5 cyber security tips to keep your web applications secure

Computer Security

An independent study in 2016 revealed that a hacker attack takes place every 39 seconds on average.

What was even more alarming was that the computers that were observed in the study recorded an average of 2,200 attacks per day.

Apart from revealing how aggressive hackers have become, these stats also highlight the important role that web application monitoring tools and services play in securing web applications.

Hackers are often depicted in the movies to be in front of expensive-looking computer set-ups, trying to hack into a computer network manually. The reality, however, is that hackers often use automated programs and scripts that are programmed to scan thousands of computers simultaneously to look for vulnerabilities and weaknesses in security.

Although not as cinematic as portrayed in the movies, this constant probing attack requires equally aggressive security measures.

Why You Need to Protect Your Web Applications

In-house app security has been struggling to stay one step ahead of hackers in recent years. Statistics on data breaches and server intrusions within the past few years provide further evidence that on-premises app security measures are incapable of providing sufficient protection for organizations.

What makes web application protection even more vital is that most web app development processes usually forgo on-premises security solutions because it increases the complexity of the app development exponentially. Some organizations do employ several approaches to improve app security such as using software to review codes and manual testing. However, these approaches are severely wanting when it comes to addressing a wide app security threat surface. These are the reasons why hackers focus most of their efforts on web apps.

Statistics also show that web applications are the primary attack vector for most hacking attempts, making up more than half of app-related data security breaches. It is therefore imperative for organizations and enterprises to employ tools and solutions in conducting regular tests and in monitoring web applications.

The following are 5 very helpful tips for securing web applications for 2020.

Employing Web App Monitoring Solutions and Services

Acquiring tools and monitoring services for your web apps is one of the most vital steps that you should take to improve the security of your applications. Among the most important functions of web app monitoring tools is to conduct application security assessments. Those that are identified are quickly assessed for its level of risk, with the critical weaknesses being prioritized for resolution.

Some vulnerabilities can also come in the form of old websites that are still partially live and web applications that the organization may have lost track of or have completely forgotten. App monitoring tools can also seek out these potential security leaks and shut them down. Tools that include automated random testing and analysis of web apps should also be able to help you further improve the security of your applications.

Supplement Automated Scanning with a Manual Source Code Audit

Automated web application risk and security assessment tools can identify all technical vulnerabilities better and deliver faster results than even the most experienced penetration analyzer. However, such a tool will likely miss logical vulnerabilities, which can only be detected with a manual audit. Using both automated security assessment and manual source code edit will therefore be essential in identifying all types of vulnerabilities. It is important to note, however, that a manual audit can be time-consuming, costly, and can still miss some logical vulnerabilities.

Test Throughout the SDLC Process

If you are building your own web application, you should start testing and detecting for vulnerabilities throughout the software development life cycle or SDLC. Hackers can only start scanning and probing your app for weaknesses when it becomes live. Therefore, you are beating them to the punch by looking for vulnerabilities prior to the deployment of the app. Developers who have access to the code can use a white box scanner, which gives them an advantage when identifying vulnerabilities before a web app becomes live.

Learn More About How Vulnerabilities Can Be Exploited

The methods of hackers may be constantly evolving, but they often probe for the most common web app vulnerabilities. It will do you well to understand the most common vulnerabilities that hackers often exploit. These include SQL injection attacks, broken authentications, cross-site scripting, weak deserialization and faking request scripts.

Have Pros Try To Breach Your Security

After assessing, testing and resolving the most critical vulnerabilities, the best way to test your security is to have pros help you try to hack into the app. However, make sure not to mess anything up and do the testing in an isolated environment to eliminate the risk of your host banning your IP when it detects that you are attacking your own web app.

If All Else Fails…

It is always best to prepare for the worst-case scenario such as an infection or the dreaded security breach. While a good number of host providers will have backups of your website in case of an attack, it will still be a good idea that you regularly backup your data. However, make sure to identify and resolve the issue that caused the downtime before making your website go live again.