Website hacking is on the rise, and website built on open-source frameworks like WordPress are increasingly significant targets to malicious hackers. And of course, the bigger a website is, the larger its visitor and subscriber pool, the better a target they usually represent. And there are dozens of different common hacks which target websites of all varieties! Cross-site scripting attacks, API hacking problems… if you own a website, it can feel as though there’s no end in sight for all the vulnerabilities you need to be able to defend against.
So when you’re asking yourself if your web design is secure, there are a few significant areas to think about. The front end of your website is all the elements of the website which subscribers or visitors can see and interact with. The back end is all of the admin areas, and is usually the databases, the framework, the themes and templates, the everything related to your hosting setup. Front-end cyber security problems are those which occur on the client-side of the website, while back-end security issues are those on the administrator or webmaster side.
If you’re mostly worried about design, then you’re generally speaking about your front-end area. We’ve gathered together a few great tips and tricks for building security into your design. These tips help protect your website against the most common types of attacks.
Defenses Against XSS Attacks
XSS, or cross-site scripting, is a problem which occurs when malicious hackers inject special executable scripts into pages which visitors view. And this is perhaps the most common type of website design vulnerability, estimated by the Symantec cyber security pros as accounting for about 80% of website hacks.
When visitors or users have access to any part of a website which executes a function, there’s a risk of being available to XSS attacks. If you’ve noticed a significant decline in websites which allow individuals to do things like leave comments or upload files, this is a big part of the problem! Removing areas of your design which allow for visitor-initiated functions will help. But there are also other ways to help. Updating plugins and frameworks often will help patch the small problems which allow for XSS to happen. Limiting admin-level functions, such as editing pages, to specific IP addresses will also significantly reduce the risk of this issue.
Defenses Against Rogue iFrames
While it’s less and less common these days, it sometimes happens that websites use iframes to display content from other websites. Google maps and youtube videos are good examples of content shown in iframes. And iframes are usually only a problem when the content they’re displaying becomes infected. To defend against this, ensure that your iframe is either showing content from an enterprise-level website with beefy security practices, or regularly inspect your website’s iframe for any spammy content. Also, diligently ensure that no iframes appear on pages of your website which can execute functions, and use the sandbox designation to keep a crowbar separation between your iframe and your website.
The Bottom Line
Where your front-end design is concerned, the easiest way to maintain security is to simply limit executable functions. But you can help amp up your design’s security by making many admin-area edits. Limiting administrative abilities to specific I.P. addresses, keeping your frameworks, databases, and cpanel upgraded. But also be aware of your own habits. Run your paid or free antivirus regularly, and routinely clear your browser’s cache and sensitive saved information.
Your website’s security starts with you, and if you don’t utilize the common sense cyber safety procedures to keep your hardware safe, your website doesn’t stand a chance! And often, many of the same habits which keep your computer safe can also be used when managing and designing your website.