Your web application is your business, your brand, and sometimes your first contact with your potential customer. If it is not safe and secure, critical business relationships can be compromised and your business will end up in obtaining no profits. While there are millions of web application vulnerabilities lurking all over the world, it is very important for an organization to defend their mission-critical online assets.
This article covers the need for web application monitoring and security for the businesses, and how can you secure your online resources from these threats to make sure your business stays always available for your customers.
Why is web application monitoring and its security is important?
An unprotected web application can be a security risk to customer’s private data and to other online businesses operating anywhere in the world. It can allow hackers to spread various malware families, launch flood attacks on other business websites and even pose a threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.
Besides this, a single security breach could be a portent for any business – large or small. Most countries now have a strict data breach laws, and many accompany stiff fines or penalties. Even if a security breach on your organization doesn’t trigger a data breach, it will still have an enormous impact on your client trust if your customers ascertain regarding it.
What are the top web application vulnerabilities?
The web application threats can come in many forms – malwaretising a web application in order to spread that malware to customers, to steal customer’s private information like names, email addresses, credit card details, etc., making it as a part of a botnet and even crashing that web application.
Here are the top and recent web application threats that are most active worldwide and consciously in execution by many malware and botnet authors:
1) Remote File Inclusion (RFI):
Attackers perform Remote File Inclusion (RFI) attack just by including a remote file into an organization’s web application that dynamically executes scripts or runs on an external file in the real-time. The consequences of a successful RFI attack include Remote Code Execution (RCE), where an attacker gets a complete control of the exploited web application and can access the private information.
2) Cross-site Scripting (XSS):
XSS is a regular practice for attackers to target the web applications. It is a client-side code injection attack technique wherein an attacker executes malicious scripts (also normally stated as a malicious payload) into a legitimate website or web application. By performing XSS, an attacker does not target the victim directly. Instead, he/she exploits the vulnerability in a website/web application that a victim is going to visit and then use that vulnerable web application to transfer malicious scripts into the victim’s web browser.
3) Broken Authentication:
The prevalence of broken authentication in a web application is widespread attributable to the planning and implementation of most identity and access controls. Session management is the bedrock of authentication and access controls and is present in all stateful web applications.
As we all know that the attackers already have an access to millions of valid username and password combinations, they can easily detect broken authentication in a web application by using manual means and exploit them using automated brute force, credential stuffing and other dictionary attack tools.
4) SQL Injection (SQLi):
SQL injection is a common web application attack technique that allows hackers to gain access to application’s database – letting them change or delete private user data. Hackers execute SQLi by just tricking a web application into sending unexpected SQL commands. The result of a successful SQLi can range from impersonating a user account to a complete compromise of the respective database or server. Unlike a DDoS attack, an SQLI attack is completely and easily preventable if a web application is appropriately programmed.
5) Cross-site request forgery (CSRF):
How can you monitor and secure your web application?
Lack of web application monitoring can create many opportunities for the attackers to target web applications. Even if a web application is appropriately programmed, there is a chance that the application can still be vulnerable and exposed to latest attacks trends.
According to the latest application security threat report, it was found that more than 80% of applications contain at least one security flaw, with an average of 45 vulnerabilities per application. Where security experts mentioned, “an insecure code has become the leading security risk and, increasingly, the leading business risk”.
As organizations are rapidly adopting the cloud infrastructure and migrating their Web applications and data to the cloud, it is important to think through the security requirements. One of the best possible technique to protect web applications is to deploy network monitoring & security solution or a comprehensive web application firewall (WAF) that supports virtual patching, protects against denial of service (DoS) attacks, Web scraping and has an inbuilt vulnerability scanner. A WAF can be deployed on-premise and/or over the cloud for helping organizations to shield their internet-facing applications as well as the data centers.