We recently wrote about the dangers of data breaches and the financial impact they have. But are you really making sure your websites are secure from the latest threats? Web applications are an increasingly important part of the online ecosystem, but if you’re not familiar with the latest vulnerabilities then everything you touch could wreck serious havoc.
Just as you need to consider the user experience for your latest web design, security should also be a key consideration. Ensuring that each piece of your virtual puzzle is locked in tight and secure should, in reality, be your main priority. Indeed, a website that looks great but puts it’s visitors in danger causes more harm than good.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled an overview of what web application security protects you from, how you should fight it and, finally, why you should be protecting yourself.
When it comes to defining web application attacks, Incapsula has broken down the most common threats. Working from the idea that web application security is the process of protecting websites from “vulnerabilities in an application’s code.”
Incapsula outlines four types of attacks you need to be aware of:
Education is the first step in securing your websites, but simply learning the details of web application security and the major threats isn’t enough. Regardless of whether you’re a novice developer or a seasoned pro, there are certain areas you need to address both in the design and testing phase of a website.
For help in this area, the SANS Institute has compiled a handy security checklist. Although it’s intended for IT professionals who are not programmers, the 11-point plan should serve as an important reminder for those involved in the coding process.
According to SANS, the following points need to be addressed when attempting to secure web applications from malicious and unintentional abuse:
Why is this so important? On one level, an insecure web application could cost you financially – a 2015 IBM report suggests the average cost per lost record is $158. If an oversight on your part leads to a data breach, you could be liable for the damages. But the implications can reach further than that. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Firstly, search engine giant Yahoo! have only just realised that they became the victim of what has been widely dubbed as ‘the biggest hack in history’ back in 2014. A colossal 500million accounts were breached and it has now led to a $4.83billion takeover deal with telecommunications firm Verizon to be called into question.
But, the implications of poor security can transcend issues relating to business and money. Look at the hack of the extramarital dating site Ashley Madison – the website that people logged onto in order to cheat on their spouses. People lost their lives as a direct result of this cyberattack, one of the most devastating in the internet’s history. At least two people committed suicide after the hack because they couldn’t come to terms with their online actions, according to the BBC, and countless divorces were observed. These are all situations that could have been avoided if the company had taken online security seriously.