Security Vulnerabilities in Web Applications

Publication Date

December 28, 2023


Did you know that security vulnerabilities in web applications are the most common entry point for cyber attacks?

More than 79% of data breaches this year were caused by these vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities provide attackers with an easy gateway. This calls for strong security measures to protect web applications.

As web applications have become an integral part of today’s digital world, vulnerabilities that make them weak are attractive targets for cyber attackers. Exploitation of these vulnerabilities can lead to serious consequences such as data breaches, financial losses and reputational damage.

The increasing reliance on web applications in a digitalized business and personal life has created many vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. These threats can put entire systems at risk and compromise sensitive data.

Some of the most common security vulnerabilities in web applications include

1 – Injection Attacks:

Injection attacks occur when attackers inject malicious commands or code into an application’s database. This is a type of attack that is implemented through SQL, LDAP or other query languages for database access.

For example, on an online shopping site, when a user logs in, the information entered is transmitted directly as the answer to an SQL query. By inserting a malicious SQL code into this input form, an attacker can access the database and steal sensitive customer information.

2 – Authentication and Session Management:

Authentication and session management vulnerabilities occur when users’ identities are mismanaged. This can lead to unauthorized access and identity theft.

For example, if an employee who remotely accesses a company’s internal network uses a weak password, an attacker can crack this weak password to infiltrate the corporate network and access confidential information.

3 – Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF):

CSRF causes malicious transactions to be performed without the users’ knowledge. In this type of attack, the attacker can exploit the trust of users and direct them to take malicious actions.

For example, while browsing a trusted social media site, a user clicks on a post containing a malicious link. This click allows the user to take an unwanted action on another site without realizing it.

4 – Privilege Escalation Flaw:

Privilege escalation is gaining access to higher privileges by exceeding normal user permissions. This is accomplished by exploiting vulnerabilities in the system.

For example, the admin panel of a company’s web application may be accidentally left open to a normal user. This access is caused by a vulnerability in the system and gives the user or attacker access to sensitive data.

How Can We Address Web Application Vulnerabilities?

Addressing web application vulnerabilities requires a proactive strategy and a comprehensive approach. This process includes security-related design and development phases of applications, regular vulnerability scans and security training. Adopting secure coding practices minimizes technical vulnerabilities, while an effective incident response and response plan ensures quick action in the event of a breach. This approach combines technological measures with the human factor to protect web applications against multifaceted threats.

Here are some key steps to help you effectively address these vulnerabilities:

1 – Identifying Vulnerabilities:

Regularly scanning systems and identifying vulnerabilities is the first step in identifying vulnerabilities.
When a company regularly scans its web application for vulnerabilities using automated security scanning tools, it identifies potential threats early. This way, it has time to take precautions before the attacker does.

2 – Secure Coding Applications:

Secure coding involves writing code in a secure way to prevent injection attacks and many other common vulnerabilities.
A software development team can improve their applications by using parameterized queries to protect against SQL injections. To stay up to date with these and many more secure coding practices, gamification technologies and platforms that enable much more effective learning can be used.

3 – Use of Data Encryption:

Encrypting sensitive data ensures that information is protected even in the event of a breach.”
By encrypting customer information and credit card details, an e-commerce site prevents unauthorized access to this information.

4 – Regular Safety Tests:

Periodic security testing reveals vulnerabilities before an attacker discovers them and allows them to be closed, continuously strengthening the system’s defenses.
A company can assess the security of its system by having comprehensive security tests performed twice a year by a professional security firm.

5 – Incident Response and Response Plan Development:

An incident response and response plan ensures a fast and effective response in the event of a security breach.
In the event of a data breach, the company can quickly deploy an Incident Response and Response Team and follow pre-defined and drill-developed steps to minimize damages.

If you want to manage the cyber security risks of your organization and the 3rd parties that provide products and services to your organization, we kindly ask you to fill out our form to get information about our TRiM service we can offer.