An Ultimate Guide to Web Application Security

Amit Merchant · February 23, 2022 ·

Web application security is not just restricted to protecting the technologies or the features being used in developing an app; it’s more about safeguarding the methods, web servers, and processes. Moreover, it expands its horizons to protect web services such as APIs from online security threats.

In this article, we will discuss web application security, why it is needed, how it works, and what are the best practices for secure web application development.

What Is Web Application Security?

Most of the time, cybercriminals target applications and the associated vulnerabilities. That’s when web security policies and products come into play to protect the applications through potential security measures such as WAFs (Web Application Firewalls), multi-factor authentication, cookies validation to maintain privacy status and user state.

It ensures that best practices are in place to validate user input. The intent is to determine that the source of user input is not malicious and can be processed without posing a threat to information security.

Similar to application security best practices, users often need to check for online threats on their personal computers. For home-based users, nothing can provide more security than antivirus apps. Maintain a strict security strategy and follow a few tips to check if your computer is secure from external security threats.

Importance of Web Application Security

Web Applications are everywhere; they are affecting the world, from shopping online to digital banking to entertainment delivery. Not to mention that web apps are the focal point for attackers who are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities such as weaknesses in APIs, design flaws, third-party widgets, access control, and open-source code.

Some of the common attacks that makes web applications susceptible to security threats are:

  • Brute force
  • SQL Injection
  • Session hijacking
  • Cookie poisoning
  • Credential stuffing
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Formjacking injections
  • Sensitive data disclosure
  • Insecure deserialization

How Does Application Security Work?

Application security has different approaches, and each of them addresses distinct vulnerabilities. WAFs or web application firewalls defend numerous types of security attacks by consistently monitoring and filtering web traffic between an application and its users.

Since the firewalls are configured with policies that administer what traffic is safe and what volume can pose a threat to application security, the WAFs perform a great job in blocking the malicious traffic. The motive is to prevent this traffic from reaching the application and accessing any confidential information.

Best Practices

Web applications are the future as they help businesses target a proliferating volume of users. They bridge the gap between the customer and the business, help develop brand value and offer incredible support in no time.

Although the developers prioritize the importance of web security algorithms during the development phase, new vulnerabilities come up every day. These challenges demand several changes and improvements to web-focused security measures. That’s why developers and post-development teams must keep in mind the best practices to ensure complete web app security.

Let’s have a look at some of these measures in the following section.

Maintain Security Parameters During Development

Maintaining a robust web application security algorithm during the actual development cycle will prevent you from hiring a security consulting team post-production and launch. Not only will it save your time, but it will also benefit you in monetary terms.

Encrypt Data to Avoid Unauthorized Access

Data encryption is widely used to protect data from invalidated access by encoding data to make it inaccessible. Not only does it protect data in transit, but at rest too from unauthorized access. By encoding data, you can protect huge databases and network storage resources from malicious access and other vulnerabilities.

Follow Exception Management to Sense Threats

One of the best development-focused application security practices is to ensure that nothing more than a simple generic error message is displayed on the screen in the event of failure. From a security standpoint, the developers must ensure that to inculcate three possible outcomes that either allow the operation, terminate the operation, or handle an exception.

Validate User Input for Information Security

Unauthorized access can pull sensitive information by using SQL injections and other malicious practices. Input validation ensures that only filtered data passes the web prism. Different types of validation techniques include data type validation, data format validation, and data value validation.

Implement Authentication & Access Control

Apply constructive account management measures such as strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and an easy password recovery mechanism when developing a web app. Provide minimum access rights and privileges to control intruders from performing spam attempts that can result in application breakdown.

Conclusion

All in all, during application design, proper security measures in place can make or break the application. So, avoid any security misconfigurations that can pose a security risk to the application beyond repair.

👋 Hi there! I'm Amit. I write articles about all things web development. If you like what I write and want me to continue doing the same, I would like you buy me some coffees. I'd highly appreciate that. Cheers!

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