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Common Web Application Security Threats and Measures to Combat Them

Swathi Krishna
・4 min read

All business owners should recognize and avoid is the existence of software vulnerabilities and threats to web applications. However, regardless of its convenience, there are downsides to using web applications for business activities. To prevent security incidents and their potentially costly damages, business activities must be protected against vulnerabilities in web applications.
Web application vulnerabilities are security flaws that allow cybercriminals to manipulate source code, gain unauthorized access, steal data, or otherwise disrupt the application's normal operation. Many network attacks can be averted if you take a proactive approach to address the most prevalent cyber vulnerabilities and security misconfigurations. The following are some of the most common IT security vulnerabilities and measures to protect your business from these cyber threats.
Injection Flaw
An injection flaw occurs when an attacker uses unfiltered and usually malicious data to attack a database or directory connected to your web application. Two common injection attacks are often used. First, SQL injection is used to attack your database. Second, attacking the directory using LDAP injection.
Injection attacks use input fields that interact with directories and databases to run against vulnerabilities. These include usernames, passwords, and other areas to interact with the target. Due to the lack of input filters during database or catalog development, these fields are often vulnerable to attack.
To prevent this from happening, filter all inputs correctly. This is done by taking advantage of the filtering capabilities of the framework. Protocols such as escape variables can be used to prevent characters used in injection attacks from being sent to modify the directory.
Authentication Errors
Authentication helps applications identify and verify users. Therefore, compromised authentication can allow an attacker to access the target user and have the same permissions as the target user, resulting in severe web application vulnerabilities. Authentication problems can give attackers unrestricted access to your data and cause serious damage to your web applications.
The correct user can be identified using multi-factor authentication. Use regular password updates to create strong passwords to prevent the use of common passwords. Finally, correctly setting the time-out and password strength in the database will avoid authentication problems.
Exposure of Sensitive Data
This vulnerability targets insufficient resource protection. When handling confidential information and data, it must always be encrypted, transmitted over the network, and idle.
Protecting stored confidential data can be a bit difficult, but there are some solutions you can try. One is to reduce exposure; If the data is outdated, don't save it. However, if the stored data is necessary, make sure it is encrypted and the password is hashed. Encrypting the data stored in your database while storing the encryption key separately will reduce exposure.
Missing Function Level Access Control
When server-side authorization is configured incorrectly, damaged, or lost, it will cause vulnerabilities and expose your back-end to attacks. These attacks usually occur on user interface interfaces configured with components so that administrators can access data or other important elements of the application. In this case, most users will not see the management function, but those looking for the vulnerability will be able to discover and exploit this vulnerability through malicious requests.
To resolve this issue, all server-side authentication must be active and configured to prevent unnecessary access.
Misconfiguration of Security
If the application’s security settings, database and web server, framework, and platform are incorrect, an attacker can quickly gain unauthorized access to application data and functions.
Incorrect configuration can be caused by; running outdated software, exposing error handling information, running unwanted services on the machine, etc.
The most effective solution for this is to ensure that the existing architecture has good component separation and security.
Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting, also known as XSS, is a vulnerability to scripts running on the user's side, allowing attackers to run scripts in the user's browser. This happens when an application sends untrusted data to the browser without verification. Since the browser does not know the validity of the script, it executes it, allowing an attacker to hijack the session cookie and even redirect the user to a malicious site.
Sanitizing input can be used to mitigate XSS issues. Sanitizing user input will help prevent vulnerabilities from being exploited and injected into websites. Validating and escaping user input will also assist in preventing malicious injection.
Insecure Direct Object Reference
Direct object reference refers to exposing internal files to clients or users. When this happens, all the attacker needs to do is provide recommendations. If authorization is not applied, the attacker will gain access. Through this access, an attacker can make modifications that may compromise the entire application.
Some preventive techniques include the correct and consistent execution of user authorization by implementing access control checks. You should avoid exposing references in URLs as well. Finally, don’t rely on data retrieval through CGI parameters; instead, store data internally.
Cross-Site Request Forgery
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) uses social engineering to trick authenticated users into clicking links and controlling their sessions. Because the attacker has authenticated sessions, he can change the state of the app instead of stealing data. The attacker takes advantage of the user's access to a certain website and uses it to change the website to which the user is currently logged in.
Using secret tokens or cookies can help verify the real request for malicious requests. In addition, using only POST requests and deleting GET requests can help prevent URL information from being corrupted.
Unauthenticated Redirects and Forwards
An attacker can redirect users to malware websites if sufficient validation is not performed during page redirection. The attacker sends a real URL, but the URL has been appended with a possibly malicious encoded URL. If it is unavoidable, choose not to involve user parameters when determining the destination, or ensure that the provided value is authoritative and valid for your client.
Modern web app development heavily relies on security. A security breach in your web app might result in significant financial losses and damage to your company's reputation.

At Fingent, our experts can provide you advanced security solutions to combat hackers and serve your business with powerful and secure applications to remain competitive in the market. If you are ready to take your safety to a new level, get in touch with us right away.

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