Why do I need to think about web security?

web security

The Web touches almost all areas of human life and has become an important part of it.

Web based applications are used for various critical transactions and they handle sensitive data like personal and financial information.

70% of all websites have vulnerabilities that could lead to customer data disclosure or total system compromise.

By statistics 75% of all vulnerabilities discovered are at the application and server layer.

Web application vulnerabilities have resulted in the theft of millions of credit cards, major financial and reputation damage for hundreds of enterprises.

The most popular attacks include but are not limited to exploits documented by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).


What are the most common attacks?

OWASP lists top 10 vulnerabilities that are widely accepted as the most commonly attacked:

Injection  – Injection flaws, such as SQL, OS, and LDAP injection, occur when untrusted data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. The attacker’s hostile data can trick the interpreter into executing unintended commands or accessing unauthorized data.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) XSS flaws occur whenever an application takes untrusted data and sends it to a web browser without proper validation and escaping. XSS allows attackers to execute scripts in the victim’s browser, which can hijack user sessions, deface web sites, or redirect the user to malicious sites.

Broken Authentication and Session Management – Application functions related to authentication and session management are often not implemented correctly, allowing attackers to compromise passwords, keys, session tokens, or exploit other implementation flaws to assume other users’ identities.

Insecure Direct Object References  – A direct object reference occurs when a developer exposes a reference to an internal implementation object, such as a file, directory, or database key. Without an access control check or other protection, attackers can manipulate these references to access unauthorized data.

Cross Site Requset Forgery (CSRF) – CSRF attack forces a logged-on victim’s browser to send a forged HTTP request, including the victim’s session cookie and any other automatically included authentication information, to a vulnerable web application. This allows the attacker to force the victim’s browser to generate requests the vulnerable application thinks are legitimate requests from the victim.

Security Misconfiguration – Good security requires having a secure configuration defined and deployed for the application, frameworks, application server, web server, database server, and platform. All these settings should be defined, implemented, and maintained as many are not shipped with secure defaults. This includes keeping all software up to date, including all code libraries used by the application.

Insecure Cryptographic Storage – Many web applications do not properly protect sensitive data, such as credit cards, SSNs, and authentication credentials, with appropriate encryption or hashing. Attackers may steal or modify such weakly protected data to conduct identity theft, credit card fraud, or other crimes.

Failure to Restrict URL Access – Many web applications check URL access rights before rendering protected links and buttons. However, applications need to perform similar access control checks each time these pages are accessed, or attackers will be able to forge URLs to access these hidden pages anyway.

Insufficient Transport Layer Protection – Applications frequently fail to authenticate, encrypt, and protect the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive network traffic. When they do, they sometimes support weak algorithms, use expired or invalid certificates, or do not use them correctly.

Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards Web applications frequently redirect and forward users to other pages and websites, and use untrusted data to determine the destination pages. Without proper validation, attackers can redirect victims to phishing or malware sites, or use forwards to access unauthorized pages.

How does Web Security Testing works?

Web Security testing can be clearly divided into two areas: Penetration Testing and Vulnerability analysis.

Web application penetration testing refers to a set of services used to detect various security issues with web applications.

Vulnerability is a security hole in a piece of software, hardware or operating system that provides a potential angle to attack the system. It can be as simple as weak passwords or as complex as buffer overflows or SQL injection vulnerabilities.

Typical penetration testing process has the following steps:

  • Collecting information about the target
  • Automated scanning for vulnerabilities using special software
  • Manual penetration testing
  • Potential damage assessment of each discovered vulnerability
  • Penetration testing report

Even if your site has not been compromised YET, you need to ensure it is safe and secure.