Web application vulnerabilities have shot to an all-time high; thanks to a volley of sophisticated hacking tools in the hands of cyber cons. These tools have the capability of automatically launching a well-coordinated attack. And the attacks are not limited to a single website; rather they can be launched against multiple vulnerable websites at the same time. Earlier, only large corporate websites were the prospective targets of these malicious hackers. But now, even smaller websites are susceptible to these automated attacks. Thus, it has become a necessity to incorporate web application security solutions irrespective of the size of the company. For your business, the consequence of compromising the website can be devastating.
Here are a few things concerning the security of your website that you should keep in mind:
What Makes a Web Application a Target?
Web applications make it easy for malicious visitors to access a website’s two most vital resources, the database server and the web server. This makes the web applications vulnerable to attacks and exploitation by hackers. A few reasons a web application a prospective target may include:
• High site traffic: If your website is popular, it means that your site’s visits per second are very high. Hacking your website and damaging its performance and availability help your competitors to tarnish your brand image.
• Political and Ideological Differences: Religious and political extremists often attack their opponents’ websites to grab the attention and make a statement.
• Unhappy Employees: Websites or web applications are not always attacked by outsiders. Some attacks are also launched by the employees who sell the inside information to competitors.
What are the Most Common Attacks on Web Applications?
Malicious hackers can attack a web application in several ways, the common being:
• SQL Injection: Hackers can get access to a company’s database through SQL injection. Such attacks help them imitate the identity of a user and alter or destroy data saved in the database. They insert malicious SQL statements into the field forms to gather information from the database. When hackers get access to the database, they can easily modify or delete certain information from the database.
• Cross-site Scripting (XSS): XSS attacks occur when a hacker injects a malicious script into a vulnerable web application. These scripts plant malicious software on visitors’ computer, subsequently hijacking their sessions and stealing their cookies.
• Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS): DDoS attacks make a particular web application temporarily unavailable. A huge number of IP addresses are used to generate requests which flood a site with traffic leaving it incapable of processing and responding to valid requests.
• Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF): Such an attack hijacks trusted user sessions and makes unwanted purchases on the user’s behalf. CSRF attacks trick users to click links or download images that execute unknown and unwanted actions.
How Can You Protect Your Web Application?
These days, different tools and methods are available to cyber security personnel that can be used to protect a website. For every type of attack, there is a solution, and the best approach is to use an on-going process that will protect both you web application and user credentials. Some common protective measures include:
• Code Reviews: These help in identifying vulnerable codes in the development stage.
• Code Scanners: Static and dynamic code scanners automatically check for vulnerabilities.
• Bug Bounty Programs: These programs help professional pen testers to spot bugs in a website.
• CAPTCHA: This helps you to ensure that requests are ‘human-generated,’ and therefore not ‘bot-generated’.
• Web Application Firewall (WAF): It monitors a website’s network and blocks potential attacks.
Your users are sharing sensitive information with the confidence that you will keep them safe and secure. Any leakage of information and their subsequent abuse can completely ruin your brand’s credibility in the market. And THIS is precisely what the hackers want. If you want to avoid such predicaments, adopt web application security solutions and keep your online assets protected from cyber-attacks. This will help in ensuring user satisfactions and maintaining company reputation.