Top 6 common flaws in web application security and their resolution

Web applications are growing more feature-rich, powerful, and complex as time goes on. Customers’ increasing technological demands have resulted in increased complexity in web apps. Organizations release new versions of their web applications on a regular basis to fulfill the demands of their clients. While the Software Development and Operations teams enable faster release cycles, scaling online security becomes harder.

According to F5 Labs’ research, web and application attacks are the leading sources of security breaches (30%), with an average cost of nearly $8 million per breach.

Web apps are proven to be both a realistic attack site for hackers and a low barrier point for their infiltration, according to several vulnerability reports. Every year, we observe a significant amount of data leakage.

According to a new analysis released by IBM and the Ponemon Institute, the global average total cost of a data breach in 2020 will be $3.86 million.

Web application data breaches are problematic for a variety of reasons:

Breach of the public trust harms a company’s brand and reputation.
Client-side attacks are still a possibility.
Fines and penalties may be imposed by regulatory agencies.
Customer trust is being eroded.
As a result, cybersecurity professionals are always exploiting flaws and seeking for methods to improve their systems’ security. To better protect online applications, businesses must establish a security-focused culture early in the development process. Unfortunately, most developers neglect to consider security when creating an app.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the most prevalent web application security issues that businesses confront.

Common Web Application Security Flaws

1 Remote Code Execution (RCE)

Not only is there a real chance of data theft and other threats associated with running malicious code on the server, but it’s also difficult to discover this flaw. However, some methods, such as penetration testing, may aid in the discovery of these flaws and should be used in the case of web apps that handle sensitive data.

How can these attacks be avoided?

Patch your systems with the most recent security patches on a regular basis.
Have a strategy in place to close any gaps that allow an attacker to obtain access.

SQL Injection (SQLi)

SQL Injection is a flaw in which an attacker injects malicious SQL statements into a web application, causing an unsafe SQL query to be sent to a database server (for example, MySQL). The attacker takes advantage of a web application’s flaws, which are often the result of bad development methods.

SQL injection allows hackers to submit SQL commands to the database server and get access to data or the entire database server as a result. The main goal is to steal the data, but if an attacker gains additional access, he or she can remove important records from the system, resulting in a Denial-of-Service assault. Aside from that, hackers can inject harmful files into the system, allowing the attacker to get access to other computers.

SQL injections are one of the most common and deadly security issues in web applications. Because these attacks destroy web applications’ SQL databases, all types of web applications must pay close attention to them.

How can these attacks be avoided?

Keep sensitive data segregated from commands and queries, and utilize a secure API with a parameterized interface that does not require an interpreter.
Ensure that all input validation is in place.

Cross-site Scripting (XSS)

Regardless of the variations in this category, cross-site scripting cases all follow a similar pattern. In a cross-site scripting vulnerability, attackers inject client-side scripts into websites that other users are viewing. They can happen anytime a web program accepts user input without validating it.

An attacker’s main goal is to get a victim to run a malicious script (also known as the payload) on an unwitting user. This script is executed on a secure web application. The primary goal is to steal or alter user data in order to gain access to sensitive information.

Cross-site scripting problems can be divided into two categories:

Persistent (stored): This type of cross-site scripting happens when the attacker’s data is saved on the server. The malicious script is then returned to any user who attempts to access the web page that contains it.
Non-Persistent (reflected): The most prevalent type of online vulnerability is non-persistent cross-site scripting. The malicious code isn’t saved in the database this way. Instead, the application incorporates user input into the page’s response.

How can these attacks be avoided?

Check the input data for grammatical and semantic errors.
Ensure that only trusted data is sent to an HTML document by checking output data.
Data on the client and server should be sanitized.
Detect and mitigate these threats via a Content Security Policy (CSP).

Path Traversal

A path traversal attack (also known as directory traversal) is used to gain access to files and folders that are not in the web application’s root folder. Path or directory traversal attacks use variables or variations of variables to gain access to server file system directories.

Because these files contain sensitive data like as access tokens, passwords, and backups, a successful assault could allow a hacker to move on to other vulnerable apps.

Although path traversal issues are not as widespread as Cross-site Scripting and SQL Injection flaws, they still constitute a significant threat to the security of web applications.

How can these attacks be avoided?

Take care of the code for the web application as well as the web server settings.
Validate the user’s input.
Important configuration files should not be kept at the web root.

Source Code Disclosure

This is a more common vulnerability that could expose sensitive information from a web application to an attacker. As a result, it’s critical to keep source code safe and out of the hands of attackers, especially if the web application isn’t open source.

A weak server can be used to read arbitrary files in source code disclosure. This can also be used to view the source code of web application files and configuration files. Source code leaks can expose sensitive data like passwords, database queries, and input validation filters.

How can these attacks be avoided?

Keep an eye on which parts of the source code are visible.
Any file that is being utilized must be reviewed and limited so that it cannot be accessed by the general public.
Ensure that your server is up to date with all security patches.
Remove any files that aren’t needed from the system.

Weak Passwords

In any hack, weak passwords are always a factor. Applications sometimes enable simple passwords with no complexity, such as Admin123, [email protected], 12345, and so on, to make things easier. Such passwords are easily guessable, allowing an attacker to get access to the server without difficulty.

An attacker may use a dictionary attack to crack a weak password in some instances. Frequent dictionary words and names, as well as common passwords, are utilized in a dictionary attack to guess the password. Default identities and passwords, such as admin or admin12345, are frequently used as weak passwords.

Once an attacker has gained access to the administrator interface, they can make changes such as changing the configuration, viewing client information, uploading or modifying files, or making other changes to carry out their attack.

How can these attacks be avoided?

Use a password that is difficult to guess.

Multi-Factor Authentication should be enabled (MFA).
When creating a password, avoid using dictionary words.
When many failed attempts are made, use the account lock option.
Change your passwords on a regular basis.

Final thoughts

When planning the creation of your web apps, keep cybersecurity best practices in mind. Now is the opportunity for developers to take advantage of the flaws and contribute to the creation of a more secure web with powerful applications.

Please contact our team if you have a specific requirement for how to secure your web app. Contact us by using the chat feature or by leaving a comment.