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Keep Your Content Management System Secure (CMS)

Did you know that your website’s Content Management System (CMS) could be prone to attacks by cyber-criminals. CMS vulnerabilities not only cause operational headaches but could also end up causing severe financial harm and loss of brand reputation.

Content Management Systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify and other platforms provide real ways to develop sites that are both ergonomic and efficient. However, CMS websites are still associated with a negative image: they are insecure and easy targets for malicious hackers. Websites that are easy targets for such attacks include E-commerce sites, investor relations pages and HR portals, to list a few.

If you are in charge of a CMS platform, this article will assist you in identifying the main risks and providing you with points of vigilance to strengthen the level of security. 

So what are the threats posed by cyberattacks on websites? And what specific CMS elements should specifically be monitored? How can information technology, administrators, creative professionals, and developers ensure CMS security?

In 2018, more than 18 million users of CMS have experienced security breaches in. 73.2% of well-known websites managed with WordPress, the most widely used CMS, had vulnerabilities that could be exploited by common attacks. Threat actors have been known to insert malicious code into websites without the website owners’ knowledge. For example, RiskIQ recently reported that JavaScript vulnerabilities in CloudCMS and Picreel web service scripts enabled the payment processing skimmer group Magecart to insert malicious code, potentially affecting hundreds of websites and their visitors.

CMS Endpoint Security Threats from the Internet 

CMS security can also be jeopardized by malicious front-end client-side code rather than the backend, server-side code that was typically require. This exposes CMS users to breaches of security by SQL injection, cross-site scripting and other uses. 

The issue is that client-side extensions for regular web traffic include some active scripting that calls backend APIs in order to update data on the backend CMS server. Web security experts warn that attackers can take advantage of this mechanism by directly invoking those APIs and sending malicious requests.

Headless CMS strengthened safety

Over 90% of the top one million websites are based on WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Many people believe that because WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are so popular and well-known, they must have strong CMS security. As a result, these market leaders have become appealing targets for attackers. It is a constant struggle for website administrators to keep CMSs up to date and ahead of the current wave of attacks, and it is even more difficult to find the entry point of attacks when so much of their functionality is provided by third parties. WordPress, for example, has over 14,000 known vulnerabilities spread across its core, themes, and plugins.

The only way to stay ahead of security threats is to incorporate more decoupled or headless approaches, which separate the administrative system that controls web content from the actual front-end display or user presentation. 

CMSs that use this headless CMS approach allow you to tighten control over access to the CMS while still empowering content administrators. Unfortunately, despite what they tell everyone, today’s most popular systems—WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla—are all tightly coupled.

CMS Updates and Their Risks 

Updates are one of the most significant issues associated with CMS. CMS evolves at a quick pace, thus updates must be done on a frequent basis. Furthermore, new vulnerabilities are discovered and corrected on a regular basis, necessitating the deployment of updates as quickly as possible and the continuous review of available patches. 

Updates affect not only the versions of the CMS themselves, but also the versions of the various plugins that are used. For the most popular open-source CMS, there are plenty of plugins available.

Customized CMS developments related risks 

The other major CMS risk is related to custom development. Many CMS-based websites rely not only on configuration, but also on custom development, whether by an in-house development team or a service provider. If your site includes custom developments, they pose the same risks as a site created “from scratch.” 

There are a few investigations to be made during custom development:

  • What are the developers’ abilities in terms of security?
  • Have we conducted penetration tests?
  • How can we fix potential flaws in our code to avoid incidents? 

The risks that your website faces vary depending on its size and functionality:

  • Data Theft particularly for sites that allow customers to create accounts
  • Service Interruptions
  • Illegal Content Hosting. 

How can CMS owners, its network, companies and customers be effectively protected by security Audits?

To answer this question, our expert team at ThinkLab Communications can audit your website and make all the necessary fixes. Alternatively, if you want to build a secure e-commerce website, contact us and one of our team members will be in touch to cater to your technical needs.

Tags:E-commerce,WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, Content Management System