But while web applications can be great in many ways, they are also – unfortunately – a target for cyber attackers and would-be cyber attackers. Cyberattacks targeting web applications are increasing rapidly. For those without the necessary protection, like WAAP, the results can be extremely devastating for organizations and individual users.
Types of Web Application Attacks
According to research, web application attacks against businesses in the UK have increased by more than 250% since October 2019, shortly before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Between the second and third calendar quarters of 2021 alone, recorded web application attacks skyrocketed by 68%. It is highly likely that this increase in the number of attacks over a two-year period was responsible for most data breaches during this period – with experts estimating that around half of data breaches start with apps website. This equates to billions of compromised records resulting from such attacks each year.
There are several attacks that can target web applications, many of which can lead to data leakage. In a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack, for example, malicious actors trick a web application into executing potentially malicious code that they have downloaded. A second type of attack is known as SQL injection (SQLi). In these attacks, an attacker enters malicious commands into a web form, such as the login or search field. Server-side code then unknowingly submits this request to the database, potentially allowing an attacker to perform actions such as deleting or modifying sensitive data. Another type of attack is called local file inclusion (LFI), in which an attacker uses a technique such as directory traversal to create a path to executable code that they can then run.
Web application attacks could be used for anything from vandalism to, as noted, triggering full data breaches. It is these latter attacks that are particularly damaging. A data breach can cause significant reputational damage that is difficult to recover from and can lead to severe financial penalties if it is determined by authorities that appropriate measures have not been put in place to protect the data. users.
Protect yourself from attacks
Protecting against these attacks is crucial. Web application operators can implement several layers of protection. For starters, updating the software will ensure that software vulnerabilities are not exposed. While there’s no guarantee that developers will fix all vulnerabilities (and if it’s a zero-day vulnerability, they might not even know it), in many cases they will act quickly when they become aware of a potential flaw that could cause a problem. security risk.
Ensuring that you use complex passwords to protect the administration areas and servers of the website is also a simple – but effective – way to protect yourself against attacks. Using multi-factor authentication and passwords consisting of upper and lower case characters, numbers and symbols will help make it harder for attackers trying to break in. Measures such as encrypting stored passwords will further help protect user credentials in the event a hacker gains access to a system.
The right cybersecurity protection
However, perhaps the most important step is to use the right cybersecurity measures. Tools like Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) can help protect potentially vulnerable APIs and web applications from attack in ways that many traditional firewalls are unable to do.
WAAP services include a combination of security measures including Next Generation Web Application Firewall, Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP), Malicious Bot Protection, Denial of Service Protection distributed (DDoS), protection against account takeover, etc. By doing so, they can help protect users against attacks such as cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.
Web apps aren’t going away. They make websites more powerful, while simplifying the way applications are deployed. But the security threat remains a real challenge. Since these tools are accessible over the Internet, they are a tempting target for potential hackers.
It is imperative to ensure that you and your users protect against these attacks. Fortunately, as long as the right steps are followed, it is possible to do just that. Fail to do so, on the other hand, and you could be in for a world of trouble. Frankly, the latter is not an option worth considering.