Published on June 18th, 2019 | by Bibhuranjan


Six Web Security Vulnerabilities You Can, and Should, Prevent

Operating a website or having an app means more than updating the content and design. These are important user-facing details that deserve your attention, but it’s the behind-the-scenes stuff that can really affect their experience with your brand.

Security vulnerabilities are one of those things.

Cyber security should be the biggest concern of today’s tech-connected world. Not only can a vulnerability spell disaster for your business, it can release the personal information of your employees and customers, and once that information is out there, you can never get it back.

When reassessing the security of your website, app, or business software, make sure you prevent these five common vulnerabilities.

Security Misconfiguration

Building a website or an application is hard, even for developers. It isn’t uncommon for there to be plenty of mistakes during programming. A few examples include:

  • Running outdated software and plugins
  • Running unnecessary services and programs
  • Not changing default passcodes
  • Leaking information when directory listings are accidentally enabled

Unfortunately, these simple mistakes can cause huge problems. For example, 78-percent of examined code bases have been found with at least one vulnerability. A whopping 64 vulnerabilities was the average.

To fix this problem, make sure you run tests on any configurations you deploy. An automated program can make the process go more quickly, and it can ensure things don’t fall through the cracks.

Authentication and Authorization Failures

Authentication and authorization aren’t the same thing. Authentication involves confirming someone is who they claim to be. Authorization involves giving access to particular users. Both can be disastrous when it comes to security.

Broken authentication may allow those to pose as another when accessing important information, as would be the case if passwords aren’t encrypted. In this case, implementing the right framework can help.

Authorization failures may include allowing people to access a particular server, even if they aren’t authorized. Setting up the proper authorizations, and updating it regularly, is an absolutely must.

Sensitive Data Exposure

Chances are, there is a lot of sensitive data being held by your servers. It might mean company secrets or personal information, but customers can be at risk too. Using a credit card on a website or an app that is hacked could mean their identity is stolen.

Sensitive data should be encrypted at all times. That means doing things like using HTTPS with the proper certificate and using the secure flag on cookies.

One of the best ways to decrease vulnerabilities is to decrease your exposure. That means getting rid of sensitive data you don’t need.

Small companies may opt to not allow customers to keep their credit card numbers on file. Make sure important data that is stored and accessed using passwords are hashed.

Failure to Filter Untrusted Inputs

How much attention are you paying to the imported information on your platform? It could probably use more of your attention.

Information, updates, or anything else that is imported into your system must go through a filter. You should do it even if the source is trusted. There’s always a possibility that they got the information from someone else and didn’t filter it themselves.

Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards

Unvalidated redirects and forwards is another filtering issue that can end up sending users to a malware website. That’s not something you want to do to your customers, and it’s not something you want happening to your employees as they browse the web.

If you can cut redirects out of your sites and systems completely, you should do it. If not, have a static list of valid locations to ensure nothing goes awry.

Using Vulnerable Components

Never use components that may cause a vulnerability problem. That might mean taking a closer look at the new code you’re incorporating to see exactly where it came from. Never copy-and-paste code unless it was created just for you, or it came from a trusted source.

Always keep an eye on third party software that you’re using. If it hasn’t been patched or updated regularly, it can pose a huge security risk. Make sure you don’t miss possible issues by subscribing to third party newsletters, so you’ll be updated anytime a vulnerability is discovered or an update is rolled out.

Tech is making life easier and easier every day, but it can come with huge security costs if you aren’t careful. Keep an eye open for vulnerabilities that can pop up on your website, apps, and internal software to ensure all of your most precious information doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

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About the Author

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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