According to Statista, retail ecommerce sales worldwide will surpass the 5 billion USD mark by the end of this year. This means there is no slowing down for ecommerce. By any means, 5 billion USD is a huge chunk of money. While many will work hard to build their ventures, there will always be some who would find ways to steal money from online businesses.
When it comes to creating and operating online stores, Magento is a very popular ecommerce platform. Thanks to low barrier-to-entry and high level of customization, many find Magento perfect for their online stores. All they need is a Magento dedicated hosting provider where they can create and run ecommerce stores using Magento Open Source platform.
Unfortunately, due to its popularity, Magento Open Source stores are desirable targets for attackers and hackers. According to Magento Security Study 2021 by website safety platform Astra, approximately 62% of Magento stores may have one vulnerability and almost half do not prefer to use SSL for operations. These are alarming statistics considering hackers rarely come with good intentions.
These days, hackers do not only come to steal money. They scheme to obtain as much data as they can from unprotected websites. By stealing a website’s data, attackers can use the information in many different ways. They can sell such information to other nefarious elements, plan phishing activities, use it for electronic spam, or conduct unauthorized electronic transactions. To put it plainly, securing your Magento website should be a continuous process—and not a single-time task.
With continuous protective measures, you would be able to safeguard your business and brand against any reputation-damaging incident. In this article, you will learn how to create a robust protection plan for your Magento store. By following this easy manual, you will be able to keep data snoopers and hackers out in most cases.
1. Use the right type of Magento hosting
When it comes to Magento security, you should start from the very top. In order to create your online store, you will require a hosting platform. It is always wise to invest in a Magento dedicated hosting solution for your store with fully managed cloud servers. Shared hosting environments are easy targets for hackers. In comparison, dedicated Magento cloud hosting providers have advanced security measures like:
- SFTP for secure file transfer
- Easy SSL implementation for quick (and sometimes, free) HTTPS deployment
- Hardware firewalls that can prevent server-level incidents
- IP Whitelisting for need-specific IP-based access
- Fail2Ban to prevent brute force attacks on SSH & SFTP
2. Create a Magento security checklist
You need to understand that Magento security should be a part of your business routine. Good website managers are always proactive. In order to stay protected, they create an expansive list of security tasks which are specific to the needs of their website. If you do not know where to begin, you can use the following to-do list:
- Ensure all transfers are done on SFTP
- Implement SSL certificates
- Regularly check, test, and deploy Magento updates
- Delete any unnecessary package or module
- Use strong passwords that include lower- and upper-case alphabets, numbers, and special characters
- Change the default admin URL
- Run Magento Security Scan regularly
- Use two-factor authentication
- Create daily backups and store those on a different server
- Obtain PCI-DSS compliance
- Get a quarterly security review done by independent experts
The above-mentioned list is not a complete one. However, it serves as an excellent starting point for anyone who is just getting started in Magento security administration. You can always add or subtract tasks according to the needs of your store.
3. Keep Your Magento Version & Plugins Updated
A smart business owner knows the importance of keeping their Magento and its extensions (or plugins) updated. Sleeping on this important aspect of your business operation is a crime. This type of negligence mostly leads to untoward incidents, like data snooping, hacking, etc. Starting version 2.3.3, Magento now pushes two types of updates: Features + Security and Security-Only.
If you cannot commit to a full version upgrade, you should always plan to deploy security patches on priority basis. For such purposes, a dedicated Magento hosting service with the ability to create a testing site comes into play. Instead of implementing security updates directly on the production site, you should test it once for operational purposes.
Similarly, always keep your plugins and extensions updated. Remove (or replace) any outdated Magento extensions that are not in use anymore.
4. Use a Firewall to Stop SQL Injections
While creating a robust security plan for your Magento website, you should consider investing in a WAF or web application firewall. This type of software adds a layer of protection to your website. A WAF monitors, analyzes, and filters the incoming traffic for any suspicious activities and keeps malicious traffic away from your server. In short, it acts like a powerful shield.
However, you should make it a point to keep your WAF security lists updated. This will keep newly discovered threats out. Moreover, you can safeguard your website against complex SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks.
5. Change admin URL path and add two-factor authentication
It’s easy for crooks to enter if they know where there is an entry point. A default /admin path makes it easy for hackers to plan their attacks. Therefore, it’s always a smart idea to customize your admin URL. This way, people who are actually responsible for a Magento website can access the website. This change is very easy to do. In Magento 2, you can edit the env.php file to customize your admin path.
To strengthen your login pathway further, you should implement a two-factor mechanism.The built-in Magento extension is perfect for authentication verification usage. You can apply different types of two-factor authentication methods, including Google Authentication, Duo Security, Authy (SMS or Call), or U2F (YubiKey).
6. Create A Backup Plan
Your Magento hosting provider should alway offer an automated backup solution for you to use. However, there is where things should not stop. A backup can save you from a lot of hassle if anything goes with your website. While server-side backups are great, you should always make a point to have your backups stored on remote servers too. This way, you are covered if your server gets affected by an attack.
7. Run Built-in Security Scan Frequently
Magento Open Source comes with an enhanced security tool known as Security Scan. This built-in feature monitors Magento websites including Progressive Web Apps for any security shortfalls. When it finds anything problematic, it helps you to resolve the issue by receiving related security information, including online patches. You can schedule to run this tool weekly from its dashboard. You can also set up the tool to send email updates on scan runs and what needs to be done. You should check the official documentation to know more about the Security Scan tool.
Although this article touches on all the important aspects of Magento security, you should consider it as a starting guide. Securing your Magento website will always be a “work in progress” task. Therefore, you should continue to work on ways to protect your website in this fast-evolving digital economy.