Web Application Security: Top 6 Threats And How To Get Protected

The internet is full of cool designs, apps, and websites. However, it also houses billions of hackers who want a piece of the successful company’s “pie”. Fraudsters hack websites to spread viruses, steal valuable data, publish confidential information, and break into corporate webs. This is why the insufficient security of web applications is fraught with economic, reputational, and other types of risks for owners.

Web Application Security  Top 6 Threats And How To Get Protected

Today we will consider the popular types of threats and how to get protected.

Popular threats for web application

  • Incorrect authentication

    Obtaining personal data or authorizing someone else's accounts is still a common problem.

    Many websites don’t comply with password complexity requirements. For example, when the number of input attempts is not limited. A fraudster can hack an account through a regular brute-force attack on passwords.

    How to be safe:

    1. Use Captcha
    2. Strengthen the quality of passwords and limit the maximum number of attempts to enter.
    3. Prohibit standard and too simple combinations of usernames and passwords. Ensure that the password has at least 8 characters, including uppercase and lowercase characters, letters, and numbers.
  • SQL injection

    Hackers often use input fields to inject grammatically acceptable constructs that violate application logic. This allows malicious code to be injected into applications based on SQL, NoSQL, or LDAP.

    Injections are especially common when the site doesn’t have restrictions on what the user enters in the fields and forms. Malicious code that gets into an application in this way can provide a hacker with access to confidential information or administrator rights.

    How to be safe:

    1. Make sure the output is consistent with your application logic.
    2. Protect input fields. For example, when entering a phone number, the user should be able to enter a limited number of digits only.
    3. Automate the search for vulnerabilities in your code using specialized analysis tools such as Raxis, DeepScan, Gamma, Reshift.
  • Incorrect security setting

    Frameworks, servers, applications themselves can be vulnerable and insecure. The use of unsafe components leads to information theft and widespread attacks.

    How to be safe:

    • Enable standard security settings for servers.
    • Don’t include test credentials or confidential information in final software releases.
    • Don’t include the "Server" and "Version" headers in HTTP responses – hackers can take advantage of this information.
    • Check the "secure" and "httpOnly" checkboxes to increase the security of your cookies.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

    These attacks usually take place in an injection format. The attackers inject a script into the victim's website page, which runs every time you visit the site. One of the simplest examples is when a user clicks on an insecure link, enters his credentials from social media, and falls into the hands of hackers. Most modern browsers analyze site scripts and warn of possible threats.

    How to be safe:

    1. Maintain security and filter input and output on sites.
    2. Turn on browser-level protection.
    3. Install browser updates to keep your security settings up to date.
  • Using components with known vulnerabilities

    It’s not enough to release the code without errors. Attackers can also target software from external publishers that you use.

    Vulnerabilities can be in third-party libraries and frameworks. Hackers are aware of known vulnerabilities in popular libraries. And sometimes vulnerabilities are deliberately inserted into external components.

    How to be safe:

    • Use the latest versions of all external code.
    • Minimize the use of third-party components.
    • Stay tuned for updates on vulnerabilities in the components you use. When such vulnerabilities become known, install the fixes as soon as possible. Even in the absence of patches, you can still protect your systems by implementing security policy updates, as was possible during the WannaCry outbreak.
  • Insufficient monitoring and logging

    A minor incident can be part of a larger attack. Failure to receive and store complete information prevents the identification of potential risks and threats. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate even those incidents that initially seem trivial.

    How to be safe:

    1. Ensure compliance with relevant standards and regulations: GDPR, CCPA, PIPEDA, POPI, LGPD, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and more.
    2. Constantly implement modern security practices.
    3. Strengthen your monitoring.

Checklist of measures to ensure the protection of web applications

llaptop chained and padlocked

  • Install a web firewall (WAF) to protect your site.
  • Conduct regular site security assessments and fix any vulnerabilities found.
  • If possible, do a Whitebox analysis – audit with full access to the application code. Tests should be performed at all stages of the site's development cycle, not just at the last minute before launch.
  • Don't use old versions of servers, operating systems, CMS, or libraries.
  • Update all of these systems regularly and install the latest patches.
  • Record and investigate all attempted attacks and security failures.
  • Use a source code analyzer.

The best solution would be to entrust the development of the site to professionals who, at every stage, verify the security of the web application and discuss it after launch. You can find some on the TechReviewer website.

It is impossible to guarantee 100% security of web applications. But on the other hand, you can minimize risks with the help of a real team of experts and, of course, our advice.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Web Application Security: Top 6 Threats And How To Get Protected