to different front-ends through APIs. In addition, it requires fewer updates and eliminates the problem of compromised continuity when there is a breach.

Aplyca and cybersecurity.

If your organization is interested in implementing a solution for your content strategy with the highest standards of quality and security, we invite you to contact us.

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