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