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Top 10 Essential Magento Security Tips To Secure your Ecommerce Website



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E-STORE (1)

We know that the majority of our readers cares about the security of its business. It is no secret that the most popular type of business is an online shop. So that we want to share with you some tips on Magento e-store security. Our guest – Alex Letitov will tell you how to prevent your business from cyber criminals.


Thousands of e-commerce businesses use Magento platform for their e-stores. Transactions worth millions are executed on these stores every day. If there is money, there will be risks. Cybercrime could spoil your business’ success party any day. Even though all e-commerce platforms, Magento included, offer you robust security features, and keep on upgrading them frequently, you cannot really hope to live with that.

A basic cyber-attack on your Magento store could bring business operations to a halt, lead to customer data theft and subsequent legal penalties, apart from the theft of money from customers’ online wallets. Moreover, if your store makes the news for being a victim of cyber-attacks, its reputation will take a massive hit.

Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to bolster your Magento store’s security. I will cover the 10 most important Magento security tips that will keep your store secure.

Keep On Patching Your Magento Installation To The Latest Version

Magento owes its reputation as a stellar e-commerce website builder to its ability to keep on upgrading the system’s security via security updates, version updates, and patches. The single most important action you can take to keep your Magento store’s security in its best health is to upgrade it to the latest version, today. Magento upgrades consist of:

  • Maintenance related fixes
  • Bug fixes
  • Security fixes that take care of the latest vulnerabilities being exploited by cybercriminals

Naturally, e-commerce store owners do not want to learn a new interface when they are comfortable with what they have right now. Magento excels here because its upgrades are accompanied with comprehensive patch notes. These notes help you clearly understand as to what has changed in the system so that you can decide if you are comfortable with the upgrade.

Eventually, any e-store manager will agree that staying secure is much more important than adjusting to the minor interface changes (if any) resulting from the version upgrades. Magento’s Tech Resources page is a good link to bookmark so that you can easily check on the latest release information.

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Change the Default Admin Login Path

02_admin_login_path

You can make it highly difficult for hackers to break into your store by changing the default login page. Your Magento store’s default admin login page link will look something like www.storename.com/index.php/admin/. Instead, use a custom URL so that a hacker can’t simply access this page and launch a brute force attack to break into the backend. You can do this from the System settings; go to Config, choose Admin, then Admin Base URL, and choose ‘Use Custom Admin Path’. Another way to do so is to go to the local.xml config file and look for the following code block.

<admin>

<routers>

<adminhtml>

<args>

<frontName><![CDTA[admin] ]</frontName>

</args>

</routers>

</admin>

Here, replace[admin]with the new admin path. Save the edited config file and refresh the cache; you’re done.

Add Secure Socket Layer (SSL)

As a Magento store owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your shoppers’ data is transmitted securely from the store to your other IT systems. To do so, you need to add SSL to your Magento store.

By using SSL encryption, you make sure that even if a third party is able to intercept and access the data, it will not be able to make sense of the garbled strings of data.

To activate SSL, go to Systems > Configuration > Web > Secure. Here, mark ‘yes’ for Use Secure URLs in Frontend/Use Secure URLs in Admin.

Once you activate SSL, your Magento store’s URL will be accompanied by the highly sought after green padlock icon to the right in the address bar of web browsers. This helps build trust for your e-store.

Use Super Strong Passwords

04_use_super_strong_passwords

This comes across as a bit of an obvious tip. However, it’s surprising how several Magento store owners continue to commit password blunders, which compromises their store’s security. Though Magento requires a password of minimum 7 characters, we strongly advise you to opt for a longer password. Here are some best practices to remember:

  • Use a mix of caps and small case alphabets, numbers, and special symbols in your password.
  • Don’t include your personal, brand, or business name within the password.
  • Don’t include sequential strings, such as 1234 and qwerty in your password.

Apart from these, you can use the Admin security configuration in Magento to manage your password settings. For instance, you can enhance your store’s security against brute force break-in attempts by limiting the number of attempts to login allowed in a session, after which the account is locked. You could also set up your admin login page to require a CAPTCHA to be filled in.

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Supplement Strong Passwords With 2-Factor Authentication

05_2-factor_authentication

By adding another layer of security to your Magento store, you can mitigate the chances of someone breaking in. 2-factor authentication is an easy and reliable method of doing this.

All you need is a reliable Magento extension to set up 2-factor authentication. This means that a user will require a password, as well as a dynamically generated one-time password (OTP). This OTP is sent to the user’s mobile phone via an SMS (or email). Essentially, this means that you need to know something (your login credentials) and possess something (your device) to be able to access the admin console of Magento.

You could try on Rublon, a Magento security extension that lets you add trusted devices to log into Magento backend by using an app. Magento Hackathon is another good option, which allows you to set up complex multi-factor authentication rules, including the option to send a one-time code to the user’s registered device.

Regularly backup your Magento web store

06_regularly_backup_your_magento

Better be prepared than sorry; create backups of your Magento 2 data regularly. This ensures that in the unfortunate case of data theft, you have the option of turning back the clock and restoring your web store to a recent stable state.

Automatic backups are one of the Magento security features available to store owners. Do this from the Admin panel in Magento 2. Go to Tools, and select Backups. The best part – you can automate and schedule the backup activity to take place daily, weekly, monthly, or just once. Also, you could create a backup using any reliable Magento 2 extension to create a backup.

Use A Firewall to Prevent SQL Injection

Hackers can execute coded commands that can alter your Magento store’s backend, thus compromising its security. Magento backend is made inherently secure against SQL injection attacks, but that does not mean you can’t make it stronger.

Use a firewall to make sure every advanced SQL injection attack is also nullified.  A firewall can detect and report unapproved SQL statements, block SQL injections, logs all SQL activity, and lets you build a whitelist of SQL statements to avoid false negatives.

Be Very Picky With Magento Extensions

Third party extensions for Magento are a key USP of the open source e-commerce platform. However, you need to exercise caution while choosing an extension. Before you realize, a spurious Magento extension could become a gateway for a cyber-criminal to access protected information from your e-store.

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Whenever you want to use an extension, check the developer’s background. Also, look for extensions that have been reviewed by independent Magento add-on reviewers. Use ratings and reviews are also a good indicator of the extension’s reliability.

Use Advanced Security Options to Make Magento More Secure

Magento offers you several advanced security settings that can make the store more secure than ever. Here are some of these settings, and other security best practices worth considering:

  • Restrict access to the admin panel by IP address, so that it is accessible only from a limited and known number of networks
  • Use secure FTP (also called SFTP) which uses an encrypted key file to authenticate a user
  • Lock your ‘/downloader/’ directory to prevent brute force attacks
  • Scan the website regularly for malicious codes
  • Disable the old TLS1.0 protocol to make your store PCI compliant.

Take An Unbiased Security Test

After taking all these measures, store owners would want to believe that their Magento stores are fully secure. This might not be the case. To reveal vulnerabilities, hire a third party Magento security expert to test your store. Because these security service providers have vested business interests in highlighting your store’s vulnerabilities (and then offering you paid consultancy to repair them), you are sure that you would get the best quality checks. Any vital security flaws you find in your Magento store setup can then be fixed, potentially avoiding a data security disaster in the future.

Concluding Remarks

Though it is too difficult to assert that any e-commerce website is 100% secure, Magento store owners can make things better for themselves and their customers by adopting the best practices of making their e-stores more secure. Start with these 10 tips; these will make sure that your customers’ data remains secure, and hackers are unable to break into your e-store.

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Written by: Alex Letitov

I'm a tech and web development writer with over 5 years experience in developing UX/UI field. The last 2 years I'm running my own web blog and write analytic articles for different online magazines. You can follow me on on Facebook and Google+.