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Web Application Security, or Web AppSec in short, is one of the most widely used jargons in the cybersecurity industry for a very good reason.
However, to understand why the tech community is so concerned about web application security, we must take a step back and look at how the present world functions.
Today, we live in a connected world that relies heavily on the internet. We use hundreds of web applications in our daily lives as we do routine chores, including checking emails, conducting banking transactions, instant messaging, accessing social networks, and browsing web pages.
As a result, web applications handle critical information, from private details to sensitive financial and other confidential information. Suppose anyone were to gain unauthorized access to such information.
In that case, they can use it for their benefit by not just stealing funds from the compromised accounts but also finding various ways of monetizing such data and even end compromising the entire systems we rely heavily on upon.
Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for various web application vulnerabilities that they can potentially exploit to gain access or disrupt their functioning.
A few of the most common web application security risks include vulnerabilities in design, open-source code, third-party widgets, weakness in APIs, and access control.
These web application vulnerabilities are exploited by launching various attacks, including brute force, SQL injection, Man-in-the-middle attacks, cookie poisoning, cross-site scripting, credential stuffing, session hijacking, insecure deserialization, and more.
In recent times, such attacks are on a consistent upward trend, causing estimated losses of close to $6 trillion across industries. The severity of such attacks and their potential to disrupt regular operations and cause huge loss of value and even lives in worst-case scenarios call for enhanced security for web applications.
The long list of vulnerabilities and the sheer number of web applications present ample opportunities for cybercriminals. To thwart such attempts, various specialized tools and software are implemented by various organizations and even individuals.
These tools include firewalls, user authentication and access management solutions, app vulnerability scanner, cookie management, traffic visibility, and more.
To be safer, it is always advisable to run periodic security audits of web applications. Such practice will help identify potential vulnerability before it is exploited and prepare the team to handle all eventualities.
The most commonly reviewed features during the web application security audit include application and server configuration, input validation and error handling, authentication and sessions management, authorizations, and more.
Any vulnerabilities identified during the audit will be classified based on the severity, along with tips for remediation. With such an audit report, developers can efficiently prioritize their work to address the most serious and high-risk vulnerability first to minimize potential losses.
Web Application Security will continue to remain relevant for the foreseeable future, and the threats web apps face will keep evolving. Keeping one’s guard always up is the best and the only way to deal with it.