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Everything You Need to Know About Web Application Security Practices

A web application is a pivotal part of the business since it permits cross-platform compatibility and is easily manageable. They also secure live data with minimum costs.

Since these web applications transmit sensitive data via multiple channels, they are a pivotal part of the software development process. This makes them a prime target of hackers. That being said, it is crucial to protect your APIs (both public and internal).

Recent years have shown a spike in cyber-security attacks on web applications.

Web Applications Vulnerabilities (2017) Report by Positive Technologies indicates that 94% of the web applications have at least one significant severity vulnerability, which is a crucial weakness for businesses.

This makes web application security a necessity because businesses have suffered massive damages over the years due to data breaches and cyber-attacks done on them.

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What Is Web Application Security?

A web application is application software stationed on a web server. The user accesses it via a browser, irrespective of computer-based software programs that are run on the device’s operating systems.

Examples: Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.

Since these apps are not restricted to devices, securing them requires device as well as server security. Hackers target database tools, CMS, and software applications to penetrate these apps and secure data.

Lack of web security measures by these business owners turns out to be a victory for the hackers.

Let’s check out some fundamental factors that developers should implement for securing web applications.

Web Application Security Best Practices

 Ensure Security in the Development Phase

Security of the application in the development phase is equally important apart from the later stage, so ensure to secure those application codes and tools and save them from being compromised by hackers.

Validate All Inputs

To be safe, go for input validation which tests all user inputs and application inputs. This prevents suspicious data from entering the web applications.

If the input validation is wrong, it can invite injection attacks and compromised data into the system. Data input validation types include data type check, code check, range check, format check, etc.

Encrypt Data With SSL Certificate

Since website visitors and customers share confidential data on web applications, businesses need to secure this data from cyber-criminals. Web Applications and APIs should authenticate and encrypt the data because an unsecured web application is a good target for hackers.

This is possible when SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption security is implemented on the applications, which secures the data-in-transit between the visitor’s browser and the application server.

SSL certificates stop data breaches and help in improving the SERP ranks. Even stored devices (data at rest) having a backup of data need encryption security for shielding the same against cyber-criminals.

Example: Hackers are smart to tackle algorithms and penetrate unsecured web applications, but when you install the Comodo SSL certificate on your website, it secures the chosen domain or sub-domain with SHA-2 encryption and 2048-bit CSR encryption. Such encryptions are hard to crack.

Implement Diverse Security Solutions

There are various security solutions, and none of them are 100% foolproof against cyber threats. Without human interference, even the best vulnerability scanners cannot trace specific vulnerabilities (logical errors, unclear vulnerabilities, or outdated ones).

Combine your vulnerability scanning with network scanning to tighten the security of your web application. Even a WAF (web application firewall) acts as a strong defense against hackers to handle these security vulnerabilities, so opt for an extra layer of security.

Implement Authentication & Access Control

Authentication methods like complex passwords, MFA (multi-factor authentication), token-based authentication, etc., should be implemented while developing web applications.

Users should be able to access application data only when they have authenticated their identity.

Access control also helps maintain data privacy, and it can be done by minimizing the access rights given to the users. This policy of granting minimum access can lessen intruder access into your systems.

Check out expired passwords, limit account access, and limit login attempts for better security controls.

Conduct Security Audit

The best way to know whether your security solutions are functioning up to the mark or not is to perform a complete security check. Auditing of securities will pop up the security lapses, which can grab your attention.

Take care of patching these vulnerabilities by running regular security updates.

Even hiring a professional security team for the same will help detect issues and guide in patching the vulnerabilities.

Multiple web security audits like Black Box Security Audit, White Box Security Audit, and Grey Box Security Audit can be conducted.

Remember when you start patching the loopholes, commence from the riskiest vulnerability to instantly secure your application data.

Avoid Security Misconfigurations

Ample securities also lead to more precision in implementing the same. However, slightly overlooked factors during the implementation stage may lead to security misconfiguration and create gateways for hackers to enter networks.

Examples:

  • Unprotected files
  • Non-removal of default login credentials or other guest accounts from the servers
  • Open ports on the server
  • Outdated securities
  • Expired SSL certificate

Ensure that your servers and site software are correctly configured to avoid such misconfigurations.

Redirect All HTTP Traffic to HTTPS

As stated above, HTTPS is essential for securing web transactions, and the same is possible when an SSL certificate is installed on a website.

The encryption security of this digital certificate is desired and implemented by thousands of websites all over the globe.

Google too encourages HTTPS sites and gives them a good position in SEO. When data is transmitted through HTTPS, it’s secured via Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol, which provides data integrity, encryption, and authentication.

Monitor & Test Your Security

When it comes to cyber-threats, a security audit is not enough. You need to monitor your web applications regularly and ensure that they are always secured.

Security solutions like WAF work wonders by constant monitoring and blocking suspicious activities like SQL injections, bad bots, or other cyber-attacks.

Missing vulnerabilities can be fixed using the ASMP (application security management platform) tool since it keeps track of varied protocols like FTP, TCP, etc., apart from the application layer security.

Be Alert and Have a Contingency Plan Against Cyber-Attacks

Not all attacks can be nullified, and hence it’s vital to update your employees regarding the latest cyber threats.

Since new threats evolve daily, be alert and have a plan in place to deal with them. Facing and dealing with cyber threats is not a one-time solution. Instead, it’s a constant effort to secure your web daily.

Ensure that a contingency plan is framed correctly, like regular backups, data stored on external locations, etc., to reduce the damages.

Final Words

All internet accesses are subject to risk, and hence their security is essential. Developers who keep on adding new web applications and other features are constantly threatened by codes being compromised and data being leaked.

The only way to prevent this is to follow the above-mentioned web security practices regularly and integrate them into applications development.

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