For most companies, security is not a priority unless they face breaches or find vulnerabilities in their security system. However, ignoring them can cause greater harm.
A practical approach to IT security should be proactive, which will build a strong defensive system across the business.
The security issues related to web development are a threat to companies and even programmers. Towards this, companies should build a strong security mindset and focus on proactively identifying weak points and plugging them.
Web vulnerabilities differ from common vulnerabilities because their applications function on different codes, networks, and platforms. The applications are open to many levels of business stakeholders, which makes them easily accessible.
They then become an easy target for a hacker.
Web Security and Digital Transformation
With the digitalization of businesses, paying attention to its high security with strong solutions is critical. Updating web application software, securing codes, and adding firewalls to access has become the need of the hour.
They need to deploy embedded anti-virus solutions that are key to preventing vulnerabilities. Failure to do these can lead to damage and costly repercussions for businesses. Here are a few scary scenarios:
- Websites are at increased risk among hackers. According to Sophos 2023 Threat Report,
- As per the 2022 Imperva Bad Bot Report,
- Businesses will likely lose revenue when hackers hack websites and their applications. Several factors lead to revenue loss. The biggest of these risks is the loss of reputation from data privacy attacks.
- Penalties, blacklisting, and blocking of digital assets are a risk once a site or digital platform carries cyber risks.
For these reasons and more, it is critical to stay aware of common web security vulnerabilities.
Here is the list of those weaknesses and preventive measures to help companies overcome challenges:
Most Common Web Security Vulnerabilities with Preventive Measures
1. Injection Flaws
Injection flaws occur due to failure in filtering of untrusted inputs. It happens when unfiltered data is passed to the SQL server (SQL injection) to the browser through cross-site scripting to the LDAP server. In this, the attackers inject commands to hack clients’ browsers, resulting in huge data loss. This creates difficulties for security teams and developers to configure properly.
Mostly, applications keep receiving requests and recording activities. So, anything they receive from an untrusted source should be filtered first and look for weaker points.
Protecting against injection requires proper filtering of inputs because it needs to process all inputs under trusted factors. Security leaders and developers can use Second Order SQL Injection to inject one SQL query result. They are proven to scrutinize applications’ frameworks and strengthen server security thoroughly.
2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
When this input is returned to the users, their browser gets infected, causing harm to the company’s website. Hackers can cause CSS simply by creating a link and encouraging users to click it.
The best way to prevent this vulnerability is by not returning to HTML tags. This could protect clients and companies from HTML injection, where attackers inject plain HTML content, such as images or invisible captcha.
To implement this solution, security teams should convert all HTML entities into script format to build a secured work-frame. Alternatively, security teams can use regular HTML tags for better security.
3. Security Misconfiguration
Misconfigured web servers and applications are common web surety vulnerabilities. It includes:
- Applications run with debugs from production to the execution level
- Applications running on outdated software
- Applications running on unnecessary servers with siloed data
- Encrypted keys and passwords are not updated
- Revealing errors to potential hackers
Security teams and developers should build an automated “build and deploy” process, which can run tests on every deployment and testing level. This will prevent codes from being exposed with default passwords and prevent the development of weak links building inside servers and applications.
4. Exposure to sensitive data
This web security vulnerability results in exposing sensitive data. The data could be of the business, client, and customers.
Data for various assets, such as credit card information and user passwords, are the commonly exposed assets and are weak points for attackers to attack. Such sensitive data usually travel across unencrypted servers and networks on which websites are developed. In this, cookies also play a key role in building vulnerabilities across databases.
Businesses should use HTTPS with a proper certificate and PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy). They should not accept any request over non-HTTPS connections. Additionally, security leaders should stress flagging risks on cookies.
Security teams should also build a strong encrypted ecosystem for sensitive data and ensure all passwords are stored using bcrypt.
5. Failed Authentication
Authentication-driven web application vulnerabilities occur when there’s an improper implementation of adequate user authentication controls. This puts user accounts at risk of getting hacked and breached. Attackers may exploit these vulnerabilities to gain control over user accounts and even across the website development system.
In this, different attacks occur, such as:
- Credential Stuffing
- Brute Force attack
- Session hijacking
Developers should test application codes before they get deployed to production. External security audits should be a priority to ensure that best practices for website security are in action. Developers should also avoid deploying default credentials that can be exposed easily. Logins should be limited to check weak passwords for better password security.
Also Read: Strategies to Enhance B2B Website Security
6. XML External Entities
An XML external entity attack is also known as an XXE. It is another type of vulnerability that happens when attackers exploit a weakly-configured XML parser.
Attackers usually inject additional data, access confidential data, and execute infected applications, resulting in misconfiguration of codes.
The safest way to prevent XXE attacks is by disabling Document Type Definitions (DTDs). This secures the parser from DoS attacks. With that, security teams should use less complex data formats like JSON to avoid web application weak points.
Preventing these common yet sophisticated vulnerabilities will help companies avoid large web application security threats and risks.
Security leaders and teams should initiate regular testing and automated scans to minimize the severity of threats. They should also ensure better security for overall data being used to develop web applications.