IT professionals dedicate a lot of energy to security, creating business continuity plans that include extensive attention to the network, endpoint security and recovering data in the event of a breach. It’s become evident that one area is often overlooked in security strategies: web application vulnerabilities.
Web applications are problematic for data leakage and other issues. Across industries like banking and e-commerce, there’s a lot of sensitive data potentially available to threat actors. Apps also tend to be vulnerable to unauthorized access, and while these problems aren’t new, they tend to be overlooked in security plans.
Cross-site scripting appears to be the most common problem, but there are also threats related to web application vulnerabilities in areas like fingerprinting and brute-force attacks.
Why web applications lag behind: With security and a daily morphing of the threat of a breach keeping IT professionals awake at night, how could web applications be forgotten in a security strategy? After all, many of the problems could be prevented by proper development practices, such as code audits.
One of the persisting problems is simply human behavior, but it’s also critical that developers are brought into the loop so that they are customizing apps to meet the security needs of the enterprise. Developers can’t write appropriate code if they aren’t educated about the consequences of an app with insecure code or ways they can prevent problems within the programming framework.
How web application vulnerabilities are exploited: There are two primary ways threat actors use applications to equip their crimes. The first is by using apps to insert and spread malware throughout an enterprise’s network, as when the Bad Rabbit malware posed as an Adobe Flash Player update to infiltrate networks.
Second, an indirect attack that doesn’t come right through web applications, like a phishing email, can be used to achieve widespread infiltration. Unfortunately, as soon as your web application or website is compromised, your reputation is going to take a hit.
Other key motivators for targeting web application vulnerabilities are data leakage and data theft. Whether it’s customer data or corporate intellectual data, any type of loss is costly and creates headaches across the organization.
How can enterprises protect web applications? The most important step is preventative — using security measures built into the app’s design that prioritize customer security and privacy. These concerns should be included in the early planning stages of any application, with a plan for a web application firewall, password management, and security plugins.
In order for these considerations to be included in the early stages of development, developers need training and education about the importance of removing web application vulnerabilities.
If you need guidance in building a balanced security approach within a comprehensive business continuity plan, contact us at VoIP Innovations. We can help you leverage the tools to manage web application security and get some sleep at night, too.