29 Aug, 2023
You’ve spent months building your web application and it’s finally ready to launch. You’ve tested all the features and worked out all the bugs. Your app looks great and functions perfectly.
But have you thought about web app security? If not, your site could be vulnerable to attacks that compromise user data, steal credit card numbers, or completely take your site offline.
Web app security should be a top priority, not an afterthought. This article outlines 10 best practices you need to implement now to lock down your web app and protect your users.
As a website owner, you need to make web app security a top priority. Why? Because your site contains valuable data and resources that cybercriminals want to get their hands on. If they succeed, it could cost you big time.
The bottom line is that web app security should not be taken lightly. Implementing best practices like strong passwords, two-factor authentication, regular updates, and penetration testing can help safeguard your site. If you experience an attack, having a response plan in place allows you to take swift action, minimize damage, and restore operations as quickly as possible.
Make web app security a priority today. The threats are real, but with vigilance and the proper safeguards in place, you can protect your site, customers, and business. The risks of doing nothing are simply too great.
As a website owner, you need to be aware of the common vulnerabilities that put your web app at risk. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to protect your site and users.
Staying on top of these common web vulnerabilities and taking the recommended precautions will help ensure your website is secure and your users’ data stays protected.
SQL injection is a malicious attack where hackers enter SQL code into web forms to manipulate the database.
They trick the website into running SQL queries that it didn’t intend to run. This can have devastating consequences like stealing data, deleting records, or modifying data.
As a website owner, SQL injection is something you need to be aware of and take precautions against. The good news is, with some basic security practices, you can eliminate the risk of SQL injection attacks on your site.
SQL injection works by exploiting vulnerabilities in SQL databases that are accessed by web applications. Hackers enter malicious SQL code into web forms, like login pages or search boxes. If the web app runs that code, the hacker can gain access to the database.
For example, say you have a login form with fields for username and password. A hacker could enter:
Username: 'OR 1=1; -- Password: anything
The code 'OR 1=1 will always be true, so the hacker will log in as the first user in the database. The – denotes a comment, ignoring the rest of the query.
The main way to prevent SQL injection is through input validation and escaping. This means:
By making security a priority in your web app development, you can build a robust defense against SQL injection and other threats. Protecting your users’ data and privacy should be a top concern, so take the time to get it right.
Cross-site scripting, or XSS, is one of the most common web app vulnerabilities. It allows attackers to inject malicious code into your website, which can then be executed by users. As a website owner, you need to make sure you’ve secured your app against XSS. Here are some of the best practices to follow:
Hire a penetration testing service to try and hack into your web app. They can identify vulnerabilities you may have missed and help strengthen your security.
Use a web app firewall or monitoring service to detect XSS attempts in real-time. React quickly to prevent exploitation and remediate the vulnerability.
Staying on top of XSS risks and following security best practices will help ensure your users’ data and privacy are protected.
Broken authentication allows attackers to access your web app by impersonating other users. This can enable them to access sensitive data or perform unauthorized actions. To prevent broken authentication, you need to properly implement authentication and session management in your web app.
Require users to choose strong, unique passwords to access your web app. Also, enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring not just a password but also another piece of information like a security code sent to the user’s phone.
A user session refers to the period of time between when a user logs in and logs out of your web app. You need to properly manage these sessions to prevent attackers from hijacking them. Some key steps:
CSRF attacks involve attackers tricking authenticated users into making unauthorized requests to your web app. To prevent CSRF, you should:
When building a web app, you collect and store information from your users. This data is a huge responsibility and needs to be properly secured. If hackers gain access, users’ sensitive details could be compromised.
As an app owner, you must safeguard users’ personal information. Personally identifiable information (PII) like names, passwords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers require the highest level of protection. If exposed, this data could be used for identity theft or other malicious purposes.
Following these best practices will help ensure your users’ sensitive details remain private and secure. Make data protection a priority in your web app.
As a web app owner, one of your top priorities should be controlling who can access what data and features in your system. If just anyone can view, edit, or delete sensitive information, you’ve got a serious security vulnerability on your hands.
To avoid broken access control issues, you need to verify users and their permissions at every point of interaction. This means:
Following these best practices will help ensure that your users and their data stay protected. Only authorized individuals will have access to the appropriate information and features. And you’ll have monitoring and controls in place to detect any unauthorized access attempts as quickly as possible.
A CSRF (Cross-Site Request Forgery) attack tricks your users into making unwanted requests on your website. It happens when a malicious site fools your users’ browsers into sending forged requests to your web app. Since the requests come from authenticated users, your app trusts them.
Yikes! That means hackers can do things like change account details, make purchases, or access sensitive data—all without your users knowing. Not good.
The good news is CSRF attacks are preventable. Here are a few ways to defend your web app:
By putting multiple defenses in place, you can securely protect your web app and users from CSRF attacks. Staying on top of web security best practices will give you peace of mind that your app is as protected as possible from outside threats. Implement these tips today to CRSF-proof your website!
As a web app owner, you need to keep an eye on what’s happening with your site. Comprehensive logging and monitoring are key to detecting potential security issues quickly. Think of logging as your website’s diary—it records information about page views, logins, data access, and more.
Review your logs regularly for any weird or suspicious activity. Things like:
Set up alerts to notify you automatically when these types of events occur. Some logging services like Splunk, Datadog, and Papertrail offer built-in alerting features. You can also use a monitoring service like Pingdom or New Relic to keep tabs on your web app’s availability and performance.
Real-time alerts allow you to respond quickly to security incidents. The faster you can detect and remediate issues, the less damage will be done.
Regular log reviews and monitoring are two of the most important things you can do to protect your web app. Make time for them and take any notifications seriously. Your site’s security depends on it.
Don’t have time to dig through logs yourself? Outsource this task to a managed security services provider. They have the expertise to monitor your logs and alerts 24/7 and will notify you right away if they discover something suspicious.
Logging and monitoring: not the most glamorous part of running a web app, but absolutely critical for security. Make them a priority and encourage your whole team to get on board with a proactive approach to security monitoring.
SQL injection is one of the most common web app security risks. It happens when a hacker enters malicious code into a web form to gain access to your database. To prevent SQL injection, always validate and sanitize user input before using it in SQL queries.
For example, if a user enters ‘ or 1=1; – in a login form, it could delete your entire database! Validate that users only enter expected input like letters, numbers, and a few symbols.
For example, if a user enters in a comment form, it could pop up an alert for all your visitors! Sanitize input by replacing < and > with < and >.
A DDoS or distributed denial-of-service attack floods your website with traffic to overwhelm your server and take the site offline. To prevent DDoS attacks, use a content delivery network (CDN) and DDoS mitigation service.
A CDN distributes your site content globally so no single server bears the brunt of the attack.
DDoS mitigation services filter out malicious traffic before it reaches your server. These services aren’t foolproof but can help minimize the impact of an attack.
HTTPS encrypts connections between your website and visitors to prevent eavesdropping. It’s important because without HTTPS, hackers can see your users’ passwords, credit cards, and other sensitive data. To implement HTTPS, you need an SSL/TLS certificate.
Once you install the cert on your server, all requests to your site will be encrypted. Many hosting providers offer free SSL certificates - use them!
Encrypting your site is one of the best things you can do for web security.
So there you have it, the 10 best practices to keep your web app secure and protected. Implementing these checks and security measures may require some time and resources, but it’s well worth the investment to avoid data breaches, hacked accounts, and damaged reputations.
Your users trust you with their information, and it’s your responsibility to safeguard it properly.
Stay on top of the latest web security threats and vulnerabilities, and keep testing and improving your web app defenses. The threats are real, but with the right checklist, you’ll be well prepared to face them.