If you own a web application, security has to be your number one priority. After all, there is no denying that security is a fundamental part of running an online business. There are so many types of cyberattacks with new variants coming up every now and then.
During the first six months of 2020, the number of attacks on web applications increased by 800% in comparison to 2019. This just highlights the significance of web application security. Now, I’m sure you’ve already implemented some security measures on your web app. However, to be fully protected from cybercrime you need to be at the top of the game when it comes to security.
There are a few things you can do to improve security. Let’s take a look at each one separately.
Encryption is a safety measure that is popular in cybersecurity. It encodes data into something unreadable. Therefore, it prevents unauthorized people from accessing information. Encrypted data usually discourages hackers as it is extremely difficult to get sensible and useful data.
Getting an SSL certificate is also important to increase security. This will ensure that all the sensitive data, like credit card information and bank details, will be sent across the network in encrypted form.
2. Know and Track Assets
Familiarize yourself with all the assets in your web application and track them for weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Apart from this, classify the assets into various categories according to function or vulnerabilities. You are doing this so that remediation becomes easier if an attack was to happen.
3. Setting the right permissions
Only the administrator requires all the permissions. So make sure to give everyone else restricted permissions. And when you allow the permissions you have to give everyone the minimum access that they require. You can also create roles and grant a group of people the same permissions.
4. Security Testing
Conducting regular web application security testing is really the best security measure you can take. While performing security testing or audit, you will go over everything in your web application. This will help you uncover any security weaknesses and rectify them. This will sharpen your security system and prepare it for any cyber-attack.
There are so many tools and services that you can use for security testing. It is difficult to perform an efficient security audit manually. Therefore, you can opt for automated tools or just fully rely on security experts for the audit.
5. Validate User Input
Validating user input means ensuring that the type of input given by the user is exactly what is required in that field. This is important because hacks use input fields to implement attacks like SQLi or XSS. A simple way to implement input validation is by verifying input length and type before processing that information.
6. Review Code
Usually, we review the code of the web application to improve software architecture. However, it is equally important to review code for web security purposes. And this process would be more effective if people who are not the developers of the code also review it.
7. Two-Factor Authentication
Gone are the days when single-factor authentication would make your application secure enough to prevent cyber-attacks. Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of protection that increases security and prevents brute force attacks. This layer can be an OTP to your mobile number/email, biometric, access codes, key card, etc.
8. Backup and Update
Backup all of the data frequently. If your web application becomes a victim of a cyber-attack, the testers may alter or delete some data. Sometimes, you might have to delete the data so that it does not fall into the wrong hands. For these reasons, you need to have all the data backed up so that you don’t lose it permanently.
You also have to ensure everything is updated. Faulty or outdated plugins can easily be exploited by hackers.
Web Application Security Checklist
A security checklist encapsulates all the tasks you need to do to secure your web application. Here’s what it would look like.
1. Defending Threats On The Browser Side
- SSL Certificate
- Secure attribute cookies
- Validate the OAuth
- Use anti-CSRF mechanism
- Create a new session id on logging in
- U2F tokens
2. Defending Threats On Server Side
- Validate user input
- Use 2FA or MFA(Multi-factor authentication)
- Catch exceptions
- restrict access and prevent unwanted permissions
- Use DB queries to avoid SQLi
- Protect and test backups
- Collect security logs
- Collect firewall logs
- Encrypt and authenticate connections
- Create a response plan for cyber-attacks
Web application security is crucial for the smooth running of your online business. Even though you have incorporated some security features into your web app, it might not be enough. This post talks about some of the security measures you can adopt to shield your web application from cyber-attacks.