Read this blog post to gain more insights on common Web Application Security Best practices.
As a website owner, you might have known the importance of online security. Cyber attacks have always remained a threat to enterprises, employees, and customers. Intruders can deploy a cyber attack campaign to gain access or erase sensitive data from secure servers of organizations. Maverik hackers can even sell highly confidential data of government agencies such as nuclear launch codes to the dark web or can do something much more threatening.
When your business encounters a cyber attack, your sensitive data that serves as a backbone for your business can be compromised; some malware can even ask you to pay a hefty amount in order to release your data. We have seen these kinds of attacks in the past in the form of a ransomware crypto worm that caused worldwide panic and data loss. The best defence to protect against these attacks is to follow strong security practices and by building a strong cyber security system for your web app that can protect your critical data.
Smaller and medium-sized enterprises are often a soft target for hackers as their servers and web applications have more flaws in its architecture. Before we go further, it’s essential to know the various types of cyber security. We have listed all of them below.
Application Security: It refers to a set of security practices that are involved in the development of an application, also not limited to firewalls, antivirus programs, security patches, and encryption to protect applications once they are deployed.
Cloud Security: It refers to technologies that work together to eliminate risks that are associated with cloud-based systems, and infrastructure.
Information Security: It involves tools and processes mainly involved to secure critical information of your business from intrusion, damage, and modification.
Network Security: It involves the prevention of security breaches that target the network and data. Effective network security prevents malware from intruding or spreading on your network.
This blog discusses the top 5 Web Application Security Best practices that will help you to protect your web application against dangerous malware. This post will give you enough insights to maintain cyber hygiene, and recommendations to identify and mitigate threats before they attack your web applications.
What are common web application security breaches?
Intrusions against web applications can range from database intrusions to disrupting large-scale networks. Let’s dig into some of the common ways of attack that are usually used by hackers, we will also drill down the ways to prevent it.
- SQL Injection
SQL Injection is a common method used by hackers to modify or destroy sensitive information, gain access to user permissions, or otherwise send a malicious payload to the server. Intruders exploit the flaws in the way a DB executes search queries by injecting specific SQL queries into an input field. This will allow the intruder to execute commands that can cause damage, retrieval or removal of data from the database.
Virtually any intruder that knows SQL Injection can steal the identity of a user who is having access to a specific database. In the worst-case scenario, SQL injection enables malicious codes to gain root access to your machine.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS)
- Denial-of-service (DoS)
Through a variety of vectors, attackers are able to overload a targeted server or its surrounding infrastructure with different types of attack traffic. When a server is no longer able to effectively process incoming requests, it begins to behave sluggishly and eventually deny service to incoming requests from legitimate users.
- Sensitive Data Exposure
This web security vulnerability occurs when you unintentionally expose your company’s sensitive data on your website or web application. Sensitive information can range from your Social Security Number to credit card information. You should not confuse Sensitive Data Exposure with a Data Breach. A Data Breach occurs when an intruder steals information whereas Sensitive data exposure is a result of a failure in protecting your database where critical and sensitive information is stored. Sensitive Data Exposure can be easily mitigated by encrypting your sensitive data, especially when your web application is using credit card information.
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attack occurs when an intruder uses a link that redirects to a malicious website in the form of a button that is meant to perform an action on your web application; by gaining access to the account and permissions of a user, (by hijacking your session/cookies) intruders will get the authorization to deploy a request pretending as the user.
CSRF can be prevented by storing a challenge token in a hidden value that can’t be accessed from any third party site.
1.1 Deploy a web application firewall
A Web Application Firewall is the Swiss Army Knife of the cyber world and is considered as the first line of defence against malicious attacks that cause serious damage to your web application. A WAF protects your web application by closely monitoring the traffic that goes between the internet and the web application. WAF provides complete shielding from malicious security attacks such as SQL Injection, session hijacking, distributed denial of service attacks, cookie poisoning and many others.
1.2 Implement through security practices in the SDLC process
In order to make your web application less vulnerable to security threats and breaches, you must implement through security practices in the SDLC process of your web application which includes planning, development, and testing phases. Adopting threat monitoring protocols in your software development life cycle will enable your web app to dodge many of the security threats that we mentioned above. Appointing a dedicated team of well-trained cybersecurity specialists in your web app development project will also be a great idea if you are planning to build a solid web application that doesn’t compromise in security.
1.3 Secure your Infrastructure
The data from your web application is transported to the users via network infrastructure. A compromised infrastructure can bring in a host of malicious attacks such as turbo worms, Denial-of-service attacks, and viruses to your web application. By adopting security functionalities within your network infrastructures, such as Authentication/Authorization/Accounting (AAA) services, device counters, SNMP, routing protocols, and SYSLOG, you can eliminate the security vulnerabilities that can both target your web application and network. Although IaaS providers such as AWS or Azure already boast advanced security features you should carefully examine their offerings in terms of security as well as their policies and guarantees of these security services.
1.4 Always encrypt sensitive data
For your web application to stay secure at all times, you must always encrypt sensitive data. Let’s say you are running an e-commerce website. If you build your e-commerce website without encrypting your user’s passwords and credit card information, you can possibly face expensive data and can even invite regulatory penalties. If you are interested in developing a secure online store for your e-commerce business, take a quick look at our custom e-commerce development services to see how we develop secure and dynamic e-commerce websites for our clients.
1.5 Stay up-to-date
You should always keep track of the new updates that are related to new security vulnerabilities. Apart from that, ensure that you are using the latest versions of the software and the operating system and must also update it to its latest security release as they become available.
We hope that we have managed to deliver you with a healthy dose of information about common web application security, top 5 web application security best practices, and the most reliable methods to mitigate these attacks.
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