As a business, your website is your online headquarters. A security breach on your website is equal to someone breaking into your office and stealing your business records and information about your customers. This is risky as the thief could do anything with this data to implicate you and your customers.
That’s not something you’ll want to happen to your website. So, here are the most common web security vulnerabilities and how to tackle them.
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Most Common Web Security Vulnerabilities
1. SQL Injection
SQL Injection is a web attack that involves malicious SQL statements. With a successful SQL attack, a hacker can gain access to your website’s SQL database to copy, add, edit, or delete data it contains. SQL injection is the most common web security vulnerability as the majority of websites use an SQL database.
You can tackle SQL injection by being wary of user input. Hackers, after finding vulnerable inputs within your websites send the SQL codes as a normal user input. Hence, it’s ideal not to trust any user input. Ensure that all user inputs are validated before allowing them on your website.
2. Broken Authentication
Broken authentication has to do with various web vulnerabilities. However, they all involve bypassing authentication methods featured on websites. Most of the broken authentication attacks involve credential stuffing, improper session timeout, and passwords not salted & hashed. These allow attackers to bypass authentication and impersonate legitimate users.
Multi-factor authentication is one of the best ways to tackle broken authentication attacks. That way, knowing a user’s credential – user name and password – won’t be enough to gain access to their account. Furthermore, user passwords stored in your database should not only be encrypted but salted and hashed.
3. Cross-Site Scripting
Also known as XSS attacks, this is a web vulnerability that has to do with client-side code injection. Typically, the attack inputs malicious codes on a web page which will be executed once the web page is visited. It is an input vulnerability and happens mostly to websites that allow user comments.
Just like SQL injection, XSS can be tackled by monitoring user input. Each user input should be filtered and only safe and valid input should be allowed. Also, you can encode data on output and make use of a Content Security Policy (CSP). The policy can help reduce damages any XSS attack could cause.
4. Security Misconfiguration
When as a website owner you fail to establish all the necessary security protocols and controls for your web server, you make it vulnerable to web attacks. That’s what security misconfiguration is. Also, you could implement these security controls and do so with one or two errors that still make it vulnerable.
Security misconfiguration is relatively easy to handle. You simply need to understand how your website works, pick the best security measures for it, and ensure everything is implemented carefully. Use strong admin passwords and block unauthorized access to your server. Occasionally run scans to detect and fix any security lapses.
5. Insecure Direct Object References(IDOR)
It’ll be hard for an attacker to find an insecure direct object reference (IDOR) on your website. However, if they do, they can very easily exploit it and the consequences can be grave. This vulnerability simply involves unauthorized access using unvalidated user input. Hackers can reference objects in your web server directly.
The first thing you can do in tackling IDOR is to detect them which is very technical. You need to do this first before any hacker finds it. Then, you can replace object references using secure hashes or using indirect object references. Next, ensure proper session management and always check object-level user access controls.
6. Cross-site Request Forgery
When a user visits a website, the browser automatically sends authentication tokens for every request. An attacker can use a malicious web page to alter the interactions between the user browser and the website being visited. This allows them to gain access to the user’s previous authentication cookies for the visited website.
Session authentication can help you tackle cross-site request forgery. This can be achieved by issuing tokens for every active user session that will verify that it's the real user sending requests to the website. This is known as token-based mitigation and you can use state or stateless token patterns.
Web security is broad as there are lots of possible vulnerabilities you have to tackle. Nevertheless, you can focus on the important ones which are the most common.
If your web security is breached, you could suffer serious data loss and give away user private data which will do harm to your brand’s image. By tackling the most common web security vulnerabilities as discussed in this post, you’ll be able to safeguard your websites.