The modern landscape of internet connectivity has redefined every area of life, from business operations to communications and even into healthcare. While humanity will always be eternally grateful for all of the improvements and efficiencies that the internet has brought, the dangers that lie within the dark web have many scrambling for cover and demanding more attention to areas of cybersecurity.

The Danger Online

The expansive and open-access of the internet makes it incredibly difficult for one government or oversight committee to police and patrol every line of code or background check every user. The largest social networking and online media streaming giants have had their own struggles in this area, receiving public backlash whenever terrorism-oriented videos or manifests are posted or shared. Most companies and individuals don’t have the tech-savvy to host their own websites, devise the IT security protocols, and monitor areas of threat online. This led to the rise of an area of industry known as web hosting. These are the developers and experts that create websites, blogs, and other digital hosting platforms for internet use. However, these companies also face dangers online, either from third parties with the intent to cause harm or first-party actions that involve errors in calculation or function. Web hosting has a number of security dangers within the industry, such as SQL database injection attacks, cross-site request forgery, outdated apps, and sensitive data exposure being some of the more common vulnerabilities.

Setting Up Defenses

While the best defenses against cyber threats for many businesses are in the form of cybersecurity companies and expert monitoring services, you can take steps to help shield your hosting site from attacks. Your liability in the event of a security threat jeopardizes your company, as well as the trust of your clients and their clients. The following tips can help keep your site from potential harm.

Tip #1- Work With Trusted 3rd Parties

Whenever you are working with third-party apps, be sure to check for a security audit confirmation. You will need to sanitize any input data and validate that your code coming in matches the final presentation to end used. Data validation for input data and output data practices is very important. Always verify that your code works and that it is stable and secure for users.

Tip #2- Conduct Regular Updates

When you rely on a content management system to power your website (or any other application), be sure to always run the latest version of the software. Products are continually updated to remove bugs that have been discovered within the system and patch up insecurities found in any frameworks, plugins, or apps. You leave your website vulnerable to attacks without the latest update. Set updates to install automatically in order to prevent yourself from forgetting.

Tip #3- Create Complex Passwords

Brute force - also known as hackers playing password guessing games - is still one of the biggest threats to web hosting or account management. Hackers are developing tools that can quickly crack passwords, so requiring complex passwords and implementing an automatic lockout protocol can help reduce threats in this area. Always avoid password combinations with common words or terms, and don’t include personal information or details such as a birth date or anniversary. Make passwords longer than six numbers with a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Require all employees in your company to change their password frequently as well. There are random password generators online that you can use as a tool to get you started. To make your security even stronger, implement a two-step verification.

Tip #4- Establish Consistency in Verification

Throughout a user’s session, validation requests, such as a random challenge token, help ensure that the information and activities are reaching the intended user and not a hacked identity. Always develop consistent error reporting messages, as a simple slip could indicate critical data for a hacker. If a password attempt fails, return a consistent error notice of “incorrect password” for all login identities whether the username or the password is incorrect. You don’t want to identify a potential username that can be further exploited.

These four areas should help keep your hosting service from falling victim to the dark operators on the internet. Awareness and proactive measures are key in being well-defended against cyberattacks.

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