Developers don't just worry about creating web applications but also have to bother about securing them. Considering the constant security risk associated with web applications, developers need to adopt solutions and methods to guide the applications they create.
Web applications are easy to access as users easily open them in multiple browsers without needing installation. Its easy access feature is an asset to organizations and also an opening for securing threats to organizations. Hence the need for web application security.
In this article, we'll explore web application security risks and the best practices that help to prevent them.
What Is Web Application Security?
Web application security includes the application of developers' methods to protect web applications from internet-associated risks. It focuses on securing website applications from cybercrime.
Web app security is concerned with protecting the web apps, user information, and devices connected to the applications.
Application security is creating, integrating, and testing security measures into applications to protect them from threats like illegal access and modification.
What are the top web application security risks
Cybercriminals take advantage of web application vulnerabilities and break into their databases.
Here are some of the top web application security risks;
- Injection flaw
Injection flaws are website flaws that give attackers or hackers a means to send destructive and malicious codes through a specific web application into an unprotected system.
It generally includes the compromise of both systems( mostly the backend) and people connected to the app or using the affected application.
There are various forms of this flaw, and they include;
- SQL Injection
SQL injection is a method attackers use to manipulate user data via web page information by integrating SQL commands.
Scammers use these commands to manipulate the app's web server.
Here are some features of SQL injection
- SQL injection is an injection flaw that uses code injection methods to destroy databases.
- SQL injection is one of the most popular web app security risks.
- SQL injection is the integration of nasty codes in SQL commands.
How to prevent an SQL injection attack
In understanding how to prevent an SQL injection attack, developers and organizations must follow these techniques.
- Perform thorough data sanitization
Aim to create a website system that contextually filters the user's input.
- Patch software regularly
Since SQL injection exposures are constant in commercial software, running continuous updates on the system is crucial.
- Contextually regulate database rights
Organize several database user profiles with a flexible amount of user access to only certain credentials. In simpler terms, restrict specific information to approved users.
- Cross-site scripting (XSS)
It signifies the vulnerability in a web application that permits third parties to impersonate website applications and make processions in users' browsers. Cross-site Scripting is a common vulnerability existing on the web. XSS will lead to several outcomes, like account manipulation or deletion.
- Broken authentication
Broken authentication constantly involves hackers accessing and compromising the passwords and session tokens. This leads to the misuse and abuse of one's user identity and, most times, control over the whole system.
A successful intrusion can result in the hacker getting complete and total access and control over all your data and information on the web application.
For this reason, it comes second on the OWASP's top 10 authentication vulnerabilities scale. It is a very dangerous vulnerability that will lead to identity theft and other criminal offenses.
What are the various ways broken authentication takes place, and what methods of misuse and potential susceptibility exist?
Broken authentication occurs in these situations
- Applications with very weak encryptions are perfect targets for hackers using the broken authentication route. So if you are using such applications, you need to be cautious of hackers.
- Applications that permit weak passwords are also in danger of being victims to broken authentication hackers. So if the web application allows you to use passwords like "123456" or "00000", you will likely fall prey to hackers.
- The areas that need authentication now lack the instruments to enforce adequate protections.
- Sensitive data exposure
This ranks number four on the OWASP authentication vulnerability scale. It should give you an idea of how serious it is.
This security risk is self-explanatory, and it occurs when organizations or managers of web applications unknowingly release sensitive information about their users.
The data exposure will result from poor database security or unsanctioned and inappropriate usage of data systems.
The exposure of data gives hackers the necessary information they need to access the profile of web users and cause damage.
How does sensitive data get exposed?
- Confidentiality Breaches; These breaches occur when there is accidental exposure and access to sensitive information.
- Integrity Breach; it often occurs as a result of unsanctioned alterations of sensitive data of the users of the web application in question.
- Availability Breach; in this situation, there is added destruction after the files get exposed. However, it will be exposed before it gets destroyed.
Note that it is different from a data breach in the sense that data exposure just means that your files or sensitive information have been exposed. In contrast, a data breach involves your private information being tampered with, sold, or stolen.
- Security misconfiguration
Security misconfiguration happens when a web application component is vulnerable to attacks due to poor configuration or misconfiguration. It typically occurs in software subsystems and their elements.
For example, the server for web software might be brought in with a base set that a hacker or cybercriminal will exploit or the software might be filled with sets of instructions and directories that will be easily accessed.
Certain types of attacks can easily exploit your misconfiguration vulnerabilities: code injection, credential stuffing, buffer overflow, and command injections. These attacks can and will attack your system if it suffers from misconfiguration problems.
Best practices to efficiently prevent web application security risk
Developers and programmers want to satisfy and also protect users. Organizations are interested in satisfying their clients and customers. Most users want to enjoy all of the benefits of web apps without compromising the general safety of their information.
Let's see the best practices to employ and ensure developers ensure the complete prevention of web app security risks.
1. Adopt a cybersecurity framework
A cybersecurity framework is simply a set of standards, recommendations, and best practices for controlling threats in the online environment.
Security goals, such as preventing unauthorized system access, are often matched with controls, such as demanding a username and password.
Cybersecurity frameworks protect digital assets from attack using a solid framework's standpoints.
The framework provides security managers with a dependable, organized solution to reduce cyber risk, regardless of how complicated the environment may be.
For businesses that adhere to national, industrial, and international cybersecurity regulations, cybersecurity frameworks are frequently required or, at the very least, strongly encouraged.
2. Ensure That Your Data Is Encrypted
What does data encryption mean?
It involves converting digital data from plain text to ciphertext, which is difficult or impossible to comprehend.
The data is encoded (transformed) using a key or password, a piece of data produced by a cryptographic method and often consists of numbers and letters.
Only someone with the decryption key can read encrypted data and convert it back to readable form. So, while it alone cannot stop cyber threats, it does make the data stored or transferred safe for its adopters who can access or intercept it.
3. Carry out regular vulnerability scans and updates
Known vulnerabilities are flaws that researchers or hackers have discovered. There are thousands of different kinds of software, and hundreds of new vulnerabilities are found each month.
A company's IT or security staff cannot constantly track every vulnerability known to exist and can be used against a strong network.
Because of this, known vulnerabilities frequently go unnoticed by network users and end up being used by attackers.
Vulnerability scans examine particular areas of the network for faults that threat actors are likely to use to gain access or conduct a recognized cyberattack.
When utilized appropriately, they can add a crucial layer of protection to assist and protect the sensitive data belonging to your firm.
A vulnerability scan is a technology that works best when selected wisely and applied correctly, like most cybersecurity components.
Why is web application security important?
Web application security is crucial for safeguarding data, clients, and businesses from data theft.
Here are some essential web applications.
- avoiding loss of crucial data,
- Providing better insight into what security entails
- Retaining a company's prominence and reducing security-related losses, both financial and otherwise.
- Integration of standardized security mechanisms to identify and authenticate data.
- They provide the user with unique identification to ensure the safety of their information.
- Reduces identity theft since users will only change their data profile via valid credentials.
- Ensuring trust since only users with authorized access will view data.
Ensuring web applications are safe for users is a tricky process.
It's no secret that web application risks are in existence. Several cybercriminals are out to scam website users.
However, with the right practices organizations and businesses will effectively protect their customers and clients data.