Rising Need of Better Web Security: Checklist For Your Web Developer
Your website is as secure as your web developer has made it. The world is facing a cybersecurity crisis. Hackers will exploit your website as soon as they find any kind of vulnerabilities in it. Globally, 30,000 websites get hacked each day. Therefore, you should avoid having this problem, which can take a heavy toll on your reputation.
The question is, why do you need to have this checklist for your web developer? Don’t they already know about this? Developers do take measures against cyber attacks, but they might miss some things that can put you in a vulnerable position.
Let me justify my statement with this fact:
“95% of all the cyber attacks are caused by human error.”
This fact should clear the fog for you as to why you need this checklist.
Now let’s start!
1. Authentication and Authorization
Authentication is considered a fundamental pillar in web security. It establishes specific identities of users. If it is not applied properly, hackers can impersonate legitimate users and can harm your website. Here is what to include in the authentication checklist for your web developer:
- Change passwords regularly
- Impose multifactor authentication (MFA). It adds an extra layer to the authentication security.
- Use hashing algorithms like SHA256 to store passwords.
- Implement an account lock mechanism in case of a brute force attack.
Similar to authentication, secure authorization of your website is also necessary. Secure authorization ensures your website is in safe hands and only accessible to authorized users. Here are some authorization practices:
- Trigger a role-based access control(RBAC). It classifies users into different roles and gives access according to their specific roles.
- Install a session management system. It will authorize users only in specific active sessions.
2. Secure Online Checkout
Businesses run on revenue. Your website has to integrate a payment system to generate revenue. Hackers love this particular feature. Cybercrime costs people $6 trillion globally per year. You have to ensure that your website is not vulnerable to these types of attacks.
What can your web developer do to make secure online checkouts?
He can upgrade the checkout system by integrating the address verification system(AVS) or credit card verification (CVV) system.
Some AVS providers are:
Some famous CVV providers:
Shopify, a famous e-commerce website builder, already includes CVV form fields that help maintain a security layer on the payment system.
3. Input Validation
If your developer employs this method, you are less likely to get hit by SQL Injection attacks or Cross-Site Scripting(XSS) attacks. These types of attacks allow hackers to execute random code to access sensitive data on your website. But what does input validation mean?
See, whenever you enter any kind of data on your website like images, videos, etc, this data should be in a specified format. Otherwise, it should not be allowed to integrate into your website.
Web developers should apply Input validation on two levels:
- Syntactical level validation ensures the correct syntax of structured fields like currency or symbol.
- Semantic-level validation enforces the correctness of values in the given context, for example, Price within the expected range of products.
If you allow users to upload data (Images, videos, etc) to your website, make sure the data maintains the set validation standards. Also, your web developer should separate the user data from SQL queries to prevent SQL injection vulnerabilities.
4. Data Encryption
Data encryption should be a vital component of your web developer’s security checklist. Data encryption means masking sensitive information from unauthorized users and maintaining data privacy.
Data encryption checklist:
- Implement an SSL(Secure sockets layer) and TLS(Transport layer security) certificate on your website. It ensures data is safely navigating between your website server and client.
- Data masking allows you to hide sensitive information from users. It helps you to control what information your website should display.
Data encryption helps you avoid man-in-the-middle attacks and interceptions. A website that has implemented both of these certificates shows a lock with the website URL.
5. Development and Deployment Practices
Web developers should employ secure development and deployment practices.
Here are some secure web development practices:
- Ensure the developer knows all the security requirements and how to implement them on your website.
- Ask the developer what steps he has taken for SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks on your website.
- Know what firewalls your developer is leveraging to protect your website from external threats.
- Ensure that the developer employs secure practices while playing with servers, databases, frameworks, firewalls, etc.
- You can ask your developers to perform penetration testing during and after the deployment of the website. In penetration testing, real-world attacks are performed to uncover potential vulnerabilities.
The best web developers utilize techniques like error handling and exception management to safeguard against unexpected input and errors. It prevents attackers from exploiting error messages.
6. Monitoring and Incident Response
Monitoring is the most vital thing to include in your web developer’s security checklist. He needs to implement a monitoring system that detects any kind of unusual activities on the website, such as failed login attempts, unauthorized access, and error messages. Web developers usually use log analytics tools to identify and detect user behavior to uncover potential threats.
Alongside monitoring the website, there should also be an incident response plan. It helps counter any kind of initial threats caused by hackers. If your developer has integrated an incident response plan, it can reduce the initial hack damage, giving your developer time to understand and counter the unfortunate attack.
Here are some steps that a web developer can take for incident response:
- Establish a clear chain of command by defining roles and responsibilities for each authorized person in case of an incident.
- Identify critical assets, sensitive data, and communication channels of the website and document all their processes.
- Implement processes for incident response, reducing the damage and recovery of the website, ensuring business continuity, and minimizing downtime of the website.
- Conduct occasional incident response exercises using penetration testing to test the response’s effectiveness and identify areas of improvement.
Remember, website security is not a one-time process. It needs to be monitored, updated, or patched along the way. This whole checklist allows you to communicate the security practices with your web developer. It will protect your highly valuable assets, which are your website for the online presence of your business, and your reputation from unwanted threats and vulnerabilities.
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