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Magento Security Best Practices: How to Mitigate the Threats

April 23, 2021 8 MIN READ
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Magento Security Best Practices: 7 Steps to Mitigate the Threats
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In these days of booming ecommerce, Magento security is the key aspect worth taking a hard look at. The very commercial nature of Magento-based websites makes them an attractive target for various sorts of illegal intrusion. Phishing, database hacking, identity and payment data theft, as well as many other types of modern e-crimes constitute the sorrowful experience that Magento e-store owners have to face today.

What Are the Latest Magento Security Statistics?

Intercepting the payment information of e-store customers via injections of malicious code seems to be the typical Magento attack; for instance, 2806 Magento websites were hacked in 2020 according to stats. This is a cybercrime trend that seems to be growing – a year earlier, 962 Magento e-stores were hacked. Nothing will prevent the trend reaching a much bigger number in 2021 if the majority of Magento e-store owners remain reluctant to follow Magento security practices. 

Vandalized websites have numerous negative consequences for both business owners and their customers. The ecommerce merchants lose time and money, while e-shoppers face reputational damage. As a result, both groups may get caught up in legal proceedings being exposed to tighter monitoring by fiscal authorities.

7 Must-Have Steps to Secure Your Store

There is no doubt that preventive measures to secure Magento websites can never hurt. The following best security practices enable your Magento project to stay better protected against online attackers.

1. Provide regular audits of Magento security

Engaging Magento professionals is the best solution for this purpose. They can thoroughly identify possible errors in website functionality to remedy any sort of security omission. However, either financial hardship or lack of relevant specialists often prevents many e-merchants from applying this simple approach to their Magento projects. Can business owners execute sufficiently effective audits on their own?

The list of priority procedures below is a guide on how to fulfill the security audit of your Magento e-store without involving expensive third-party experts.

  • Use Magento Security Scan to monitor your e-store’s security
  • Never be reluctant to upgrade security patches
  • Regularly check how reliable your user authentication procedure is
  • Protect confidential files
  • Keep antivirus databases always up to date
  • Deactivate unprotected PHP commands to improve protection against unauthorized access
  • Limit access to the local.xml file
  • Systematically check your server logs to identify malicious activities
  • Examine the third-party components you use for possible vulnerabilities.  

Source

Even though Magento is rightly considered a secure platform, absolute security cannot be achieved in any software. Hackers never get tired of finding new ways to infiltrate commercial projects. That’s why security audits remain an easy-to-perform method of staying strongly protected.

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2. Use encrypted connections (SSL/HTTPS)

This procedure, along with the ones given below, belongs to deeper expertise of preventive measures than the general recommendations suggested in the list above. 

The main function of the SSL certificate implies encryption of datasets that move between servers and browsers. It prevents unauthorized access to the personal info of users, whether that is credit card data or other confidential information. The data exchange should run through HTTPS connections that protect against illicit interception of information.

Data encryption is one of the key security functions of Magento worth taking into consideration. By the way, Google helps users identify insecure connections by showing clear warnings in the URL line. 

Another step to follow the described measures implies using SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), which provides access to your website file system security. No specific tutorial is needed to do this since SFTP is easy to use. 

However, when it comes to passwords to be created for SFTP, professionals suggest generating them randomly so they are as complex as possible. The same relates to any sort of admin access within your Magento environment: avoid using words from “real syntax” to generate either admin passwords or usernames. Create a combination of letters, numbers, and special symbols (%, #, *, etc.). Also, it isn’t recommended to use either names or passwords that already exist from other resources.    

3. Activate two-factor authentication

Unfortunately, reliable passwords cannot guarantee the total security of your website. Contemporary technologies provide hackers with numerous methods of getting unauthorized access even to those web resources whose super-complicated passwords seem to be unhackable. E-criminals increasingly turn to phishing, which makes users blithely share confidential data with fake sites.

Two-factor authentication can add another barrier against the theft of private data. Crypto exchanges, e-wallets, online payment systems, and other web resources with sensitive personal info all use two-factor authentication for a reason. This technology provides an extra level of protection with the following measures:

  • Allowing access to a website only from those devices that have been preliminarily authorized by regular users
  • Generating temporary codes to be sent to the users’ mobile devices when another attempt to log in to a website occurs
  • Limiting the number of attempts to access a personal data section of a website.

4. Routinely backup your website

Making reserve copies of your e-store belongs to the best security practices of the Magento 2 platform. It can restore earlier versions of your website in case of failure when some data is lost. Such a failure can happen due to various reasons: hacking, accidental/deliberate data deletion, errors caused by wrong configurations, poorly installed new extensions, etc. 

Magento’s functionality allows you to backup your system databases by default. The copies can be downloaded, as appropriate, either on local hard disks or in clouds.

Also, do not forget to deactivate the indexing of your website’s file directories. This is a decent practice to block access to files on your domain. Otherwise, any user can get access to the list of your file directories online making your website potentially vulnerable to attackers. 

5. Choose reliable hosting providers

You can select different hosting plans from different providers. Both budget and hosting options matter. However, the cheaper the plan you choose, the weaker the security options you can count on will be. There is a direct correlation between the price you pay for your website hosting and the extent of anti-hacking protection provided for this price. 

A dedicated hosting plan supported by a respectable company implies quite a reliable solution in terms of your website security. Any website hosted under the general grounds without proactive security measures remains poorly protected against various e-crime risks. The optimum price: cybersecurity ratio is unlikely to be achieved when one of its components is manifestly low. 

That’s why choosing inappropriate hosting providers is the critical external factor that can compromise your website security even if you take good care of all security features available within the Magento environment itself.   

6. Make Extensive Use of Automated Solutions

Automated security solutions can take the lion’s share of tasks aimed at getting your Magento e-store to operate safely. Besides, automation is always about reducing security costs. Fully automated security deployments can decrease the cost of security breaches by 95% as IBM experts claim in their data breach report

Even though the majority of the available security-related software for Magento websites can barely be classified as fully automated solutions they significantly facilitate addressing security concerns. Various Magento security extensions belong to such almost automatic tools. They help e-merchants solve the following issues, among others: 

In many cases, only time spent on searching for some appropriate Magento extension can constitute your investment in the enhancement of your e-store security: a lot of the solutions are free to install. 

7. Draw up your urgent action plan for a cyber emergency

Cybersecurity of your Magento website should not be completely trusted to human-free software algorithms. The reason is that automated security solutions still have to resist the human creativity of hackers. Hence, whatever security features you may exploit unpredictable emergencies can never be entirely excluded.

Collective effort to solve problems works better than any personal expertise does when applied to the same purpose. But any collective effort needs proper coordination to be effective. That’s why it never hurts to have an easily graspable emergency plan for your project staff. Involve both your project admins and third-party Magento security professionals to brainstorm about hypothetical attacks on your website. By doing so, your team can develop a step-by-step procedure of what to do in case of a cyber emergency. Remember that even a poor plan is better than no plan at all. 

Conclusion

Enhanced security features of your Magento website may not seem crucial until youк store is hacked. It is always better to know how to resist online attackers: forewarned is forearmed, so to speak. Quite easy-to-implement security practices can save a lot of time and money for your commercial Magento e-store. This is about your business efficiency and stronger competitiveness after all.

Follow our Magento security guide to introduce best practices into your store and stay as protected as possible.
Guides & Advice
Magento Security Guide: How to Protect Your Website from Hackers

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