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Top 5 Security Standards That Makes Magento 2 The Most Secure CMS

by Akashdeep Sharma The Brihaspati Infotech
With global Ecommerce ventures multiplying at an astounding pace, Ecommerce websites have become the hunting ground of cybercriminals for through different fraudulent activities. Cybersecurity is much more essential than ever as a lot of sensitive data is at stake with Ecommerce businesses working on such large scale.

Studies claim that one in five small business retailers fall victim to credit card fraud every year, with 60 of those stores being forced to close within six months.

Bolstering the security of the website before actually handling customer data and carrying out financial transactions is not just the responsibility of a merchant, but also the CMS which is going to be at the core of all Ecommerce operations of a business.

With Magento being the preferred CMS choice for 22% of the top 100,000 eCommerce websites, we are reviewing Magento’s top 5 security features that makes it stand out of the competition when it comes to E-commerce security.

1. Data Encryption

Data on the web is most secure when it is not readable, interpretable and accessible to unauthorized individuals. The best way to assure that is by encrypting the data using reliable algorithms.

Ecommerce stores manage a tons of sensitive data that includes, Payment information of clients, shipping information, package content, profile details and more. To keep them all secure and away from the hands of unauthorized cybercriminals, Magento encrypts such data with utmost effectiveness.

Algorithms used by Magento 2:
  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256) encryption algorithm: for credit card information, payment and shipping module passwords.
  • Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-256) encryption algorithm: for the remaining information.

Magento prompts merchants to set the encryption key during the first install and once set, this key is available in the Magento encryption key tool where you can access the default key or change it if needed.

Magento suggests to change the encryption key periodically as to keep the data secure as each time the key is changed, all legacy data is re-encrypted.

2. User Session Validation

To determine that a user is who he claims he is, Magento 2 provides the ability to configure session validation. This feature compares the session data of active users on a Magento website to the data stored in the session variables. If a correct match is not found then Magento instantly terminates the user session.

Magento features 5 options to compare the realtime info with what is stored in $_SESSION Variable and decide whether the active session is good or not.
  1. Validate REMOTE_ADDR - Verifies the IP address of the user and matches it with

  2. Validate HTTP_VIA - Verifies Proxy address of incoming requests.

  3. HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR - Verifies the forwarded-for address of a request.

  4. Validate HTTP_USER_AGENT - Verifies the browser or device used to access the store during a session.

  5. Use SID on Frontend - Keeps the user logged in while switching between stores.

Note: Enabling all the session variables can substantially load the server as it will require heavy queries to monitor active user sessions. This in turn can slow down the website performance and force overly restrictions. Magento advises to use only the required combination of session variables depending upon the website requirements.

Utilizing the required session variables for monitoring user session ensures that cyber criminals cannot hijack any user sessions using malicious scripts.

3. Cookie Validation

Cookies are small data files that are stored by websites to keep track of user activities and information on the site in order to deliver a more enhanced user experience. Cookies can track data such as clicks on specific buttons, Login info and page visits.

On Ecommerce websites, this data can be invaluable to cyber criminals and they can attempt to infiltrate the cookies store on your system.

To avoid such attempts, cookies in Magento are sent over encrypted HTTPS connections and are termed as Secure Cookies. In addition to the ‘secure’ attribute, Magento also offers a ‘samesite’ attribute that makes the cookie work only when the request for cookie originates from the same domain where the cookie was generated.

4. Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Security
   
CSRF is one the most commonly used hacking mechanisms which targeted a majority of merchants into tricking them to share their Magento admin details. 

The core idea behind such attacks was to trick the admin by showing him a URL similar to his usual Magento admin panel through means of social engineering. Once the link was clicked, merchants were easily manipulated to perform specific set of actions that changes their login details. 

This was quickly noticed by Magento and the developers launched a patch that implemented a CSRF security key for all the pages built in the website. The key is enabled by default and adds a randomly generated 16-character alphanumeric string as an additional token at the end of each URL.

As the URL is randomly generated, hence there is no way hackers can match the correct url of the website page, other than performing multiple hit and trials in order to get the right match (which can take a lot of time and set of alerts for merchants in advance).

5. XSS Security

Ecommerce website are the most affected by Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks. Such attacks are used by attackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the scripts running on the web application and then using those vulnerabilities generated through unvalidated data to inject malicious code into a web page visible to the end user.

There are 3 types of cross site scripting vulnerabilities that attackers look out for:
i) Persisted XSS: Such vulnerabilities are generated through unvalidated data present on the server end or website database.

ii) Reflected XSS: One of the most common ones among their types, reflected XSS vulnerabilities are generated when the web application is fetching data from web clients without any filtration for malicious codes. Further, server side scripts parse them right away and display it to the end users.

iii) DOM XSS: In such cases, the malicious code is hosted on the client’s machine and is activated through JavaScript codes in the web application.

Such attacks can be avoided by Magento developers by following these Magento standards:
 
a) Always validate and sanitize both user input and output and never trust user input.
b) Data received for 3rd party source should be validated and sanitized.
c) Sanitize strings originating from 3rd party data sources before sending it to the browser to be rendered with templates. Click here to find more information about template xss security
d) To escape HTML output, utilize the Magento Escaper class that contains the following functions: 
  • escapeHtml()  - To escape string inside HTML content.
  • escapeHtmlAttr() - To escape string inside HTML tag attributes.
  • escapeCss() - To escape string inside CSS context.
  • escapeJs() - To escape string inside JavaScript content.
  • escapeUrl() - To escape string inside a URL

Bottomline

Merchants must realize the importance of Ecommerce security before indulging into Ecommerce ventures and understand what security standards are offered by the available CMS systems.

Does Magento meets your security needs? Do you believe there are other CMS systems out there that beats Magento on the Ecommerce security front? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or get in touch with our team of Magento experts!

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About Akashdeep Sharma Freshman   The Brihaspati Infotech

9 connections, 0 recommendations, 29 honor points.
Joined APSense since, May 30th, 2017, From Mohali, India.

Created on Feb 28th 2018 03:37. Viewed 725 times.

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