Drupal Vulnerability and Drupal Security Best Practices 2022

Updated May 14 2022
Sophie Leah
drupal-security

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Introduction:

What Drupal vulnerability must users guard against? How can they ensure the security and integrity of their sites?

Welcome to our Drupal security review! Drupal is a content management system (CMS) frequently ranked among the world’s top 20. It has quite a following among those who want an open-source alternative to WordPress. But with a marked increase in hacking incidents, it's important to learn how to mitigate Drupal vulnerability and security risks.

Read on to learn more.


Overview:

WordPress has long dominated the CMS scene. It is essentially the world’s favourite CMS development tool or site builder. But, as our review would have it, people have found a viable alternative in Drupal.

However, there has been a recent increase in Drupal vulnerability, hacking incidents and online security breaches happening across the globe. As a result, not even the most savvy Drupal users are exempt from worrying about how to improve the security of their websites. That said, we present the top five Drupal-specific security practices to prevent untoward online incidents, protect user data, and safeguard the overall integrity of sites created with the platform.

Regardless, how long you have been operating the Drupal website, optimising site security can be a challenging task. To stay on top of the ever-changing compliance requirements and ever-evolving security vulnerabilities, partner with the Securi team of experts who specialise in optimising business-critical websites and apps including Drupal site, and can take your site security to the next level.

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Note: While Drupal recently released its Version 9.0, the solutions presented in this article are primarily for Versions 7.0 and 8.0. Nevertheless, knowing these solutions and the related security modules for each will also help those who are running Drupal 9.0.


Five Drupal Security Best Practices

To defend against Drupal vulnerability, here are the top Drupal best security practices you should never take for granted.

Drupal Security Best Practices #1: Ensure that Your Platform and Modules are Up to Date

Anyone who owns a desktop computer or a mobile phone or tablet knows how annoying it is to be reminded to get updates. But, annoying as these reminders may be, they need to be installed and put into place if one wants their device working properly.

It's the same with Drupal and related security or functionality modules. Updates are built with patches – necessary sub-programmes for dealing with any security vulnerabilities affecting the platform. Not updating your builder and modules can – and will – expose your site to a Drupal vulnerability that may give hackers a way in.

In order to update your site, take the necessary Drupal security best practices depending on the Drupal version in use.

Drupal 7.0 onwards

  • Navigate to Reports > Available Updates;
  • Select Check Manually option in order to search for updates;
  • Click on the relevant updates to install.

Drupal 8.0 onwards

  • Navigate to Reports > Available Updates;
  • Select Check Manually option in order to search for updates;
  • Click on the relevant updates to install.

In the case of Drupal 8 vulnerabilities,  users can configure the system to monitor incoming requests. Only those compliant with the stipulated rules to be filtered in are allowed.

For this Drupal security review, we recommend that you install Drupal modules or themes straight from the official Drupal repository/applications portal. You can also install from trusted third-party developers to prevent any conflicts with the platform's security protocols.


Drupal Security Best Practices #2: Back Up Your Website on a Regular Basis

In this Drupal security review, a basic Drupal security check is that you need to have a backup version of your website. This Drupal security best practices is one of the most important “housekeeping” tasks for any site owner, sysop, or IT team. For one thing, it makes it a whole lot easier to restore your site in the event that someone hacks into it or hijacks it; for another, it allows for continuity regardless of untoward incidents.

In any case, your backup files should include all the key elements that keep your site in working order, including Drupal core programmes and module files. Having these backed up helps you get your site up and running again in less time.

How to back up your website

A number of hosting platforms include a plethora of backup solutions for those availing of managed Drupal hosting. These include automated backups done on a regular basis (either daily or weekly) or manual one-click backup and restoration.

You can also ensure that you have at least one version of your site thru staging tools and dedicated staging environments. This way, you can call that version up in case the existing one gets compromised. These virtual sandboxes aren't just a way of testing whether or not your site's features work before it goes live, but it also allows you to keep a recent and fairly complete version of it as a backup.

For this Drupal security review, note that Drupal 8.0 and 9.0 already have a free Backup and Migration module already built into them. Among its features are the ability to backup and restore MySQL databases, codes, and the site's full file directory, as well as a way by which to easily identify individual files. Both versions of the Drupal platform also include an easy-to-use file management system and solutions for backing data up to FTP, email, or Node Squirrel.


Drupal Security Best Practices #3: Be Username and Password Savvy

Another crucial Drupal vulnerability is weak passwords. These days, you can't rely on short and cute username and password combinations. Yes, they may be easy to remember, but they can also be easy to hack into. Weak passwords and usernames account for more than 75% of all cyberattacks on corporate or industrial networks.

That said, your username needs to be absolutely unique. It should be one that even a most seasoned cybercriminals can't predict. Also, Drupal's own security team recommends that users create complex passwords to ensure that their credentials cannot easily be replicated by an external party.

Regardless of which version of Drupal you're using, you can change your administrator username and password by clicking on MyAccount > Edit in the dashboard. This opens a window where you can change and save your account settings.

To beef up your Drupal security check, you may also consider using a free password generator. These can be downloaded from a number of reputable tech sites.


Drupal Security Best Practices #4: Download and Install Drupal's Official Security Modules

In this Drupal security review, let's go to another Drupal vulnerability: hacking attempts. Drupal 8 Security modules were created to prevent hacking attempts. They will enable you to investigate potentially malicious networks, check your site's rate limit, and block threats to its security. Additionally, they help implement complex passwords, put a firewall in place against more common external threats, scan for vulnerabilities, and even show you whether any of your site files have been altered.

In particular, Pro Drupal users highly recommend installing these Drupal security modules:

Login Security Module

This Drupal security check module helps restrain the number of login attempts and intercepts suspicious access. The module allows site owners or managers to limit access only to certain IP addresses or to temporarily or permanently block specific/suspicious IP addresses. You can even configure this module to send you notifications in the event of a brute-force entry attempt. For all current Drupal versions, the installation process for this module is as follows:

  • Download the module from the above-mentioned link.
  • Extract it to the folder: sites/all/modules/contrib (contrib is a subfolder that is used to store third-party modules)
  • Go to Modules> Install a module. A new page will open up.

Password Security Module

This Drupal security check module is for configuring user password policies (downloadable from the Drupal website);

CAPTCHA Module

An enhancement that separates legitimate [human-initiated] login attempts from those automatically prompted by bots. The module may be downloaded from Drupal or you can use Google's ReCaptcha module.

Drupal Security Review Module

Used to audit website security for sites created with the platform. It intuitively points out whether or not the user needs to change its security settings. This Drupal security check is a handy tool for making security risk assessments for a number of issues, including arbitrary code execution, XSS, and database errors among others;

Update Manager Module

Informs you about available updates for Drupal, themes, and trusted third-party applications. Specifically, you can customise this Drupal security check in terms of frequency in receiving updates. You can also get it from the official Drupal home site;

Duo Two-factor Authentication Module

Doubles your site's login defences by restricting false authentication, ensuring that only valid users can get into the Drupal site management panel;

Paranoia

A security module that evaluates and blocks PHPs via the Drupal interface. It essentially mitigates the PHP SQLi vulnerability in any site built with the platform. This Drupal security check keeps hackers from getting higher access privileges to the site by impairing the following:

  • Allowing unknown users to have the “Use PHP for block visibility” privilege;
  • Creation of input formats using a PHP filter;
  • Any external editing to the main; and
  • Authorisation of highly suspect permissions.

Drupal Security Best Practices #5: Configure Your Backend to Block Malicious Bots

As one's Drupal site grows, you can expect Drupal vulnerability to grow as well. Malicious bot traffic can attack your site and seriously drain your bandwidth.

While practically all of the abovementioned solutions can help keep this threat at bay, more tech-savvy users can also configure the platform at the server level.  You can do this Drupal security check by inserting specific codes into the *.htaccess file.


Conclusion and Recommendations:

To wrap our Drupal security review;

We've presented the top five Drupal 8 security best practices in this article. Remember to execute these best practices to mitigate the most common Drupal vulnerability and security risks. If you do, then you can rest easy that your Drupal website is fully secure from attacks.

Again, if you are finding hat optimising the site security too challenging then it is best to partner with Securi who specialise in optimising business-critical websites and apps including Drupal site taking your site security to the next level.

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FAQs:

Is Drupal a popular CMS?

It may not be as widely known as WordPress, but Drupal is in resurgence. The open-source nature of these development tools enables users and site owners to throw in or build up everything they may want or need to amp up the working features of their websites, thus creating a more meaningful (and impactful) user experience to their patrons, clients, or followers.

Should I be worried about Drupal vulnerability?

Drupal is one of the most secure CMSs around today, but you still need to watch out for security risks and vulnerabilities. It's important to learn the basics of mitigating attacks - starting with the best practices against Drupal vulnerability.


That's all for now:

If you've read all the way through this best Drupal security review, we are thankful. We hope you can now answer the question of what Drupal vulnerability to expect and what security practices you should implement! We have a large collection of articles, guides, and comparison reviews of eCommerce solutions, web hosting providers, website builders, and more! Feel free to check them out;

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