Top 7 Critical Online Security Weaknesses You Can Prevent

2019-11-05 by Ellie Coverdale

The rate at which technology grows and changes is extraordinary in the modern era. If you blink, you’ll often miss important updates to the technological status quo. Whilst this has a good amount of advantages, like helping improve problem solving, speeding up the rate at which people can work and the flexibility that people can operate with, it has its downsides as well. One of the primary downsides to the rate of growth is that cybersecurity, and good cybersecurity practice, often has a very tough time keeping up. It’s important that individuals learn to take responsibility for the weaknesses in security, so let’s look at the top 7 most important ones to avoid.

1. Malware

You will likely have heard of malware. “Malware is the most common type of tool utilized for security breaches. It’s an easy one to remember: mal- (the common prefix used to denote bad or evil, but also short for malicious) and -ware, the suffix from the word software”, explains Carson Holding, data manager at Essay Roo and Paper Fellows. Malware is ‘malicious software’ designed to take control of your website. That control allows them to access customer information as well as change how the site looks or redirect customers elsewhere.

2. Utilizing Vulnerable Third-Party Elements

A website is comprised of many different components. Every element to your site needs to be signed off, on a security level, by the people who know. In general, we see a lot of problems arise when people bring in third party components to their website. Dragging in a bit of code that you uncovered from GitHub or that you saw elsewhere online opens up a vulnerability that could fairly easily be avoided.

3. SQL Injections

An SQL injection is where a harmful party uses an input field on your site to ‘inject’ malicious SQL statements or other piece of malicious code through vulnerabilities in your site elements, like a plugin for example. There is a bit of an epidemic of SQL injections which can be avoided through security checks and by keeping your site elements up to date at all times.

4. Password Hacks

This is an unsophisticated but highly effective method of attacking you. Shockingly, in spite of how frequently they’re relied upon in contemporary life, passwords and password understanding are woefully weak. “Passwords can honestly be guessed a lot of the time. That’s before you consider more sophisticated password hacks like ‘keylogging’”, warns Lulu Zhong, tech lead at Australian Help and State of Writing. Having strong passwords and changing them frequently is an excellent way to avoid this problem. Similarly, avoiding logging on too liberally on public computers and public networks will leave you less vulnerable.

5. DDoS Attacks

‘DDoS-ing’, as it sometimes colloquially referred to, is a classic method of violating site security. The method has a lot of history in video games, where players attempt to overload a server to cause their opponents’ games to crash. The same principle holds true here. DDoS stands for ‘Distributed Denial of Service’, and an attack is when a malicious party attempts to overwhelm a server by loading many requests at the same time. At first the server will load very slowly. Eventually, it will crash, taking the site offline. It’s becoming easier to do, so make sure you invest in adequate security to defend yourself.

6. Misconfiguring Your Security Settings

All sites have security settings. If you don’t pay attention closely enough to what you are doing as you compile your settings, you can leave weaknesses around your site. It’s a simple solution though: take your time and do the job properly.

7. Miseducation Or Lack Of Education

This is the number one security weakness, and it has to be stopped. The fact that you’re reading this article is a good start, but you need to continue your research to be safe. Don’t jeopardize your safety by not taking this stuff seriously enough!


Cybersecurity is being addressed more and more every day. This doesn’t mean that the average user isn’t far too ignorant. Hopefully this list will be a good launching off board for your further education in cybersecurity and how to prevent and identify weaknesses.

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Ellie Coverdale

Ellie Coverdale writes for Academized.com and Ukwritings.com on matters of software development and security. She loves sharing her insights and tips on authentic, meaningful business strategies and digital solutions for her readers. She also writes articles for Boomessays.com in her role as a tutor.

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