Why hack?

Hacking has become a spine-chilling menace in the IT world and before we move on to steps to prevent the same we must know about the basics of hacking. The modification of the features of a system is part of what hacking is about.  Via technical effort hackers cause manipulation of the standard behavior of a network and the systems which they are connected to. One reason why the cyber criminals hack websites is to have access to a server which is untraceable and what keeps the demand graph going high is the constant detection of hacks by website owners. Mailing out of spam’s through the mail servers of the websites is another reason for hacking.

Then and now

In the good old day’s emails were the whole sole agents from where malicious code was propagated but changing times have taken hacking to an all new level wherein websites are targeted to be the primal agents from where the dirty work is accomplished and the nasty code is distributed. Conventional wisdom may make users think that the plethora of adult or gambling websites floating the world wide web is the hub of such activities but the truth is farfetched from this since nowadays small business enterprises are the ones whose websites are abused the most, and the worst part being that the website owners themselves are unaware of their contribution. Even blogs or news sites are epicenters for nefarious hacker activity.

Modus operandi of hackers

Hackers may be able to enter websites via backdoors like URL querystrings and input forms like search, login or user input textboxes that has communication with a database. Bogus characters can be entered into the URL query strings which can be interpreted as an SQL and execution through an innocent database may result in breakdown of the website. This breakdown could cause error messages which may yield sensitive private information about the database. In this way they can have access to the structure of the database and maps or footprints of the columns’ and tables used in the website can be created. Having access over the database the hacker may erase sensitive information, cause virus infection or even steal sensitive data like credit card numbers. Websites which run by SQL databases are most hacker attack prone.

Some vital steps to make your websites impermeable to hacking

  1. Conduct regular scans on your website for any anomalies or unexpected changes
  2. The encryption of sensitive information must be done via SSL certificates.
  3. Security loopholes and other vulnerabilities can be identified by using a penetration tester.
  4. Contingency planning: Just in case, of a hacker attack must be there. Data backups, specially, in case of websites with dynamic content is a must do.
  5. The coding principals must be secure and up to the mark
  6. All the software’s including the web server software’s must be patched and updated.
  7. Keep a strong password. Obvious passwords or passwords which can be easily guessed give an easy entry to the sharp hackers. For example a password which has question marks, exclamation marks and other special characters must be kept. Also ensure that you are not using the default password. While logging into unsecured protocols like http and ftp over public Wi-Fi networks intercepting of passwords is a risk, so try minimizing the same.
  8. Downloading of Random plugins must be avoided and plugins should only be downloaded from authentic trustworthy websites.
  9. Access to hosting accounts via viruses, key logger or Trojan, which may have been planted while you were visiting a seemingly innocuous website, is also a possibility. Antivirus software’s must be updated to keep the pc free from such attacks.
  10. Go to sites like sitelock which have daily monitoring tools to identify vulnerabilities, detect malware and scan for viruses.
  11. Keep platform and scripts up to date and also look for security plugins that prevent against hacking attempts.

These are just a few steps which you can take to protect yourself from the malicious intent of the hackers but are a humble beginning. Keep your eyes open to newer mechanisms to safeguard yourself by constant research and updating of your knowledge. Best wishes for the safety of your website.