Nature Of Web-Security Analysis

Introduction

 
In this article, we are going to look at security in web applications and websites. Security is the central component of any web-based business. Web application security is primarily concerned with the security surrounding websites, web applications, and web services i.e. Application Programming Interfaces. The risk of a security breach makes Security a very large component of the web application business as this can result in the loss of thousands or millions of dollars if any web application has been attacked depending on its primary functions. Common web attacks target to either manipulate sensitive data or to gain unauthorized access to user accounts to use the user's information for malicious activities. Attacks against web applications range from targeted database manipulation to large-scale network disruption.
 
Therefore, there is a need for Security measures to be put in place to protect the integrity, application reputation, and confidentiality. We will first look at the threats that web applications have and then look at the security measures which can be put in place to mitigate such attacks.
 

Examples of Attacks

 
SQL Injection (SQLi)
 
Using this method, the attacker makes use of the Structured Query Language to exploit vulnerabilities and executes database SQL statements through user input. Commonly, attackers use SQL Injection to obtain unauthorized information in the form of search queries or create new user permissions, or in most severe cases to destroy sensitive data.
 
Command Injection
 
This method makes use of system commands that target the host’s Operating System to execute malicious commands that may reveal sensitive data or cause the Operating System to misbehave in a way that the attacker prefers. Through the use of versatile tools such as Netcat, attackers may remotely create a Shell to get every data traffic from a given targeted server and they may use this data for malicious activities.
 
Cross-site scripting (XSS)
 
XSS allows an attacker to inject client-side scripts into a webpage to access sensitive information directly from unsuspecting users. Attackers may impersonate the user, or trick the user into revealing their confidential information through client-side scripts and they may use this information to gain unauthorized access into the web application or website and perform malicious activities.
 
Denial-of-Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks
 
In some cases, attackers can overload a targeted server or its surrounding infrastructure with different types of attack traffic so that the server will no longer be able to process incoming requests effectively. When the targeted server is overwhelmed by the traffic it makes it inefficient and this may cause it to deny access to authorized users.
 
Code Injection
 
Code injection involves the use of code segments to maliciously attack a web page. In this kind of attack, the attacker will know the language used to write this web application or website so they may pick a base class or function which they know they can manipulate to cause the application to behave in a way they prefer or return results which they know will be useful in their attack. For example, the attacker may use Code Injection to unintentionally modify the application's memory allocation in the host server. They will attempt to sniff out and exploit memory corruption and this may result in the application’s unexpected behavior.
 
Data breach
 
Data breach generally refers to the release of sensitive or confidential information. It occurs through malicious actions or it can occur by mistake. This is different from specific attack vectors which can be intentional and target certain websites or web pages for a specific purpose. A data breach has a very wide scope but it is very important to mitigate it as it may also result in loss of large sums of money or lack of customer/user trust due to lack of confidentiality.
 

Web Security measures

 
Certain measures need to be carried out to ensure that you are safe from malicious attacks on the web. It is also good practice to look at the common attack vectors, how they are implemented, and their consequences to devise a mitigation plan depending on the nature of the web application. Below are some of the measures which can be utilized to ensure security on the web.
 
Input Validation
 
One of the most common ways to mitigate attacks on webpages is to use strict input validation. Given that most attack vectors come through user input, webpages must validate the user's input on the client-side. This blocks any malicious input from reaching the application's back-end layout. Special characters such "|”,”, ‘, & should be blocked as user input as they can be used malicious input to attack some back-end logic.
 
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
 
WAF helps protect a web application against malicious HTTP traffic. By placing a filtration barrier between the targeted server and the attacker. WAF checks/sniffs every input from untrusted users and helps block your site from attacks such as SQL Injection and cross-site scripting.
 
A WAF protects your web application by filtering, monitoring, and monitoring any malicious HHTP/S traffic on your web application. It also prevents unauthorized data from leaving the web application by adhering to a set of policies that help determine what traffic is malicious/safe. WAF protects the application (Layer 7). WAF is usually watching the user, session, and application activities and is also aware of any subsystems or services surrounding the application and what they offer. So in a way, it works as a mediator between the user and the application analyzing any traffic between the two before they receive it.
 
Example
Nature Of Web-Security Analysis
Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
 
An IPS is a well-known product for web security. It can check for vulnerabilities and attack vectors based on a signature database and established policies. It establishes a standard from its database and sends alerts whenever it receives any traffic that deviates from its standards. It continually updates its policies over time as new vulnerabilities come into play. It protects traffic across arrange of network protocols such as DNS, SMTP, TELNET, RDP, SSH, and FTP.IPS protects the network, session, and application layers.
 
Example 
Nature Of Web-Security Analysis
Scan your website for vulnerabilities
 
One of the most common practices before and after deploying your web application or website is to scan for website or server vulnerabilities. Several online tools can be used to measure how secure your web application is. Scanning your web application should be done regularly especially if you have made any changes to the application.
 

Use A Strong Password Policy/Password Hashing

 
Normally attackers may use sophisticated software tools to crack passwords by brute force. More complex passwords containing special characters, small and upper case letters and their length has to be at least 10 characters. Another technique is to store encrypted passwords. Storing passwords in plain text may be a risk both internally or externally. The use of one –way hashing or any other encryption method is safer and secure especially when an intrusion occurs.
 
SSL Encryption on the Log-In pages
 
SSL allows sensitive information to be transmitted securely. Data encrypted using SSL will be meaningless to anyone who might intercept it. It is commonly used on transmitting credit card information, login credentials, and any other data that may be deemed sensitive.
 
Backup your Data
 
Backing up your data is one of the popular ways of ensuring data security. Just in case a malicious attacker is not interested in any information that you have but has intentions to destroy your information to cause disrepute. A backup schedule must be maintained so that in case of any loss of data the information can easily be restored. Backups should be done both on the same server and a remote server and this ensures a tight security approach in case the attack comes on any of the servers.
 
Security Experts
 
It is a noble practice to hire a Security expert responsible for monitoring and managing all your security concerns. Specialization of security concerns may prove to be sustainable since the Security personnel will be concentrating only on security issues and will give them time to fully scan your website/s or web application/s for vulnerabilities, perform a timely security audit on the website/web application, monitor any malicious activities and be on guard if the need arises.
 

Conclusion

 
Security is a big concern in all applications and should be treated with the utmost value as this may lead to the total collapse of an organization. The consequences of a security breach may range from internal distrust to customer or user distrust. Ensuring a safe recovery after such huge impacts may not be certain depending on the amount of damage caused.
 
Some of the effects of a security breach may include, but are not limited to:
  • Reputational damage
  • Financial loss