Thursday, September 19, 2019

How to Mitigate Web Application Vulnerabilities and Enhance Security

Web applications continue to be a must in business development secondary to many factors. Mostly because the simplicity and ease of applications are already used across the net in every fashion from banking to email and most communication or content platforms.

This immediate satisfaction and simplicity is just the standard. Anything that is a little labored or is not the well oiled machines that web applications present will be kicked to the curb instantaneously.

The problem with this canned development that most application developers have been using for years continues to have the same security flaws. These vulnerabilities still linger around and are well known to the dark side.

The OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), listed top 10 security risks to web applications in 2017 but the interesting thing about this list is 6 of these security risks are still on the list from 2013. This proves that there is either not enough energy going into curtailing these risks or the holes are quite tough to patch. We will go over the top 2 that are still on the top of the lists from 2013.

Broken Authentication

Authenticating user ids and verifying credentials in order to create a live session seems like a pretty straight forward scenario but any deviation from this process appears to create a host of problems. The problem with a gateway entry like this, is the wrong person gaining access can easily take down a whole company.

Solutions to some of the problems nowadays have become easier and better to implement. Google has created a 2 step verification process that is linked to someones smartphone and also the application that the user is attempting to login. This authentication system uses a Time-based One-time Password Algorithm and HMAC-based One-time Password Algorithm and is a great security measure.

Creating stronger passwords, timing out effectively after inactivity, and applying Web Application firewalls so users do not access vulnerable websites that can cause harm are some of the solutions that have been applied and used in the past.

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Image source: Pixabay

Most of the issues when logging in or other problems with authentication can be detected. Understanding prevention is one of the better ways to stay on top of any breach in the process as well as applying server monitoring software. If you are able to monitor the server in real time and log this data then it is easier to get a bigger picture of what is going on to create solutions proactively.

Injection Vulnerabilities

Still at the top of the list since 2013 are injection vulnerabilities. There are various types of injection attacks with SQL injection being one of the more popular. SQL injection occurs when basically a malicious code or SQL Query is injected from the user to the application.

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Retrieved from Pixabay

If an SQL injection is successful then it is able to read and change database information, shutdown operations, and also run commands to the OS. This is a dangerous scenario and yet it still remains the number one vulnerability since 2013.

It is quite unnerving to know that some of the bigger hacks in the past such as Sony in 2011 was a type of SQL injection but yet injection still remains the top vulnerability in 2017.

Understanding the Importance of Security

It is not difficult to understand the impact of security after a breach and a loss of millions of dollars spent on downtime or repairing and retrieving lost data. What is difficult for many people is investing the money beforehand to prevent security flaws and understand that vulnerabilities are there and being seeked out.

This means that companies need to be proactive and apply ethical hacking techniques to understand and hunt for flaws in their own systems. All the while continually monitoring for any anomalies in their servers to protect investments and keep their applications running smoothly.