All of us have a significant digital fingerprint; we use a number of websites every day, and we leave behind a piece of information about us on each one of them. People who build these websites such as web designers need to protect their users and sensitive information.
That’s why cybersecurity needs to be integrated into a website’s components, including web design. Understanding how you can implement cybersecurity measures and standards as a web designer will be a great asset to you, and will reduce the privacy concerns of users.
Making sure that a website is not only good-looking but also safe to visit is one of the responsibilities of modern web designers. So let’s see how you can integrate cybersecurity into web design.
Cyber Threats Web Designers Need to Know
There is a variety of cyberattacks that aim at websites, and web designers need to know their enemies before integrating cybersecurity into their projects. Since cyber threats differ in terms of nature and purpose, you need to understand the most common types very well and guard your websites against them.
1. Using Vulnerable Plug-ins
Web designers love their plug-ins; they don’t need to make them from scratch and they are always readily available. While this may be a time-saving practice, it can also be detrimental to your website.
Since you are not the developer of the plug-in, you cannot be sure of the vulnerabilities they have. You might virtually open the does of your website to hackers by using a single insecure plug-in.
To make sure that you are only using trusted and robust tools, please spend time examining plug-ins to see any possible vulnerabilities. It’s also a good practice to use these sorts of tools as little as you possibly need just to be safe.
2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a well-known and prominent vulnerability for websites. This injection attack allows cybercriminals to include malicious codes and scripts to secure websites. XSS attacks can compromise user data and get access to their credentials, threatening your website.
In this cyber threat, your website becomes the device or tool that hackers use as a platform to distribute their malicious scripts. If there are flaws in a web application, they will use it to execute XSS attacks and get a hold of user information.
3. Weak Authentication
Authentication of some sort is almost available on every website that allows people to sign in to their accounts. However, the majority of the authentication comes from usernames and passwords. These two proved to be vulnerable over the years, and they can easily be compromised; especially weak passwords.
Weak authentication can result in a compromised network since the malicious online actors will have access to the user’s access permissions. It is widely accepted that passwords cannot be the only way of verifying a user due to their vulnerabilities and the risks they bring.
How to Integrate Cybersecurity in Web Design
Governments and international organizations make online privacy a requirement for websites with standards such as GDPR. https://nordlayer.com/security-compliance/gdpr/
Being compliant with these standards helps you avoid disputes with legal entities and bring more users to your website. That’s why web designers need to know how to integrate cybersecurity; here are a few ways to achieve that.
1. Use SSL Encryption
A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a technology that enables the encryption of every piece of data being transmitted from and to your website. Over the years, SSL became the industry standard since non-encrypted data is always at risk of being intercepted.
Web designers must get SSL certificates as a part of their projects whether from their web hosting vendors or from a separate party. Especially websites that receive financial information such as CC numbers have to have SSL to protect their users. As a side note, most users know about SSL and they usually prefer websites that have it to feel secure.
2. Create Data Backups
Creating data backups is an important practice to decrease the risk of data loss. Cyber attacks can and will happen to some degree even if you do everything right. The deciding factor of the extent you are affected by cyber-attacks is how you backup your data.
In order to reduce data loss in case of an attack and ensure that your website can be running with the most updated data, you need to back up your whole website. If you have a small website, you can even do this with an external SSD. The better practice is of course getting help from a third-party vendor for backups with encryption capabilities.
3. Enforce Multi-factor Authentication
We already talked about how passwords are not nearly sufficient to protect user credentials. One way to reinforce sign-in protection is to use multi-factor authentication, in other words, MFA.
MFA is a tool that enforces users to add a layer to their user credentials; something other than their usernames and passwords. The most common MFA methods are the use of an app, OTPs (one-time password), or verification by call.
This ensures that even if the passwords are compromised, users have a way to prevent the hacker with the additional layer of authentication.
Image credit: depositphotos.com
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