Web Application Security has been one of the most significant parts when it comes to web app development. Developers need to make sure the security of apps as there is a substantial rise in the number of cyberattacks such as DDoS attacks that have been affecting the entire health of any site.

Factors like the rise of cloud platforms, use of open-source tools and technologies, complications of web apps, the increment in data processing needs, and an augment in the sophistication level of cyber attackers have led to an tremendously complex and challenging environment for IT security in any organization. As per Security Magazine, a cyber attack happens somewhere in the globe every 39 sec. As hackers are more interested on people’s confidential data and the cases of cyberattacks increase, it is crucial to make sure reliable security of your web application.

Web app security is a vital constituent of any web-based business. The universal nature of the net exposes web properties to hit from diverse places and several levels of complexity and scale. Web app security mainly deals with the security surrounding web applications, websites, and web services like APIs.

Web application security is the procedure of protecting online services and websites against varied cyber and security threats that facilitates threats in an app’s code. The most common targets for web app attacks are database administration tools (e.g., phpMyAdmin), content management systems (e.g., WordPress), and SaaS apps.

Web Applications Threats and Vulnerabilities: What Stats Say?

  • 82% of vulnerabilities were located majorly in app code.
  • The average no. of vulnerabilities per web app fell by a 3rd compared to 2018. On average, every system comprises 22 vulnerabilities, of which ‘four’ were of top severity.
  • 1 out of 5 vulnerabilities has higher severity.

Most Common Vulnerabilities

The most common encountered web application threats and vulnerabilities in the year 2019 involved Security Misconfiguration. One out of 5 tested apps included vulnerabilities allowing the cyber hackers to hit a user session, such as sensitive cookies without the secure flags and HttpOnly. Cyber hackers can use such flaws to execute Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) to capture the user’s session identifier & imitate the user in the app.

Why We Need to Be Concerned About Your Web App’s Security?

Anything starts from small IoT devices to computers that have access to the internet can easily be hacked. And as even the small gadgets track sensitive and personal information these days, they are a gateway for hackers to get confidential data about millions of persons. As per Forrester, three verticals account for the majority of sophisticated and success cyber attacks are:

  • Retail
  • Government
  • Healthcare

These sectors are the famous among cyber attackers and hackers; yet, if your web app or website is in different sector, it is not a reason for relaxation. If your database stores description about your users that is enough reason to secure your software and get rid of any security issues.

Corero states that a single attack of DDoS can charge a company approximately USD 50,000 in lost income. Losses in any sort of security breach count not only the user’s personal data but, more significantly, users’ trust in your company or business. Well, lost trust result to even significant reputational and financial losses. There are some of the negative impacts that this kind of attacks can bring to enterprises, such as:

  • Theft of confidential data
  • Higher financial losses
  • A negative thought of the brand
  • Client distrust

Seven Web Application Security Best Practices

1. Provide Everyone With Application Security Training

The first and foremost step to guarantee web application security is to offer software development security training in every level. The training shouldn’t be restricted to web application developers, however, include all related personnel involved in the procedure, like QA Specialist, Operational Staff, and Project Management. This sort of training to all personnel linked with the development lifecycle helps in building a culture of security within the company.

2. It Is Better to Back-up All Your Website Information

When any sort of security breach or malware infection occurs, and one requires restoring the web app after that, it would be terrible if anyone won’t store the recent or updated version of the site. When the time arrives to live the site again, you will be pleased you postponed it. Thus return your information as much as feasible. It is worth noted that majority of the web hosting service suppliers will give backups from their servers if this mishappening occurs.

3. Regularly Scan Your Website for Threats and Vulnerabilities

Security checks and scans should be made frequently to stay on top of the safety and protection of your web app. It would be a sensible choice to do security scans on your sites at least one time each week. Besides, you must scan after every alteration that you have completed in your web app. It is essential that several security scanners, even experienced folks, will not be able to discover all the security complexities.

Scanners are either heuristic or pattern-based, and malware is all the time engineered to be undetectable from the scanners. A lot of security scanners locate malware better than others, and conversely, some struggle with false positives. The majority of the security scanners don’t work at all. Furthermore, you should still learn about several security glitches and flaws.

4. Utilize a Web Application Firewall

The WAF (web application firewall) is principally a filter for HTTP traffic amid a client and a server. It does not allow any malicious requests experience and infiltrate your databases. Firewall is the most significant way for safeguarding software at the entrance points to your network, as they scrutinize all incoming traffic and stop all doubtful activity. WAFs do not necessitate developers to transform anything in the source code, which also makes them suitable to make use of. But, traditional firewalls have their flaws: they cannot determine some sorts of attacks. To ensure higher security, make use of advanced WAFs that can guard your app from cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.

5. Prioritize Your Web Apps Is the Logical Next Step

After ending the inventory of your existing web apps, sorting them according to priority is the sound step. You may disbelief it now, but your list is expected to be extended. Without prioritizing which apps to concentrate on initially, you will struggle to make any significant advancement. Sorting the apps into three categories is significant:

  1. Normal
  2. Critical
  3. Serious

6. The Use of Cookies Securely

Another most significant area that many companies do not think about while addressing web app security best practices is the employ of cookies. Cookies are extremely convenient for users and businesses similarly. They let users to be remembered by websites that they browse so that future visits are rapid and, in several cases, extreme personalized. But, cookies can also be utilized by hackers to gain access to secured areas.

7. Introduction of a Bounty Program

One of the better ways to get feedback from the community concerning potential web app security glitches is to maintain a bounty program. Even if you handle a company with devoted security staffs employed, they often might not be able to recognize all potential security threats. Hence, to help support the community to find security threats and report them, offer a “bounty” of financial worth.

Final Verdict

Ensuring web application security is an ongoing and dynamic process. Even after following all of the web application security best practices mentioned above, you cannot afford to be completely satisfied. You need to continue monitoring, still need to be vigilant and explore your web application for security risks and advance your security measures.

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