By: Taru M.
11 Apr, 2022
How often do you scan your business’s web application security? Do you think that your web application security is foolproof? If you go through recent cyber security threats and crimes worldwide, you must reconsider your security systems.
The efforts you are putting into web application security might not be enough. The best thing could be to hire a leading web application development company that can take care of your web app security and other quintessential things!
This article will shed light on web application security – the possible threats and the best web application security practices you should follow.
The Nasdaq report says that the number of businesses that became the victims of data breaches in 2021 was 17% higher than data breaches in 2020 by 17%. It means cyber-crimes are increasing rapidly.
And so far this year, nearly 281.5 million people have already been affected by some data breaches.
These statistics highlight the need to adopt organizations’ and individuals’ best web application security practices.
Web App Understanding
A web app is application software that runs on a web server and is accessed by a user through any web browser and active internet connection.
These applications are programmed in a client-server modelled structure—where the user (“client”) is provided services through an off-site server hosted by a third party.
Web-mail, e-retail sales, and e-banking are some of the commonly-used web applications.
Web application security has eventually become a concern for individuals and businesses worldwide.
With the rise of our dependency on the Internet of things, cybercriminals take advantage of the loose ends. These web apps are easy targets for hackers since they provide access to a large customer base allowing faster malicious code spread.
Since security breaches on such web apps have become frequent because they can involve both enterprise information and private customer data, building security into these web apps right from the beginning is a must.
There are many common flaws that knowingly or unknowingly bring in web application security. Here is the list of security threats your web application is vulnerable to –
1. Injection: Hackers use the injection process to attack your web application security by sending a SQL query to the server. Different kinds of injections are used like SQL, NoSQL, LDAP, OS, and others, but SQL queries are the most common target of mal-intent.
Hackers send unfiltered data through the SQL query and quickly access all sensitive application data. Now they have access to perform and make changes as admin also access the user’s private information like personal info, account details, credit cards, passwords, and more.
2. Broken Authentication: The process for verifying a user’s identity with credentials like passwords, biometric data, or others is known as Authentication. Broken Authentication means when your web application security has weaknesses and allows hackers to exploit users’ identities.
Weak passwords, insufficient protection of users’ data and session ID URL can give hackers a chance to enter the system and misuse it.
3. Exposure to Sensitive Data: User’s sensitive data such as contact numbers, account information, address, credit/debit card number, and some Web Application Security breaches can reveal more.
Though no web app or website can be 100 per cent safe, hence popular WordPress website building platform also takes security seriously. WordPress makes it easy to enable an SSL certificate and send out regular updates and information regarding security practices.
For making high performing secure web apps, explore how to use firebase to host your flutter web app.
4. XML External Entities (XXE): XML is one of the most dangerous threats where hackers attack those web applications that process XML input. Sometimes, we ought to use old or poorly configured XML processors, which becomes a reason for your server’s vulnerability to hackers.
These cyber hackers access your web apps’ back-end and external systems for executing server-side request forgery (SSRF).
5. Broken Access Control: Broken access control is a loophole left in the web application development process in user access terms. Now the developers with malicious intentions misuse such loopholes and connect to other user accounts, change or delete the information, view sensitive data and etcetera.
6. Security Misconfiguration: Many web application security configurations are not set completely, giving security misconfiguration. This is the most common vulnerability issue in web application security due to the lack of security control implementation.
Incomplete configurations, unencrypted files, unnecessary running services, and more are examples of security misconfiguration. This malfunction in the security setup can lead to grave data breaches that tarnish the company’s reputation and lead to financial loss.
7. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Cross-site scripting is a flaw that leads to hackers performing malicious scripts in the user’s browser. These scriptings are executed through the inserted link. When a user clicks the link, the attacker wins access to essential functionalities like web camera, location, etcetera. And hijack the session. The hacker can redirect the user to dangerous websites and so much more.
8. Insecure Deserialization: Insecure deserialization is another severe flaw in web application security vulnerability in which an attacker inserts harmful objects into a web application. Then it causes denial-of-service (DoS) attacks and remote code execution attacks, SQL injections, Path Traversal, and Authentication Bypasses.
Untrusted data causes damage to web applications by remotely executing harmful codes, bypassing Authentication, and altering app logic.
9. Using Components With Known Vulnerabilities: When web applications are complex, it becomes more challenging to spot vulnerabilities in web application security. Modern web application development services rely more on pre-built frameworks, libraries, APIs, etcetera, consisting of other elements that quickly become a hacking target.
10. Insufficient Logging and Monitoring: When you are not monitoring your web application frequently, it makes attackers stay undetected, and they can carry on their hacking. Such vulnerability is the most common reason to understand why companies cannot resolve data breaches. Insufficient logging and monitoring may result in further penetrations into the system and massive losses.
Security loopholes make your web applications prone to cyber threats. Avoid the common security flaws we have mentioned with you.
Sharing the best web app security practices with you.
1. Web Application Security Plan: We may follow the standard web application security practices without a proper plan and dedicated resources for web application security.
Everyone has their way to deal with an issue. Document your web app security manual – include your methods of procedure, troubleshooting processes, what works for you, and others.
2. HTTPS usage: Make it a habit to use encrypting for almost everything. Let me tell you the difference between HTTP and HTTPS, just in case you need to know.
HTTP means Hypertext Transfer Protocol – it is the standard protocol often used in website development services.
A protocol can be understood as a conversation between web clients and servers that involves constant requests and responses across the Worldwide Web (WWW).
Now, HTTPS means Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure is the secure version of HTTP designed to provide an enhanced layer of security. HTTPS is used mainly to secure sensitive data and transactions, which is not possible with an unsecured HTTP protocol.
It is advised for all websites with confidential data to use HTTPS.
3. Secure Coding Practices: Secure coding practices to keep your program/web application safe. The web app developer should make sure the program runs perfectly and ensure the web application security practices right through the development of the web app.
Secure Coding Practices: Secure coding practices to keep your program/web application safe. The web app developer should make sure the program runs perfectly and ensure the web application security practices right through the development of the web app.
Generally, developers and coders become immersed in web app development services and overlook a higher priority: Web application security. But we have compiled a web application checklist you must follow for a safe web app.
Here’s the Web application security checklist
4. Enforce fewer permissions: It is one of the best practices, where “the practice of limiting the access rights for users to the basic permissions needed to perform the necessary task. By restricting the permissions to users, you will be able to protect your web app from various malware attacks.
5. Security Functions Automated: It might get difficult for you to secure your web applications entirely correctly. And checking all the functions and different parts of apps now and then. The best way to do it is to automate the security functions at every step.
The best way is to do automation, and testing goes hand in hand. But keep them separately for better handling. There are other security functions also that web developer uses with their web applications.
6. Testing at every step: The primary attention is on penetration testing. Aggressive testing is required to ensure that your web applications are safe. Constant and thorough testing keeps the hackers away from your applications.
7. Inspecting the incoming traffic to your web app: Your web app is your area; hence you must have complete authority to check the traffic visiting your web application. Make necessary rules and determine the type of traffic you want to permit on your web app.
Monitoring live traffic isn’t easy; hence you need to fix a web application firewall (WAF) that will inspect and filter the web app data.
A web application firewall (WAF) is an application firewall for HTTP applications. It will help you cover common attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection.
Hence, set up your firewall to detect unwanted and suspicious traffic and block it immediately. A firewall is a must if your web app has critical finance or government regulations data!
8. Focus on Key Threats: Our web app, project and software are open to millions of potential threats. We can’t learn to keep ourselves protected from all of them. The right way to handle your web application security is to focus on critical threats.
Ensure that you are using the latest firewalls and antivirus software.
Half of your work focuses on the main security threats that mostly attack.
9. Web Servers: When you have secured each component in your network infrastructure and the application itself, you should now focus on the web servers’ security status and update the patches – Windows, Unix, or Linux servers.
Also, never compromise with the hosting; always go for a secure hosting service.
10. Explore New Risks: Not every time ignorance can stand bliss in web application security. Hackers and cybercriminals are brilliant, and we need to be more intelligent. Hence stay abreast of the latest vulnerabilities to protect your projects.
Every week there are the latest online threats, and if you explore the web, there are solutions to keep your web applications safe from them.
We have shared the best practices with you for securing your web app. But you must understand that web application security is not something that you do once and get away with; instead, it is a continuous process.
Hence, monitoring your web app traffic, security firewalls, all third-party plugins, session management, admin panel, and almost every aspect of your web app should be constantly watched by a dedicated web apps security team.
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