Knowing if your forms are secure is a tricky one. Do you know if your front door is secure? If you locked it, if you added chains, if you added an alarm system, then it is pretty secure. If you left it unlocked and ajar, then it probably isn’t that safe.
You can make your web forms more secure, or you can leave them wide open. The problems arise when you leave them wide open without really knowing you have left them vulnerable. Here are a few things to consider if you are looking for more secure web forms.
Have a Security Tester Try to Break Them
Ideally, a hacker wants to harvest information from your forms. They are not looking to break your form, they are looking for ways to draw information from your forms. This is actually far trickier than simply breaking your forms or taking control of them. You could hire a security tester to try to break your forms and/or to try and harvest information from them.
Have You Added Security?
There are things you can do to make your forms more secure, just like how you can make your front door more secure. A common method is to have the form encrypt the information before sending it.
If your receiving program has the decryption key, then you can see the information, but a hacker has to both steal the information and then decrypt it (which is time-consuming and expensive). Here are a few common security features:
This is where you have people fill out the form and complete a puzzle to show they are not spamming bots. Spammers are annoying, and a focused attack can break your form.
There are several ways these may catch spam bots. The most common is where they have hidden tick boxes that robots will tick, but that humans can’t see and so won’t tick.
This is a common encryption method. This method of encryption is commonly used for sending information through web browsers. Securing a website with SSL is often where forms’ security ends.
The short answer is that it creates encrypted content that takes a lot of effort, time, and money to decrypt. As mentioned earlier, it may not help secure the information as it is typed in, but it helps keep it safe as it travels on the Internet.
Doing this and having people sign up for accounts gives you more information on the users. It means you have more tools at your disposal to help you weed out the hackers and such. Sadly, fewer website visitors are willing to sign up for accounts, especially if they are not invested in what you are offering or selling.
- Have Somebody Check the Code
If you are not a programmer yourself, then have somebody else check the code. You are looking for nice clean code with no hidden elements. A clever way of hiding code is to slot it in between copied and pasted content.
If there is a lot of extraneous code in the web form, then this suggests that either the original developer did a poor job, or it suggests there are holes in the program that others (including the original developer) can exploit.
Do have somebody check for hidden fields and such but remember that some hidden fields are used for security themselves, so find a programmer who understands the nuances of form security.
If you are unsure, then have another person check the code, there are plenty of qualified developers on freelance websites who can do security checkups for your web forms. Just be careful not to give them full access to your website or you may never see it again.
If you are looking for more control over your forms so that you can determine (firsthand) if your forms are secure, then look into the Headless Forms system. You can get more info here if you are interested.
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