As technology advances, so do the bad actors. Their mode of operation changes almost in step with new technology. Cyber-attacks keep evolving and increasing at alarmingly high rates. Businesses are almost at a loss on what to do to keep the bad guys at bay. They work hard to find areas where you are vulnerable. When they do, these hackers will mercilessly exploit your business’s weak areas. Since dealing with breaches is expensive and takes time to rectify, securing web applications must take precedence.
The Web and its Intricacies
Technically, the internet is a dynamic platform. You can program and customize it in any way you like. Besides, with an application at hand, communication, information exchange and closing of sales with customers become easy. From a marketing approach, the web helps you understand your prospects and their spending habits. To obtain such details, you request visitors to fill application forms or provide features that will enhance their browsing experience.
However, obtaining this information is akin to going on a fishing or hunting expedition. You must capture the data, process, transmit and store it for future use. To do so requires the use of web applications. In a nutshell, a web application is a computer program that allows anyone visiting your site to either submit or retrieve data via the internet. Among the features that make data capture possible include:
- Login pages
- Products or services request forms
- Shopping carts
Sneak Peek – A Web Application at Work
Web applications work via a three-layered approach. The first one consists of the user interface which in this case is the web browser. Second, is the technology that helps in generating content. A database or content carrier is the third layer. Such material could be in the form of:
- Credit card details
A user triggers a request to your web application server. The request goes through a browser on the internet. The application accesses the server containing your company’s database and instructs it to carry out the requested task. Once complete, the web app retrieves information and sends it to the requester who is the user in this case. Since the process takes place electronically, you may not notice what has transpired. Everything happens so fast; it takes about a fraction of a second.
Web Application Attacks in Perspective
Vulnerabilities in web applications say due to improper coding, create leeway for hackers. Think of the intruder as the enemy who seeks to attack a poorly secured military camp. They might lay an ambush or wait until dark. Once a hacker accesses your database, they can steal crucial information such as credit card details and use these to commit fraud. Hackers capitalize on human error and negligence. At other times, they rely on luck while some are highly creative and sharp individuals that keep trying until something gives.
What is all the Fuss about Securing Web Applications?
The answer to this question is almost apparent. Your organization’s database contains crucial and highly sensitive information. In the wrong hands, such data can destroy your integrity. Besides, customers could lose money. Here now are reasons for the noise on web application security:
- Your customers are the primary target
Hackers are aware that once they have your customer’s attention, they can manipulate them into thinking that they are dealing with you. Towards this end, they introduce malicious software that results in redirecting traffic. Before you know it, you have lost money and client confidence. By securing web applications, you retain customers and their business.
- Costly clean-up
When you discover that someone has hacked into your web application, you start looking for ways of cleaning-up. No matter who you ask or whichever site you search, the recommendation will boil down to finding a professional in Singapore to clean it up. The service may not be cheap and could end up chewing a massive chunk of your budget.
- To avoid having a blacklisted website
Every day Google blacklists around 10,000 websites. Once blacklisted, a site carries a message that notifies the user of possible harm from using the website. With such a warning, who would dare stay on such a web page? In other words, Google is trying to tell you that they have expelled or are about to evict you from their search engine.
Tips for Securing Web Applications
Securing web applications, is it achievable? The most suitable approach is to carry out an audit and identify possible attacks. After that, you develop defense mechanisms to guard the business against these attacks. You need to have the mentality of a military commander. In the event of war, no such unit leader would send his men to the battlefront without formulating a strategy. He must understand the enemy and nature of the conflict.
- Carry out input validation
Web forms used by visitors to share or request for information present the most vulnerable front for a web application attack. Any errors, however small, in capturing or processing of user input can result in corrupt data. To ward off the possibility of attack, an experienced Singaporean web developer should carry out input validation tests to ensure that the system is watertight.
- Keep testing and scanning your database
Insist on your web developer carrying out database tests and examining the applications for the entire cycle of the app development. Through these random tests, you can find out which areas are vulnerable plus the danger they pose. Upon discovering the flaws, you can seek the developer’s intervention to have them rectified and seal all loopholes.
- Make use of web application firewalls
Recall the previous example of a military base that is under siege. By being proactive, the soldiers can take measures to prevent enemy penetration. WAFs (web application firewalls) work similarly. WAFs can detect suspicious activity through a set of protocols or rules.
By keeping abreast of trends in software development, your IT team always remains alert. Besides, training empowers them to design robust software solutions that can withstand any form of attacks from hackers. Securing web applications is an essential and continuous undertaking.
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