Web Application Security in a nutshell

Web Application Security Acstrasecure

Web Application Security


Web-based application has been used typically through web browsers which are slightly different and displays web pages in different ways. As a result, most of the programming of web-based applications is specialized to accommodate the way these browsers interact with different web languages such as XML, HTML, Perl, ASP and PHP. The variability in this browser and the likelihood of their usage by users must be put into consideration when designing web-based applications which are increasingly used to deliver security-critical services. In this regard, they have been used as a valuable targets for security attacks.

Most web applications interact with the back-end database, which stores sensitive information (health, financial or personally identifiable information). The compromise of these applications can result in breaching huge amounts of information, which leads to severe economic losses, legal consequences and ethical issues. A report by Verizon shows that 43% of breaches can be traced back to attacks against web applications which have increased due to illicit financial gain, significantly from 71% in 2019.

Web application depends on complex web platform infrastructure which faces a number of inherited challenges which are posed by features compromised of technology and components. Most of the currently used web application development and testing frameworks offer limited security support. A secure web application development requires substantial efforts which are most unrealistic for developers with insufficient skills and security awareness. This has led to a high percentage of web applications deployed on the internet being exposed to security vulnerabilities. Web application consortium report that 49% of the web applications being reviewed contain vulnerabilities of CVE high-risk level and more than 15% of websites are capable of being compromised automatically.

Web security engineers, motivated by the urgent need to secure web applications, efforts have devoted to this problem with several techniques deployed to harden web applications and mitigate their attacks.

Vulnerabilities in web applications

There are three types of security vulnerabilities found in web applications at different levels: session management vulnerabilities at the session level, input validation vulnerabilities at the single request level and application logic vulnerabilities found at the extent of the whole application.

Input validation has been the process or method of guaranteeing that data operates in a clean, correct and helpful input data. Once the input is seen to be sufficiently or properly valid, attacks can craft distorted inputs which can easily alter program executions and gain unauthorized access to resources. Incorrect and depleted input invites a range of attacks, like code injection or buffer overflow.

Session management has been essential for web applications which keep track of user input and maintain application states. The owasp top ten security risks provide three related to security management: cross-site request forgery, broken authentication and insufficient transport layer protection.

Application logic vulnerabilities are highly dependent on the functionality of a web application; hence several types of logic flow are common in business logic patterns in most applications. The type of attacks which target application logic vulnerabilities are mostly referred to as state violation attacks or logic attacks. Though depending on how attacks are launched it can be given other terms like forceful browsing and parameter tempering.

Mitigations against application security vulnerabilities

Privilege management: The least privilege principle is vital for sensitive systems and critical information which if applied enables limited access to those who require it. The less privileged account can be compromised by hackers causing a devastating impact on entities; hence this policy ensures that they do not access critical data or information.

Threat assessment: Keep a list of sensitive assets that will help you understand threats to your firm. This is a core activity of all web-based business organizations. Most of the OWASP TOP ten guidelines are very useful when performing this task. They help guide treat analysts in identification, response and mitigation processes when a breach has occurred.

Web application firewall: This will monitor and filter HTTP traffic between the world wide web and web applications. WAF though does not address all risks but is useful with other security solutions to provide defence against diverse attacks. It helps protect online applications against attacks like cross-site scripting, SQL injection and file inclusion.



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