Web application security encompasses the processes, technologies and methods to protect websites, web servers, web applications, and web services from external threats and internet-based attacks. Content management systems, APIs, and SaaS applications are examples of common attack targets.
Web-based applications are targeted because they can contain complex source code that can be hijacked with improper inputs and are externally available. These injection type flaws allow attackers to input malicious code to reconfigure and manipulate the application, creating unexpected crashes or unintended outcomes that can provide a foothold for criminals to access sensitive data.
Cyberattacks against web applications can be easily automated and can be executed against thousands of targets simultaneously. The goal is to override, overwhelm, or crash web applications. Organizations that don’t take proper security precautions risk data theft, compliance penalties, and a ruined reputation.
Uncovering these unknown web app weaknesses starts with a reliable and accurate web application scanning solution. Web application scanners must include an easy-to-deploy system, dynamic web app testing results, accurate scanning with minimal resource usage, and unquestionable accuracy. A solution that’s too complicated to configure and doesn’t return accurate results will not be a benefit to an IT team.
While there is a near endless amount of security risks the emerge and evolve, it’s not efficient or realistic to focus on every single one separately. Just like law enforcement’s most wanted list, the OWASP Top Ten keep track of which security risks are the most likely to be exploited and then building a security plan around them is the best way to begin your security plan.
Fraud and identity theft are often the result of a financial or healthcare institution being breached. To prevent confidential data exposure, security measures should require strong authentication, encryption, controlled log-ins, and the proper deletion of data to limit any exposure.
When authentication is improperly enforced, attackers are able to steal passwords, tokens, and pose as a user and gain access to a company’s data. Denying weak passwords and employing a multi-factor authenticator in your security protocol are important measures in protecting against authentication being compromised.
Insufficient access regulations can leave weak points in your access controls. Cybercriminals can gain access to your data and take advantage of these cracks in your security.
Creating deserialization insecurities, remote code execution and code activated from an external attack are deployed. This vulnerability allows escalated attacks, like code injection, to be carried out.
A web application that is untrusted and delivers data from a web browser is a cross-site scripting attack. It doesn’t have secure validation and hijacks the user’s browser session, alters websites, and sends users to malicious websites.
Easy to overlook and hard to believe it happens, but web security misconfigurations are a frequent web application vulnerability. Incomplete web security setup and unsafe public cloud storage are common errors leading to security access.
How do you know if an attack has happened or where an attack occurred, if your monitoring and logging records aren’t correct? Without those records, a company can be left in the dark about whether a breach was exploited and even what data was exposed or stolen.
Using software or web applications that aren’t updated regularly or have known vulnerabilities can enable cybercriminals get through your security. Cyberattacks are always evolving, but not staying up to date on the latest patches, software versions, and any other updateable cybersecurity options may be leaving known, already exploited weaknesses unfixed.
There are steps any company can take to help secure their assets. These best security practices can sometimes be overlooked because of their simplicity or inexperience within a cybersecurity team.
Knowing when software changes is a crucial part of security planning. Depending on the depth of web app features, keeping track of changes can become overwhelming, quickly. Keeping documented changes can help backtrack and find weaknesses that may have been added to the system.
There are known entry points that are commonly used for cybercriminals to exploit. Dividing these known, exploitable sections into critical, elevated, and normal levels can help adjust the security monitoring based on how likely they are used to create a breach.
A web application firewall (WAF) filters internet traffic between a server and a user. Firewalls are incredibly popular to protect entry points in a company’s network, analyzing traffic and preventing malicious activity. WAF doesn’t require source code changes, they just add another layer of protection, making it easy and convenient.
Standard HTTPS and HSTS encryption is good, but, SSL encryption is better. Encrypting all user data that’s sent and received while utilizing HTTPS makes man-in-the-middle attacks next to impossible, securing access to your server.
One of the best ways to use advanced security measures, pen testing lets you find vulnerabilities efficiently. Using multiple techniques, pen testing should be the basis for a pre-emptive security check and it can be used post-attack to help locate the vulnerability that may have been the cause of a breach.
Keeping your company web apps secure is top-of-mind, but any third-party providers associated with that can contain known/unknown vulnerabilities. Log any changes and updates to them and always update to the newest version available to help prevent leaving any breaches open.
Cookies help get more information from web users, however, they can be an entry point for cybercriminals. Maintaining an expiration date, minimizing shared information, and encrypting are key features to make it harder for an attacker to use them against an organization.
Keeping a constant eye on your network is a must. The longer a breach is exposed, the more damage can be done. Monitoring for malicious activity and scanning for known and unknown security holes is essential to cybersecurity efforts. Time is of the essence with cyber threats. Quickly find weaknesses and stop sensitive data theft in real time.
Human error is one of the biggest threats for a security strategy. Education can help minimize bad social actors from phishing or social engineering employees into giving away credentials or permissions. Creating an employee security training guide, with regular updates, can help them recognize when they’re being manipulated by a criminal.
Make sure employees and outside contractors have the right access. Create a security plan that has levels of security and permission clearance credentials so if they’re stolen, cybercriminals can only go so far within the network and don’t have full access.
Dynamic application security testing is a guided attack on an application’s source code using a variety of coding and injection attacks. This attack is done prior to deployment to test known aspects of an application.
Web application pen testing is when a security teams tries to breach a web application attack surface area with the same methods that a cybercriminal would. Pen testing is used prior to an attack to locate vulnerabilities and post-attack to find where the attackers got into a system.
A web application firewall (WAF) filters, blocks, and monitors HTTP web traffic. It allows non-malicious traffic to proceed as normal and prevents criminal web traffic from reaching a webpage or application. This is implemented while a website is active to create a traffic shield.
Easy to conduct dynamic testing with accurate assessment results, no matter how often your web apps change.
Dynamic application security testing (DAST) with a black box fuzzing option to test with the same techniques an attacker would.
Guided, controlled static application security testing utilized during the developmental lifecycle prior to app deployment.