Website and domain security is a critical aspect for all business owners to understand. It is often the thought of many that security protocols are reactive rather than proactive. The "reactive" mentality is dangerous and far from the actual truth. A strong and secure system is a proactive system and allows for detection of any wrong-doing that could cost a company money as well as their reputation. An online company is only as good as it’s reviews, seals of approval, and positive write-ups. One data breach can easily put even the largest company out of business or at least link the name with unsavory titles on the internet for the next twenty years. Nobody wants a Google search to retrieve results of their security breach instead of articles of praise. It’s the search-engine difference between, "Stuffed Unicorn company outsells all other children’s toys in 2014!" or "Be Weary Of Unicorns: Website Hacked! Thousands Of Dollars Stolen From Unicorn Enthusiasts!"
Listed below are different levels of security that must function cohesively to provide the most in information security:
UserIn the most general of terms, the user is the person that is accessing the website, program, or application. In this, certain credentials should be applied and passed. If these credentials do not pass or are rendered false, access will be denied.
AuthenticatorOn the surface level, the authenticator is the initial log-in interface that allows access to the website. The level of authentication should be changed frequently as it is the first line of defense in the possibility of hacking. This is a little piece of data, often called a token that is included with the credentials of the log in. Authentication can come in two forms. If the token is in a physical form, this is often carried through using an external method such as a barcode, magnetic strip, or biometrics. This token is then carried throughout the process and represents the identity of the user trying to log in.
Access ControllerThe access controller acts as the gatekeeper that ensures that the user credentials are correct. While controllers do not have the authority to create permissions, they do allow for a level of security that is permissible through that layer of security. The controller will only grant access using the information in which they have already been directed from other resources and will grant a pass or fail compliance to the user.
Access Reference MapThis map is unlike any other map that most are used to seeing. Instead, the access reference map accesses the data-base to cross reference the user credentials. These references include permissions and allowances that are permitted to user through various levels of the system itself. If the credentials check out as being legitimate, then the level of website security is then passed to the next stage of the process.
ValidationAs the namesake states, the validation takes the given information and credentials given by the access controller through the reference map and validates its authenticity. It is in this stage that items such as passwords or user name configurations are validated and safety checked. Should the credentials be legible but a variant of the algorithm currently used, further validation will be required. This is often in the form of answer some security questions and changing the password. If the user log in combination is out rejected, it is done at this level and returned to the access controller. Validated credentials are then further processed through the security protocol layers.
EncoderIt is in the encoder where a great deal of website scanning will happen. When interfacing content in code, it must be compatible. Certain algorithms of code are an easy breach. This is why a majority of malicious pieces of code come in the form of video, pictures, or audio scripts. When your page shows a scripting error, this is where the error is discovered. The encoding process of the website gives the site its uniqueness. Bad coding can cause errors and provide for an entry point to the website. It also can provide for the harboring of dangerous script that can harm other systems.
Web UtilitiesWhen accessing a website through the internet or on the domain there are several web utilities that come into action. The majority of these utilities are designed to assist with working within the website itself. These utilities could include forms, administration tools, and design instruments that are built into the website. While these tools are useful they also could pose as an access point for malicious doing. Many of these utilities have power access rights that allow the user to move about and supply bad information or code into the website itself.
EncryptionOften the most misunderstood part of the security layer process, encryption only adds on a layer of protection to the data that is being transmitted. The layer encrypts the data being transferred using the token itself to deliver the credentials or data. This type of encryption is what is visible to anyone whom should discover it. To decipher the encryption would require the same type of decryption device protocol used to be able to translate the information being sent. For website security purposes, encryption is often added pieces of coding that is put into the framework of the website itself to prevent theft.
RandomizerAlso known as a scrambler, randomizer is device or program that mixes up the code or information as a means to protect the information from theft or malicious intent. The device scrambles the algorithm in a way that is only known to the sender or receiver. This requires that the device or program be synchronized to each other and talking the same protocol as the scrambling is often randomized. This makes the transmission more difficult to decode. This kind of protection is often used on websites that require a high level of security standards to be in place or where protected information is being transferred.
Exception HandlingIn any case of data or log in security protocol, there are often exceptions to the rules. In some cases, this could include a work around that is utilized by administrators to provide for more efficient work. A common exception handling procedure is the locking out of a user when a log in has been tried one too many times. An administrator will likely be logged into multiple stations where this may not be allowed for individual end users. When the admin attempts to log into another workstation, there are scripts that can be ran to ensure that this is what the administrator wants to do. In the case of end user, the script may log out the user on the other station and warn them on the current. Exception handling is a fail-safe method of ensuring that security is being enforced.
LoggerThese devices and programs are a physical layer security protocol that allow for the monitoring and recording of data transmissions. A data imprint is made onto a log that records where the traffic is going to and where it came from. In some loggers, this is also used to record keystrokes and visual imprints. These loggers are capable of creating data logs that can be recalled to report any types of security breaches or malicious use of resources.
Intrusion DetectorMore commonly known as a firewall, intrusion detectors monitor all activity and report to system administrators when high level threats are trying to make their way through the system. The firewall will reference not only unauthorized users but programs that are trying to punch a hole in the system to create a weakness. Firewalls also provide protection against multiple attacks using vulnerability scanning as this is a common method for intrusion. Security administrators are warned when an excessive amount of failed login attempts have been made.
Security ConfigurationThe security configuration is the primary core of the defense against malicious entities wishing to do harm to the website or domain. This configuration is vast and only system administrators are allowed to work the configuration of the domain. In this configuration user credentials, system allowances, and any type of system wide setting is set.
PCI ScanningProper security for websites that process transactions and collect private information requires PCI Scanning-quarterly scanning as a minimum. A PCI scan means that any and all provided IP addresses that are related to your site and transaction process are scanned regularly for known vulnerabilities. Basically, a PCI Scan helps to ensure that what comes in and goes out of your website is safe.
According to A/B split-tests, prominently displayed trust seals combined with frequent PCI scanning can mean more credibility and an increase in online sales for your company. Implementing the proper website security testing tells consumers that you put their privacy, information, and security in high regard. It tells your customers that you believe that their protection and peace of mind matters to your business. Plus, you’re less likely to end up with bad press, embarrassed, fined, and bankrupt.
Trust SealsThere are many companies that provide trust seals and many that provide PCI Scanning. None of them, however, have the kind of comprehensive website security and testing that Trust Guard offers. In an effort to both recognize and resolve security, privacy and business identity concerns among online consumers, Trust Guard provides trust seals and services that cannot be matched by their competitors.
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Take full advantage of all the website security measures that we have to offer and start building more trust on your website. Get started with Trust Guard today!
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