Security becomes essential if you have a website due to increasing cybersecurity threats. An ICASA study shows that 1 in 3 customers do not do business with a company that has compromised cybersecurity.
Therefore, this goes without saying that cybersecurity is critical to business success. A key question is, ‘How to ensure website security?” The answer lies in securing the core of a website-content Management System or CMS!
Many organizations use different best practices to secure CMS, like employing a multi-factor authentication (MFA) mechanism. However, strategic CMS security is what organizations need to secure their websites from multiple cybersecurity threats.
This article will focus on cybersecurity threats to your CMS and best practices to improve its security.
The content management system (CMS) is a software application that enables businesses to create, manage, and publish content for websites without much technical knowledge. It offers an interface organizations can use to manage user accounts, site navigation, and website design.
Some of the famous CMS are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.
These CMSs offer some security features, yet some cyber threats require additional measures. However, what type of measures you need to employ will depend on the kind of cyber threats that your CMS may face.
CMS like WordPress has plugins and themes businesses use to add functionalities to their website. However, such plugins can have inherent code vulnerabilities, which cause security threats to CMS.
1. Code vulnerabilities
A common vulnerability that affects many CMSs is code quality issues. Cyber attackers can exploit CMS and gain unauthorized access to websites. Coding errors can cause vulnerabilities due to outdated software, lack of plugin security patches, and use of third-party integrations.
A common code vulnerability is cross-site scripting or XSS, which occurs when a cyber-attacker injects malicious code into the website. This allows attackers to steal sensitive data or gain root access to website databases.
Another critical code vulnerability is SQL injection attack, which attackers execute by injecting malicious code into the database. It allows them to control the website and disrupt a business’s availability.
However, SQL injections are not the only attacks that affect website resources. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) is another crucial cyber threat CMS faces.
2. DDOS attacks
DDOS is a malicious attack where attackers attempt to overwhelm a targeted server through a massive traffic flow. The primary goal of an attacker using a DDOS attack is to ensure that the targeted server is inaccessible to end users.
Therefore, if you are a business with your CMS facing a DDOS attack, it can drastically affect your operations. For example, if your WordPress website faces a DDOS attack, it can disrupt regular traffic through spam traffic.
This results in slower website response or prolonged downtime. It can lead to financial implications, especially for an e-commerce brand where website downtime is a significant disadvantage.
3. Zero-day attacks
When it comes to modern cyber threats, zero-day attacks are common. These attacks enable cyber attackers to execute web defacements. Such attacks where attackers exploit unknown vulnerabilities in plugins and the underlying architecture of websites.
Zero-day attacks are far more dangerous than known vulnerabilities because CMS developers do not get time for patch development. Attackers exploit the unknown vulnerability and launch the attack quickly, leaving no time for security upgrades. This leads to higher downtime of websites.
4. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks
MITM attack in which hackers target the communication between a browser and web server to access sensitive information. Attackers can gain access to user credentials using MITM attacks and use doxing or ask for ransom.
One way to avoid MITM is to use SSL certificates to secure communication between a browser and a server. It scrambles the information into non-readable data, which attackers cannot interpret.
Fortunately, for businesses, many resellers of low cost of cheap SSL certificate options, which can secure websites.
5. Lack of network security
CMS needs to have secure configurations for network connections. If there is a lack of network security for your website, it can lead to several known vulnerabilities and DDOS attacks. So, it becomes essential to configure the network environments for better security.
Further inadequate network security can lead to attackers gaining access to root admin. This leads to businesses losing control over their websites and the possibility of remote injection of malicious codes.
Securing your website from such cyber threats requires specific CMS security measures. Let us discuss some of these best practices for better CMS security.
Improving CMS security requires the implementation of many best practices, including regular updates, multi-factor authentications, and employing data access controls.
1. Update CMS More Often
Keeping your CMS updated is essential to ensure there are no known vulnerabilities that cyber attackers can exploit. It includes regularly updating the CMS software with critical security patches.
Another essential part of updating the CMS security patches regularly is to ensure testing of underlying architecture for any vulnerability.
Ensure there are no code errors or vulnerabilities in the source code of your website through penetration testing and vulnerability scanning.
Apart from the CMS source code, ensure your plugins and themes are updated with the latest versions. Remove obsolete plugin versions, which do not receive security patches to ensure better security.
2. Use Unique Passwords
Admins that access CMS controls and sensitive information need unique passwords, or it can lead to cyber-attacks. Many attackers use backdoor access to web servers and steal the credentials of root admins.
This allows them to control the website, and a unique password can avoid such scenarios.
Here are some ways to ensure your password is safe,
- Use a highly secure password manager.
- Create unique passwords through alphanumeric values.
- Secure your passwords on a highly secure module like encrypted USBs
- Ensure your password has one unique character like “@.”
Another way to secure your CMS is to employ multi-factor authentication or MFA. An example of MFA is two-factor authentication (2FA). It adds an extra security layer to conventional email and password mechanisms.
Users get a personal message on their device with a passcode, which they can use along with a password and email ID to login into the website. This ensures data is accessible only to the intended user.
3. Encrypt CMS Servers
One of the most significant attacks websites face is MITM, and encrypting the communication with CMS servers can help protect data. The best way to do this is by installing an SSL certificate that uses cryptographic encryptions to secure data in transit between server and browser.
You can easily get a discounted SSL certificate issued from the leading certificate authority (CA), which issues it after validating your identity. Here is the process of SSL certification,
- You have to submit a certificate signing request to the CA for issuance of an SSL certificate
- CSR needs details regarding your organization and domain ownership depending on the type of SSL certificate you want.
- CA will verify all the details and issue a certificate
- You can install the certificate on your website through CMS
There are many types of SSL certificate options like, domain validation, organization validation, extended validation, and more. You can choose a certificate type based on your requirements.
For example, if you have multiple sub-domains, a Wildcard SSL certificate can secure all of them with a primary domain.
4. Secure Network Configurations
Securing networks for your websites requires effective monitoring and the correct configurations. Assess network environments and monitor performance to ensure there are no vulnerabilities.
Further, fine-tune configurations based on the system requirements to ensure network security.
For example, if you are using cloud infrastructure for your website with some data on the on premise servers, network security issues can occur.
Due to different environments across on premise and cloud, you must configure the network for CMS security.
5. Backup CMS
One of the best practices of CMS security is to have regular backups. With frequent backups, you can ensure reduced recovery time during downtime. You can quickly restore the website to the last point when it worked fine using an earlier backup.
CMS backups can also help your organization ensure high availability while releasing a new build or feature. If the feature fails after deployment, you can quickly roll back to the older version using a backup.
With an increasing number of websites and cyber threats, which it face, businesses need to ensure better security. CMS like WordPress, Drupal, and others do offer some security through pre-built features.
However, you can use CMS security best practices like having regular backups, installing a cheap SSL certificate, or employing MFA. However, which best practice to use will depend on specific requirements.
Hi there, myself Shrey Kajaria, a Blogger, Graphic Designer, YouTuber, and Filmmaker. I share different growth strategies, and also help other people to make money online with my tactics and strategies.