The frequency and cost of data breaches keep growing exponentially. Attackers find new vulnerabilities to exploit in the web application security. Once the attackers create security threats, security experts build on them and strengthen their systems. But these are the measures after the attackers have posed a threat to sensitive data.
However, to ensure safety and prevention of potential attacks, the best way is to incorporate security measures while developing the web application itself.
In the previous blog, we saw some of the common security threats to watch out for, and now we will see how to tackle each and every one of those threats in the developmental phase of the web application.
This web application security threat exploits wrongly used session management and authentication tokens. Here is how to prevent them:
- If the session hasn’t been used in a specific period of time, end it automatically.
- Once a session is over, invalidate the session ID so that it cannot be used further by anyone else.
- Add conditions to ensure that the passwords are strong.
- Execute multi-factor authentication.
Cross Site Scripting
This injection-based client-side attack allows theft of user session IDs, redirecting to malicious sites, etc. to prevent these attacks, the following steps will be helpful:
- All the user-supplied data needs to be encrypted.
- Using libraries like OWASP’s AntiSamy, Microsoft Anti-XSS library, HtmlSanitizer, etc.
Injection attacks lead to accepting untrusted data without any verification from an input field. Here is how they can be prevented:
- Shield commands and queries from suspicious inputs.
- Using an API (Application Programming Interface) avoids interpreters and instead uses parameterized interfaces.
- In order to prevent malicious character combinations, use a safelist to filter all the inputs.
An attack like this can give the attacker complete access to the database due to the admin privileges. Here is how to prevent them:
- Ensure that the default configurations are changed
- Update components like firewalls, operating systems, extensions, etc., frequently.
Insecure Direct Object References
These attacks result in the attackers obtaining access to items belonging to other users in the database. Here is how you can prevent this web application security threat:
- Go for user authorization at multiple relevant points on the website.
- Design the error messages in such a way that they limit the display of user information.
- Use a POST instead of GET for information transmission to not disclose the reference objects in the URL.
Missing Function Level Access Control.
Here, the attackers have access to special features and functions that are inaccessible to common users. You can do the following to avoid them:
- Implementation of multiple user authentications at relevant points on the website.
- Restrict access to features and functions from everyone except admins.
So, these are some of the ways in which common web application security threats can be avoided. When data privacy is so crucial in the given days, security on the web is a priority. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to incorporate these security measures in the development stage of the website itself instead of working on it later.
Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards
These attacks can lead a user to malicious sites by easily gaining their trust. Use the following countermeasures:
- Limit redirection only to essential scenarios
- Rather than giving a URL, mapping values can be given to destination parameters.