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What vulnerabilities or attacks does a web application face?

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Introduction

Even the most skilled CIO and online security specialist must remain cautious and on the lookout for unscrupulous actors. Nobody is secure if they don’t know what to look out for. Here are some of the most prevalent vulnerabilities or attacks of web applications that you must guard against.

Injection

As a developer, you should be well-versed in injections. We have all heard about the disastrous consequences of having an injection bug in your application.

When untrusted data is given to an interpreter as part of a command or query, this might result in an injection. The attacker’s hostile data can fool the interpreter into executing unwanted instructions or accessing data without authority. This is due to user-supplied data that the program has not checked, filtered, or sanitized.

Most of you may think this is self-evident; however, your application should not rely exclusively on front-end validation. Always verify your data at the server level, and it is rather simple to avoid front-end validation.

Broken Authentication

Broken authentication appears to be the root cause of many security problems. This is primarily due to faulty implementation. Authentication and session management functionalities in applications are frequently performed poorly. As a result, attackers can corrupt passwords, keys, or session tokens or leverage other implementation weaknesses to permanently or temporarily assume other users’ credentials. And it’s all because the code did not function properly.

You could, however, take certain precautions. To avoid automated information stuffing, brute strength, and stolen information re-use threats, you should employ multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Moreover, you should never ship or implement any login credentials, especially for admin users. This may appear to be self-evident, but it occurs much too frequently.

Sensitive Data Exposure

Many online services and APIs fail to adequately safeguard sensitive data, such as financial and healthcare information. Attackers may steal or alter such vulnerable data to commit credit card fraud, identity theft, or other crimes. When communicating with the browser, sensitive data may be compromised without additional safeguards, necessitating specific measures.

You want to know how data is transported to determine if your application is susceptible. Is any data sent in plain text? This applies to protocols like HTTP, SMTP, and FTP. You should also check that no obsolete or weak cryptographic techniques are being employed, as these are easily cracked.

Encrypting all sensitive data at rest is probably one of the most excellent strategies to protect sensitive information from being leaked.

XML External Entities

An XML External Entities attack is a form of attack against a program that parses XML data. Many outdated or incorrectly configured XML processors examine external entity references included within XML documents. Using the file URI handler, internal file sharing, internal port scanning, remote code execution, and denial of service attacks, external entities can be utilized to expose internal files.

Broken Access Control

Restrictions on what authorized users may do are usually not effectively enforced. Often, people have too many permissions, which invites complications.

Intruders can leverage these weaknesses to gain unauthorized access to services or data, such as accessibility to other users’ accounts, seeing sensitive files, modifying other users’ data, and changing access privileges.

Security Misconfiguration

The most prevalent problem is security misconfiguration. Insecure default setups, inadequate or misconfigured HTTP headers, and verbose error messages containing sensitive information are frequent causes.

To reduce the possibility of security misconfiguration, avoid adding or enabling superfluous functionality, avoid providing users with stack traces or other unduly descriptive error messages that can be provided through error management. Change the default accounts and passwords.

Insecure Deserialization

Deserialization can be difficult to exploit, and this is because off-the-shelf exploits rarely function without adjustments or tweaks to the underlying attack code.

The hazards are quite substantial. Insecure deserialization often results in remote code execution. Even though deserialization issues do not allow for remote code execution, they can be exploited to launch replay attacks, injection attacks, and privilege escalation threats.

There are a few steps you may take to avoid unsafe deserialization. Implementing an integrity check, such as digital signatures, on any serialized objects is one option, and this inhibits the formation of hostile objects or data manipulation.

Another option is to impose stringent type restrictions during deserialization before object formation. It should be noted that bypasses to this strategy have been established, and therefore relying completely on this is not recommended.

If feasible, separate and execute code that deserializes in low-privilege settings. If it is not feasible, you could always report deserialization errors and exceptions, such as when the incoming type isn’t the anticipated type.

Stanford’s advanced computer security program can help you learn about prevalent vulnerabilities or attacks of web applications and how they can be prevented.

Using Components With Known Vulnerabilities

Some developers will employ components with known vulnerabilities to get the code to function, and they all run with the same permissions as the program. An attack that takes advantage of a fragile component might possibly result in significant data loss or server takeover. Applications and APIs that use components with known vulnerabilities may weaken application defenses and enable a variety of attacks and consequences.

You should delete unneeded dependencies, features, and files to reduce this risk. Furthermore, you should constantly analyze all of your components to see any known vulnerabilities. Subscribing to security bulletins is an easy method to accomplish this.

Inadequate logging and tracking

Inadequate logging and tracking and a lack of or a poor interaction with incident response enable attackers to penetrate systems further. This has far-reaching implications. Data could be tampered with, extracted, or destroyed by attackers. Alternatively, they might expand to include more elements.

Conclusion

If an enterprise web application’s vulnerabilities are exploited, a company can suffer significant financial and reputational damages. A positive trend is that businesses are now taking web application security seriously, even if their applications are exclusively for internal use.

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