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19 Sep 2019

7 Tips on How to Secure your Web Applications

In recent years, the cyber-attacks have become rampant across computer systems, networks, websites and have been most widely attacking enterprises’ core business web applications, causing shock waves across the IT world.

These attacks can cause theft of critical data, attack networks thus reducing access to the websites or even disrupt and paralyze systems performance by restricting their access to users

Hence, enterprises’ CXOs across the globe continue to feel the pressure due to these web application security breaches occurring more frequently. These attacks cause a lot of fraudulent activities as web applications are publicly available and are more susceptible to attacks. There are various cyber-security attacks that commonly affect web applications

In a recent cyber-attack, earlier this month, Wikipedia went offline following a DDoS attack. These attacks continue to grow and are happening more frequently

Some of the most common Web Application Security Attacks include:

– SQL Injection

– Path Traversal

– Cross-site Scripting

– Local File Inclusion

– Broken Authentication

– Misconfigured Web Servers

– Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Losses Caused due to Cyber-Security Breaches:

– Loss of critical business and customer data might lead to many adversaries

– Theft of corporate information might cause a huge impact on organizations

– At times theft of financial information might even cause economic loss to companies

– Hefty cost is incurred for repairing affected systems, networks and servers

– Major websites when hacked becomes inaccessible for end-users

– Legal complications might also occur due to cyber-attacks especially with GDPR in place for organizations in the UK and EU

How to Secure your Web Applications?

 

Enterprises can avoid such Cyber-Attacks. Listed below are 7 Tips on How to Secure your Web Applications

 

1. Use Web Application Firewalls:

Post application’s market launch, Web Application Firewalls (WAF) can be used to safeguard them from cyber-attacks. However, using WAF helps to protect against threats coming from web traffic usually within HTTP or HTTPS traffic. Some of the most common features of WAF include:

– Application attack detection
– Supports common protocols
– Contains logic and object formats
– Supports HTTP and HTTPS by enabling SSL termination
– Shows virtual patching

Moreover, effective WAPs are capable of detecting any malicious attacks and protect web applications from security risks

2. Adopt New Technologies for Application Security:

Whenever changes are made to the application with releases, the latest technology Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) is an effective option to be used. This approach helps to reduce human intervention and safeguard web applications from threats

3. Monitor Security of Apps in Production:

As soon as the apps are released into production, it is necessary to evaluate the behavior of the application to know the traffic patterns of users. If any suspicious activity of either high traffic or low traffic is observed, then it might be due to the influence of any possible malicious attack. More importantly, if your application generates any logs, then regular checks should be made to ensure there are no cyber-attacks in the app.

4. Use Container Firewalls:

Specific Container firewalls are used to inspect traffic within the container and help to protect the application from attacks that arise internally. Some of the components of these container firewalls are:

– Application intelligence
– Cloud-native
– Whitelist and Blacklist based regulations
– Integration and management with containers
– Compatibility with CICD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Development)

Thus, using container firewall ensures to inspect intrusions in all traffic within and outside the container

5. Conduct Periodic Maturity Assessments of Application Security Processes:

There are certain tools offered by Open Web Security Project (OWASP) which should be used to assess the Software Assurance Maturity Model. These tools help to deliver a comprehensive check for testing the security of your web applications and ensures that no vulnerabilities are left during the testing process

6. Prioritize Remediation Based on Severity:

Whenever a security vulnerability is identified, prioritization of its remediation should be taken up quickly. Based on the severity of vulnerabilities, they should be fixed within a specified time frame such that business risk is minimized

 application security testing

7. Prepare Incident Response and Recovery Plan:

Enterprises should be prepared for web application security breaches and hence should plan ahead to handle them. The various phases of the Incident Response Plan include Identification, Containment, Eradication, Recovery and Post Incident Activity.

-> The initial Identification phase should include finding out all security breaches such as XSS attack, LDAP injection, failure to restrict URL access, SQL injection attack or OS command injections

-> The Containment phase includes steps to mitigate the impact of incidents on various targeted environments

-> Disaster recovery plans should be effectively made in the Eradication phase to replace the hacked or defaced page with a clean page and use anti-virus tools, change passwords (if any) or uninstall OS as per need. This Eradication phase is a priority and if the application is made available to the end-users without eradicating various threats, then it might also affect the brand, customer loyalty and cause significant economic losses

Conclusion:

Enterprises should take measures to mitigate cyber-attacks by adopting proper measures such as protecting the systems with anti-virus, time-to-time OS updations, configuring firewalls to allow only specific trusted ports and hosts that are required along using password protection

It is critical to follow a cyber-security incident response plan and risk management plan to overcome cyber threats and vulnerabilities

Evidently, CXOs need to leverage web application security testing and penetration testing to overcome the possible attacks on their business applications and systems

Connect to our security testing experts or email us at [email protected] for a quick security evaluation of your business application/system

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