Web Application Security Best Practices: A Developer’s Guide

Because web applications can be accessed from anywhere, they are possible targets for anyone in the world. And the sheer number of things that can go wrong can make it difficult to know where to start when thinking about securing a web application. Tammy Xu is a former Built In staff reporter covering software development and trends across the tech industry. A former software developer for Dow, she holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. All access decisions will be based on the principle of least privilege. Additionally, after an account is created, rights must be specifically added to that account to grant access to resources.

web application security practices

Today, every small business must have an online presence, but they often lack the internal teams to maintain a secure web presence. Detectify scans web applications for 2,000+ security test cases, including and beyond OWASP. Crashtest is a pure-play vulnerability scanning tool meant only for websites, web applications, and API-based web services. It scans your application landscape for all attack vectors identified by the OWASP, giving you a detailed report with remediation links and how to fix them. Crashtest has a support team to assist you in fixing the vulnerabilities.

Step 2. Securing database access

While chasing ever-changing requests from users and trying to keep up, software developers and owners put off documenting changes to the software and risk their web security. From a security standpoint, this is a huge mistake that can cost a company quite a lot. SQL injection, where attackers use a malicious SQL code to manipulate a backend database into revealing information. Hackers can then steal sensitive information or tamper with it, all within the application.

  • Allow security service vendors, security tools vendors, and consumers to align their requirements and offerings.
  • A third-party professional will not only test your web app but conduct a full security audit of it while performing penetration testing.
  • Essentially, a WAF manages all aspects of real-time monitoring of your web app’s security aspects like session management.
  • AT&T Cybersecurity works with Redshield to ensure our clients’ applications are kept safe through constant monitoring and mitigation.
  • Having a list of sensitive assets to protect can help you understand the threat your organization is facing and how to mitigate them.
  • Although it didn’t offer much in terms of user engagement, it posed little or no cyber threats.

Also, if you create an AWS IAM user for a developer that needs access to only one bucket, then filter permissions and give them access to only that S3 bucket. Thus, a subject should be given only those privileges needed to complete its task. This service collects data from many other services like AWS Macie or AWS Inspector . Now, we will discuss tools and actions for keeping your AWS infrastructure sustainable.

Helpful tools

For example, using weak passwords or not securing your sessions well are chances that tokens may be reused later. So, hackers can steal your session credentials, break your application, or steal data. Injection attacks allow attackers to spoof identity, tamper with existing data, and even disclose all your application’s data. So, this intervention can lead to data loss or severe changes in the database structure. Besides what we’ve already outlined in this post, there are a few other more „immediate“ web application security suggestions that you can implement as a website or business owner.

web application security practices

Web application vulnerabilities allow bad actors to gain unauthorized control over the source code, manipulate private information, or disrupt the application’s regular operation. In this guide, we will cover what web application security is, how it works, and which tools you can use to secure your web application. If you aren’t the only one on your team, how the others engage with your web application can either make or mar its security. As the owner or project manager, it’s your responsibility to bring everyone up to speed on healthy web application practices.

This helps mitigate the risk of an attacker using a hijacked session. An incident handling plan should be drafted and tested on a regular basis. The contact list of people to involve in a security incident related to the application should be well defined and kept up to date. Security focused code reviews can be one of the most effective ways to find security bugs. Regularly review your code looking for common issues like SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting. For all pages requiring protection by HTTPS, the same URL should not be accessible via the insecure HTTP channel.

Why You Need an Effective Web Application Security

It also increases the respect that your brand has in the hacking community and, consequently, the general brand perception. If you have a bounty program and treat white-hat hackers fairly, your brand is perceived as mature and proud of its security stance. You may strengthen such perception by publicly disclosing bounty program payoffs and responsibly sharing information about any security vulnerability discoveries and data breaches. One of the best ways to check if your sensitive information is safe is to perform mock attacks.

web application security practices

Visitors of a website or an application can only access certain parts of it if they have the proper permissions – that’s because of the access controls. If, for example, you run a website that allows different sellers to list their products, you need to give them access to adding new products and managing their sales. Fake account creation attacks are becoming more difficult to detect and prevent as hackers are constantly looking for new ways to forge or steal identities.

Important Web Application Security Best Practices

Additionally, should the encryption status change, the session token should always be regenerated. This means we aren’t looking for the frequency rate in an app, rather, we are looking for the number of applications that had one or more instances of a CWE. We can calculate the incidence rate based on the total number of applications tested in the dataset compared to how many applications each CWE was found in.

web application security practices

The fact of the matter is that most web applications have many vulnerabilities. The Open Web Application Security Project , a non-profit organization focused on improving software security, has just updated its list of the top ten vulnerabilities for businesses. The OWASP Top 10 ranking outlines the most critical security threats to modern online applications, organized by perceived significance.

It enables attackers to exploit an implementation flaw or compromise authentication tokens. Once it occurs, attackers can assume a legitimate user identity permanently or temporarily. As a result, the system’s ability to identify a client or user is compromised, which threatens the overall API security of the application. Insecure design covers many application weaknesses that occur due to ineffective or missing security controls. Applications that do not have basic security controls capable of against critical threats. While you can fix implementation flaws in applications with secure design, it is not possible to fix insecure design with proper configuration or remediation.

However, it’s important to plan for each new update, as this requires designing the appropriate architecture in order to avoid API compatibility issues when upgrading to new versions. First, you should ensure your container images web application security practices are signed with a digital signature tool (e.g., Docker Content Trust). It’s also important to run automatic scans for open-source vulnerabilities to secure the use of the container throughout the common integration pipeline.

Application Security: The Complete Guide

Just as developers can write code to fetch data from an organization’s system, attackers can do the same with a piece of malware. They can use malicious apps and APIs to wreak havoc on unsuspecting users. The goal is to infect innocent users with malware so attacks can later be launched against organizations or even individuals. To make the process of digital identity implementation secure, you can also use multi-factor authentication and cryptographic-based authentication . These techniques provide an extra layer of web application security to identity and access management programs.

How to Rapidly Evolve API Security to Meet New FFIEC Compliance Guidelines

It is a Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Also, the password must be able to ‘age’ so the system enforces its change. The first level is for the low assurance level, and the third is for the most secure. So, it will save you money by reducing the load from your origin server. Furthermore, it will also give you the ability to configure geo-restrictions and other features.

Uphold Standard Login Practices

Dynamic application security testing uses remote testing of deployed and running code to find openings. The DAST tools send lots of requests with malformed packets to the code with the intention of finding holes. Carrying out security audits frequently is encouraged to help companies detect possible vulnerabilities in systems promptly. This guarantees web apps are kept from targeted attacks and examines whether teams follow predetermined security practices.

User authentication management

It’s all the strategies, tools, and technologies you should use to prevent these attacks from compromising your code and your clients’ private data. These sectors are the most popular among hackers; however, if your web application or website is in another domain, it’s not a reason to relax. If your database stores information about your users, that’s reason enough to protect your software and eliminate any security issues. White-box testing will give you a list of clear gaps, ambiguous vulnerabilities, and code that might lead to an attack somewhere down the line.

There are a few standard security measures that should be implemented however applications-specific vulnerabilities need to be researched and analyzed. By categorizing your applications like this, you can reserve extensive testing for critical ones and use less intensive testing for less critical ones. This allows you to make the most effective use of your company’s resources and will help you achieve progress more quickly.