Enterprise Risk Management Strategy and Protecting Your Corporate Website
Your corporate website is one of the most important aspects of your business when it comes to attracting new customers and maintaining relationships with existing ones. However, hackers and data thieves can exploit vulnerabilities in your site to expose your customers to malicious downloads and malware or ransomware infections. A data breach or attack can seriously damage your organization’s reputation with your clients, so it is in your best interest to protect your corporate website through a detailed enterprise risk management (ERM) strategy to keep your customers’ data safe.
Why Hackers Exploit Corporate Websites
If you don’t collect any financial data through your website and only share general information about your company and its products or services, you may be wondering why a hacker might target your site. If they aren’t trying to steal your customers’ financial information, why would they attack your seemingly innocuous website?
Surprisingly, this is exactly the type of website that hackers try to exploit, as most customers view their favorite brands’ websites as safe and trustworthy. Particularly with smaller companies, the website managers may not be as sophisticated, making it easier for hackers to gain access. They can then implant malicious files on your site for your customers to download.
Corporate Website Vulnerabilities
There are a variety of ways for hackers to exploit your corporate website and reduce your system’s security. These are known as vulnerabilities and are often due to a flaw in your system. Here are some of the most common:
This is the most commonly exploited security vulnerability in web applications. Some elements of your application, like form fields, may be exposed, allowing the hacker to gain access to your database from the back-end. They can copy, modify and interact with any information stored in your database, and they’ll be able to corrupt those files as well.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
This hacking method involves hiding code in a client-facing script’s output. Then, as customers visit your site, they leave cookies, giving the hacker access to their information. As more customers visit your site over time, more and more people are affected.
Broken Authentication and Session Management
Any time you require your employees or customers to log in to your system, you are creating a vulnerability that hackers can exploit. This is especially true if you allow your users to stay logged in from the same computer. The web server must store information to recognize that the same user has returned, and hackers can use this information to create new sessions from the stored data, gaining access to your system.
Insecure Direct Object References
Throughout your site, you likely have a variety of URLs that link to other files and URLs. Just a slight change to that URL can point it to a different file. If a hacker modifies your URL information, they can cause your customers to download their files instead, potentially exposing your website visitors to malicious content and potentially compromising personal information. Once the download is complete, the hacker can use the file as an access point, allowing them to see your customers’ personal data.
Poorly Configured Security Protocols
Hackers often exploit organizations that lack sophistication in their digital security measures. If you use the default settings for your servers, applications and other platforms, you could be at risk. Instead, you should always change the default passwords right away when implementing new software or hardware. It is also a good idea to download and install any updates immediately so that you stay up-to-date on the latest security measures.
Cross-Site Request Forgery (XSRF)
Also called Sea Surfing or Session Riding, XSRF occurs when hackers exploit weaknesses in your website’s code. Any areas of your website that aren’t secure could be at risk, giving hackers the opportunity to insert additional code to redirect website visitors or manipulate their actions within your site. This is a common method hackers use to gain users’ login information so that they can use those credentials to make purchases, transfer money or log in to other sites.
Protecting Your Corporate Website Through Enterprise Risk Management Strategy
ERM takes a holistic approach to protect your internal data and your customers’ data while visiting your website. Allowing hackers to gain access to this sensitive information can damage your reputation, tearing down all of the trust you had built up with your customers over time. In a time when customers are always seeking the next best thing, you can’t afford to lose customers to your competitors simply because you couldn’t secure your corporate website.
The primary goal of ERM is to identify the level of risk with which your organization is comfortable so that you can take steps to bring your risk exposure down to that desired level. Hacking and other dangerous activities are only going to continue to increase going forward, so now is the time to make any necessary changes to your corporate website and security protocols to protect your company and its customers.
Installing Software Updates
As new threats come into the market, software developers race to deliver updates and patches to protect against the latest attacks. To maximize your protection, you should closely monitor these updates as they become available so that you can install them right away.
Instate Query Parameters
From time to time, your website may require your customers to respond to queries. Rather than allowing any input, which makes it easier for hackers to exploit, it is a good idea to require specific parameters. Any other inputs won’t function properly. This way, hackers have to identify not just the correct input, but the specific parameters of that input as well, making it more difficult for them to gain access.
Implement a Content Security Policy
A content security policy (CSP) configures your website to control the resources that can be downloaded. This code goes into the HTTP header of your site and can create a variety of restrictions. For example, you could specify that transfers can only come from HTTPS websites, creating an extra layer of security.
Use Strong Passwords
Any time you require your employees or customers to enter their login information, you want to ensure that their password isn’t easy to crack. Strong passwords include both uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and symbols. They should also contain at least eight characters and should not be in a pattern that is easy to guess, like your name or birthday. It is a good idea to require your users to change their passwords regularly as well.
As cyber security becomes more and more of a concern, webmasters are making the switch from basic HTTP to the more secure HTTPS format for their websites. Going forward, your business is likely to be left behind if you don’t provide your customers with this added security, as your competitors likely will. In this format, data transfers are encrypted, making it exponentially more difficult for hackers to gain access.
Protecting Your Website Is an Ongoing Battle
When it comes to the security of your website, it is not enough to only deal with this problem once; keeping your website secure requires ongoing monitoring and adjustment. Stay abreast of the latest threats to keep your website safe over time.