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What are the Most Common Website Vulnerabilities?

There are always going to be people who create things and add to world, as well as people who want to take those things.  The internet has opened up a whole new world of sharing, but also theft, and as a business owner, you have to remain diligent in order to protect your web presence.

This can be hard when hackers often seem to be a step ahead of security.  With new threats arising all the time and security providers sprinting to catch up with suitable defenses, it becomes more important than ever to at least protect yourself against known threats.

What are some of the most common vulnerabilities your business website faces and how can you protect yourself and your customers?  Here are a few threats you should know about.

SQL Injections

SQL stands for structured query language, a form of digital communication for database management that is used by systems like Microsoft, Oracle, and more.  It allows for the creation, retrieval, deletion, and updating of data, among other things.

SQL injection attacks occur when hackers are able to exploit weaknesses and gain access to database systems in order to inject their own SQL statements and change or corrupt data.  This is among the most common type of attack, and the easiest way to defend against it is with regular software updates.

Cross-Site Scripting

Without getting too technical, this type of attack generally consists of the hacker gaining access to your web application through client-side scripting (like HTML or JavaScript) in order to hijack user sessions and send their own data to users while essentially pretending to be a trusted source (you).  In other words, a user might receive an email that looks like it’s from you, but when they click a link, they’ll be redirected to a malicious website that looks just like yours, but is in fact a duplicate site.

When the user is prompted to enter sensitive data, hackers can steal it and access their accounts, engaging in identity theft.  Hackers could also gain access to the user’s computer in order to remotely control the browser and cause even more malicious attacks.  The victim in such attacks is the client, but the problem results from vulnerabilities in your website software.

Malware

Malware that infects your system can cause any number of problems, from changing the appearance of your website, to redirecting users to malicious websites.  In both cases, users can be victimized and your website will become virtually unusable.  Utilizing programs that scan for and remove malware is essential to preventing such threats.

There are dozens of other common types of website vulnerability attacks, from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm your system and crash your site, to security misconfigurations, to password vulnerabilities (related to weak passwords that can be easily guessed by hackers).  In all cases, you can minimize risks by taking proper precautions, such as utilizing antivirus/anti-malware programs, keeping software and firmware up-to-date, and instituting common sense policies like requiring strong user passwords, for example.  You may need professional help to keep your website safe, but it’s worth it to avoid issues that derail your website and put your customers at risk.

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