Websites today require optimum security measures alongside high performance. Companies should test for loopholes and weaknesses and apply best practices to remove threats at scale. They need proper strategies and policies to fight web security vulnerabilities.
Finding weak points in a website can be a complex and tedious task. However, strategies, testing tools, and best practices can mitigate those weak points.
According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report,
So, while the risks have become more intense and severe, companies should take strict steps to mitigate them.
This article explains how companies can check web security vulnerabilities and apply best practices to keep websites safe.
Some Common Website Security Vulnerabilities
The most common security vulnerabilities seen in websites are:
- Broken Access Control
- Identification and Authentication Failures
- SQL Injection
- Insecure Design
- Monitoring and security failures
- Misconfigurations of Security
- Server-Side Request Forgery
- Software and data integrity failures
- Outdated data or open-data source
To mitigate these, security leaders need to take quick actions so that the website and its applications don’t face too much risk.
Companies should know the reasons behind the development of these weak points. Some of the reasons are given below. These may help security leaders to become aware of the reasons.
- As more applications are developed, they become more sophisticated.
Testing becomes a mere process as the applications appear efficient, agile, and resilient. Over time, this may cause loopholes where threats can enter. This is called false positives and can expose websites to severe risks.
- The threat landscape is also evolving, which is a crucial point to consider and check for web vulnerabilities. Newer tech tools are available for threat- actors, as they are for security teams.
The power stays the same, and threats become more dangerous.
- Also, the growth of the Dark web is a huge driver for higher cyber-attacks. There is now a whole industry to sell stolen data out there!
- Using legacy infrastructure creates vulnerabilities because they cannot be upgraded to higher security tools. So, even the existing tools fail to protect from potential threats.
This leads to failure to check weak points and severe risks for companies.
- Improper user authorization and authentication cause severe vulnerabilities. It may lead to unauthorized access to sensitive information and application features.
For these reasons, companies should follow best practices to detect threats and risks faster and take preventive steps immediately.
Best Practices for Web Security
1. Secure Coding Practices
Developers must follow secure coding practices to reduce weak points in websites and their applications.
They should use parameterized queries to prevent SQL injection attacks. It’s a critical process that can help you stay secure.
Statista’s report Distribution of web application critical vulnerabilities worldwide as of 2022 says that
- Input validation: All user inputs should be validated to prevent attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).
- Use cryptographic functions: Secure encryption algorithms will help to protect sensitive data.
- Reviewing Regular codes: Regular code reviews can identify, detect, and mitigate potential security issues.
2. Conduct regular Updates and Patches
Software weak points are the easiest and most common way to attack websites and their applications. Regular software updates and patches will help to fix weaker points.
Every component and device- such as servers, networks, databases, and frameworks, should be regularly updated.
3. Deploying a Web Application Firewall (WAF)
Web application firewall (WAF) will help to detect viruses, malware, Trojans, and other threats. They use vulnerable points like open networking systems, APIs, IP addresses, etc.
A web application firewall (WAF) operates as an HTTP traffic filter that protects the communication between a server and a client. It prevents malicious requests from penetrating and compromising databases, thus closing vulnerabilities.
4. Practice Errors Handling and Logging
Proper error handling and logging are essential practices for checking weak points and fixing security issues on the web. Even a simple and small error in coding and managing vulnerability can be dangerous. It can open gates for threats to enter easily, causing severe damage.
Techniques and Tools for Checking Web Security Vulnerabilities
Here are a few tools to protect web applications against vulnerabilities and respond to attacks if they happen.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools test running codes to find vulnerabilities. The automated DAST tools send multiple requests to application code, including unexpected and malicious inputs that check existing weak points.
2. Penetration Testing Tools
Penetration testing is a technique that uses scanning tools to find the possibility of breaches in a web application’s security posture.
Usually, pen-testers function as threat actors. They exploit the weak points, gain unauthorized access, breach data, and turn off services. They check the probabilities of these weaknesses getting exploited.
They share results with security teams so preventive measures and mitigation strategies can be implemented.
This technique is a bit complex. However, if accurately enforced, it can identify weaknesses and potential weak points that may become vulnerable later.
3. Application Security Testing (AST)
Application security testing helps to find and eliminate vulnerabilities in web applications. The testing includes analyses and reporting software vulnerabilities throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
AST aims to prevent web software vulnerabilities even before applications are released.
Successful AST results in highly secure source code addition. They allow for higher visibility of security issues, improving protection against internal and external threats.
4. Web Security Testing
Web security testing determines possible application vulnerabilities that can be under attack.
This technique gets information on data and code running. It investigates network securities, server responses, and data functionalities.
Any unusual activities in any of them can cause a vulnerability in the web and become a threat to the business.
5. Automated Vulnerability Testing
The current level of cyber threats that every web entity faces has necessitated the adoption of automation platforms for identifying and mitigating threats.
Automation leads to speed and accurate functionalities. Similarly, in vulnerability management, automation will lead to faster detection. It allows for better monitoring and prevention of threats at scale.
There’s no perfect way to test for web security vulnerabilities. But there are various methods and tools to do so! CISOs and organizations should work on what is best applicable to their purpose.
Mitigation also depends on the threats a web application or website faces. Security strategies and tools may differ, but they all have the same objective. To keep the web entity safe, keep the enterprise secure.