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The most common vulnerabilities with web application development

Security, in the web app development world, is a concern so major that it is almost devoid of numbers or precise statistics. This becomes a subject matter that has been heavily under debate, especially in the app development industry.

Choosing between automatic security scans or manual penetration tests is an ongoing argument. Here we are required to make a decision based upon finding the maximum number of vulnerabilities, and yielding the best ROI (Return on Investment).

Web application vulnerabilities can lead to expensive security breaches, for which the development organizations will sometimes have to pay a huge price. There are two types of vulnerabilities associated with web application development: Logical and Technical. Logical vulnerabilities are those found in the web application login, rather than its code. Therefore, anyone well-acquainted with the application scope will be able to easily identify such kind of exposure. Technical vulnerabilities are found in the app code. Analysis of this can be done via various automated tools.

Identification of some most common web application vulnerabilities:

Businesses today are primarily dependent on web applications. With the enormously rising number of web apps, the issue with identification of security flaws in the application can become even more complex. Let us learn about commonly occurring security breaches, and what can be done about them.

    • Inappropriate inputs: This can include missing out on verifying if the user has entered a valid set of inputs. Such conditions may lead to problems like use of such incorrect fields by hackers to make vulnerability scans. This issue can be resolved by ‘validation’ of every text field that inputs text on a website.
    • Authentication Violation: At certain times, companies will personalize the authentication process. Accidently though but doing this, can allow the hackers to impregnate the sessions. With this, they can even use the particular ID cookie to access the valid account of the user.
      This security breach can be handled with the use of a reliable built-in authentication app scheme, and an SSL (secured socket layer) for session encryption.
    • Disrupted Access Control: Access Controls find out what all access rights can a user have, after he logs into his personal account. A majority of web applications face this issue, due to weak testing in the development process.
      We can resolve this by trying all possible permutations to know about all the likely cases that a user can try, in order to breach the access control.
    • Crisscross Scripting: Consider a case when a hacker runs a JavaScript in a text field that changes the address of this field. If the same field is accessed by an authentic user, the Script gets activated allowing the hacker to control the ongoing session. This action grants the hacker rights of the valid user’s session, and enables the probability of money and credit card related breaches.
      Always ensure that the text field to enter text, accepts only the proper set of characters with the field’s suitable character length.
    • Incorrect Error Handling: This occurs on intentional input of errors into fields, for receiving error messages or directing to a protected area. An error message is an information lying beneath, for ex. an access denied message. Such messages can provide an indication to the file being associated with data that the hacker can also take in.
      To avoid this vulnerability to occur, you must keep a track of the errors and if or not the website logs out the user after three consecutive errors. Also, never give any certain information about the error message directory or infrastructure.
    • Insecure storage: This can be explained as a condition, when stored data is not protected with encryption, or not securing access keys, or when effective changeability is not maintained with passwords. Data that is not encrypted, can be accessed easily. Or, there are also chances of the hacker finding insecure encryption keys for data access.
      Ensure to minimize the use of encryption, and store only the data that is absolutely essential for your business operations. Even when using encryption, store its keys in a manner to decrypt the file in two locations, configuration file and external server, to be assembled at runtime.
    • Service Denial: When thousands of queries are sent to web server, it overloads the system causing it to slow down and crash. Such kind of denial attacks do not cause harm to your personal information, but are malign as they tend to slow down the online commerce and services of a business.
      To prevent this from happening, allow only legitimate users to process queries on your site. This can be done by requiring them to log on to the website.

Above discussed were some of the most common vulnerabilities occurring when building a web application. Although not a rocket science, but still it is very significant to keep account on the security of your app pertaining to the widespread growth of custom web application development.

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