Top 6 Best Practices for Secure Web and Application Development
In the last few years, we witnessed the world switch to remote work. Probably the use of cloud-based enterprise systems was more than ever before. However, the application security teams had to deal with a growing number of security challenges.
According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, the most common cause of data breaches in 2019 were Web application vulnerabilities, which accounted for a 43% share. Due to the heavy cost of data breaches, businesses started relying on application security. This has led to a whopping rise in the best practices for creating a secure web and app development.
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Creating Secure Web and Application Development: Top Best Practices
Web applications are quite vulnerable to attack due to internet exposure. The attackers use multiple ways like manipulating source code and user inputs through the web, machine inputs through APIs, gaining unauthorized access, stealing confidential data, causing hindrance with regular app operations, etc.
Web application vulnerabilities like SQL Injection, Cross-Site Scripting, Remote File Inclusion, Cross-Site Request Forgery, etc are common. SQL Injection happens when there is the use of malicious SQL code causing unauthorized data listing, table deletion, unauthorized administrative access, etc. Similarly, XSS lets the attacker access user accounts, inject viruses like Trojans, deface a website, etc. Remote File Inclusion or RFI injecting files into the web application server upsets the web server and leads to data theft. Cross-Site Request Forgery or CSRF is also a common form of attack in which there are fraud funds transfers, password changes, data theft, etc.
Web application vulnerabilities can be tackled by ensuring the best practices. You can protect web applications and prevent malicious attacks and significant damage.
Web Application Security Techniques
It is imperative to consider powerful security techniques for secure web and app development. Using the following can protect your web applications and respond to attacks too.
Preventing Injection and Input Validation
One of the best practices is to consider that the input is going to be hostile. Input validation lets the proper data pass through in an application. This filters the bad and corrupt data from being processed. The input validation includes data type validation which ensures that the data form is numeric, text, etc. Another input validation is the data format validation in which the data belongs to the proper format like JSON or XML. Data value validation is also ensured in the data meets the accepted value or length.
There are many more types of input validation and injection prevention. Just ensure to validate inputs with a syntactical and semantic approach. While syntactic concentrates on using the correct syntax of information, semantic validation is about value correction in a certain business context.
Encryption is one of the most common forms of data protection. It can also secure data that is stored in databases and storage devices. Encryption or encoding information can protect the system against unauthorized access. It is important to note that encryption does not avoid data transmission but makes the content difficult to authorize and access. Since open and unsecured web service is easy to get hacked, data encryption is necessary.
One of the security measures is exception management. In case of a failure, a general error message usually pops up on the system. However, this error message may not help the end-user much but can provide good clues to the threatening hackers. When developing the same, know the possible outcomes like allowing the operation, rejecting it, and handling an exception.
Authentication and Access Control
While building a web application, every organization needs to implement great management practices like powerful password enforcement, re-authentication of the user for more sensitive access, secure password recovery, password expiration, account lock-outs, multi-factor authentication, etc. The user needs to get little privileges called a ‘minimal privilege system’. This will significantly lower the chances of security breaches. It will prevent the application from crashing.
Prevention of security misconfigurations
The modern web server management software offers numerous mug-ups like no protection of files, non-removal of temporary guest accounts from the server, open ports on the web server, using defunct software libraries, using outdated security protocols, ignoring the expiration of digital certificates, etc. Be wary of managing high-risk security features.
Auditing & Logging practices
The auditing and logging at the server are imperative. The content serving software applications like Internet Information Services has this and allows you to review activity information too. The logs show suspicious activity but also track actions to display individual accountability. Audit Logging is also built into the web server. Use it to know unwanted activities, track the actions, review errors, etc.
Since new formats of threats keep coming up and security breaches are becoming more expansive, businesses with an online presence must ensure to use a proactive approach to counter these attacks. Have a well-defined security plan especially for high-risk applications to handle security breaches.