DEV Community


Posted on • Updated on

Web Application Security Best Practices

Create a security blueprint for your web application

Without planning, web application security best practices cannot be kept up to date. In many cases, companies deal with the situation in a disorganized way and achieve almost nothing. Sit with your IT security team to create a detailed and actionable web application security plan. You need to outline your organization's goals.

For example, you can improve overall compliance or protect your brand more carefully. You also need to prioritize the applications that need to be backed up first and how to test them. Whether done manually, in a cloud solution, on-premises software, managed service providers, or otherwise.

Inventory your web application

You probably don't have a clear idea of ​​which application it depends on every day, as your business is organized as you think it is possible. In fact, most organizations are running many malicious applications at a given point in time and are only aware of them when problems occur.

You can't maintain effective web application security without knowing exactly what applications your organization is using.

How many are there? Where are you? Performing such an inventory can be a daunting task and can be time consuming. When running, keep in mind the purpose of each application. Many applications can be redundant or completely meaningless.

Prioritize your web applications

After completing an inventory of your existing web applications, prioritizing them is the next logical step. You may doubt it now, but your list will likely be very long. If you don't prioritize which apps to focus on first, you'll struggle to make meaningful progress.

Sort apps into three categories:


Critical applications are mainly those that are outward facing and contain customer information. These are the apps that need to be dealt with first as they are most easily targeted and exploited by hackers.


Serious applications can be internal or external and may contain sensitive information.


Normal apps are much less exposed, but they should be put to further testing.

By categorizing your apps this way, you can reserve more intensive testing for important apps and use less intensive testing for less important ones. This allows you to make the best use of the company's resources and will help you progress faster.

Prioritize Vulnerabilities

When you go through the list of web applications before testing them, you have to decide which vulnerabilities are worth removing and which are not too worrying. Removing all vulnerabilities from all web applications is simply not possible or even worth your time. Even after rating your apps by their importance, it will take considerable time to test them all.

By limiting yourself to only checking for the most dangerous security holes, you'll save a lot of time and get things done much faster. When it comes to determining which security holes to focus on, it really depends on the applications you're using. Also keep in mind that as testing goes on, you may find that you've overlooked some issues.

Don't be afraid to pause testing so you can regroup and focus on additional security holes. Finally, remember that in the future this job will be much easier, because you are starting over now and it won't be later.

Run applications that use as few privileges as possible

Even after all your web applications have been evaluated, tested, and removed for the most problematic security holes, you are still not clear. Each web application has specific privileges on the local computer and the remote computer. These privileges can and should be adjusted to improve security.

For the vast majority of applications, only system administrators have full access. Most other users can get what they need with less permissive settings.

In the unlikely event that privileges are misaligned for an application and some users cannot access the functionality they need, the problem can be resolved as it happens. It is better to be too restrictive in this situation than to be too permissive.

Have protective measures in place in the interim

Even if you run a small, fairly simple organization, it can take weeks or even months to go through the list of web applications and make the necessary changes. During this time, your business may be more vulnerable to attacks. Therefore, it is important to have other safeguards in place in the meantime to avoid major problems.

To do this, you have several options:

  • Remove certain functions from certain applications. If the feature makes the app more vulnerable, it might be a good idea to remove said feature in the meantime.
  • Use a web application firewall (WAF) to protect from the most worrisome security holes.
  • Throughout, existing web applications must be continuously monitored to ensure that they are not attacked by third parties.
  • If your business or website is hacked during this time, identify the weakness and fix it before moving on to another job. You should make it a habit to carefully document these vulnerabilities and how they are handled so that future events can be addressed appropriately.

Use cookies securely

Another area that many organizations don't think about when discussing web application security best practices is the use of cookies. Cookies are extremely convenient for businesses and users. They allow users to be remembered by the websites they visit so future visits are faster and, in many cases, more personalized.

However, cookies can also be manipulated by hackers to access protected areas. While you certainly shouldn't stop using cookies - indeed, it would be a huge step backwards in many ways - you should adjust your settings to minimize the risk of being hacked.

First, do not use cookies to store sensitive or important information. For example, do not use cookies to remember a user's password. This makes it very easy for hackers to gain unauthorized access.

You also need to be careful about setting the cookie expiration date. Sure, it's good to know that cookies are valid for users for several months, but in reality, all cookies pose a security risk. Finally, consider encrypting the information stored in the cookies you use.

Gratitude for perusing my article till end. I hope you realized something unique today. If you enjoyed this article then please share to your buddies and if you have suggestions or thoughts to share with me then please write in the comment box.

Above blog is submitted as part of 'Devtron Blogathon 2022' -
Check out Devtron's GitHub repo - and give a ⭐ to show your love & support.
Follow Devtron on LinkedIn - and Twitter -, to keep yourself updated on this Open Source project.

Discussion (0)