The Importance of Securing Your Web Applications

May 16, 2016 in Cyber Attacks

Over one billion websites exist today. With an excess of websites to choose from, we hear many people ask, why did my site get hacked? How did it get hacked? What damage has been done? While there are various reasons and ways a cybercriminal could have hacked your site, there is a very good chance (80% to be exact) they were after your web applications. Web applications account for 80% of website vulnerabilities, making them a very attractive target to cybercriminals.

Web applications contain valuable data, such as customer information, financial data and intellectual property…all very tempting data to cybercriminals. Aside from the information they can access, web applications have certain traits that intrigue attackers.

Web Application Features

1. Ubiquity – Web applications are everywhere and are accessible to cybercriminals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Low-Profile – Since everything is digital, stealthy cybercriminals can anonymously perform attacks without being traced.

3. Code – Web developers often create custom code for web applications. These custom applications may not be adequately secured, making matters easier for the attacker.

4. Money – Many cybercriminals are motivated by money. When they access and steal the data stored in your web applications, they can sell it on the black market.

5. Vulnerabilities – When web applications are left unsecured, they are vulnerable to attack. There are common web application attacks that hackers use time after time. The OWASP Top 10 provides a list of the 10 most prevalent and critical web application flaws. We’ll discuss a few of these flaws below.

Web Application Flaws

Injection flaws top the OWASP Top 10 list, with SQL injection listed as one of the most common. SQL injection occurs when untrusted data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. By using a SQL injection attack, a hacker can bypass a web application’s authentication and gather information from an entire database. SQL injection can also be used to add, modify and delete records in a database.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is another common flaw that affects web applications. An attacker uses XSS to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by others. The attacker can use XSS to control a web browser and/or modify how content is displayed on a site.

Sensitive Data Exposure vulnerabilities occur when web applications are not properly protected. When an application is not protected, an attacker can access passwords, payment card information and authentication credentials.

Web Application Protection

Securing your web applications and protecting your data can be relatively easy. A web application firewall (WAF) is an advanced layer of protection for your website that provides protection against the OWASP Top 10 web application flaws. A WAF evaluates website traffic and determines who is and is not allowed to access a site. It looks at the traffic’s location, behavior and the information it is requesting. From there, it determines whether the traffic is safe or malicious.

Want to learn more about protecting your web applications? Visit our website.

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