Web Application Security 101

by Süleyman Petek 11. Temmuz 2015 14:25
Since the proliferation of internet nearly for 20 years, the usage of internet in our daily basis ha

Since the proliferation of internet nearly for 20 years, the usage of internet in our daily basis has been increasing day by day. At first we adopted to read newspapers from web, then we started to make our basic financial operations over web from our banks' web sites. The shopping a.k.a "e-commerce" madness followed these. Buying your plane tickets, betting, dating etc. there has been a huge cyber world over there. This is nice until here however you should be aware of your security and privacy in this cyber world. Nowadays mobile applications are very popular, we can not say they will replace web applications but we should notice the power of mobile also. 


Web applications have brought with them a new range of security vulnerabilities. There is a rising awareness that security is an important issue for web applications. Most of web sites say that they are secure because they use SSL. Increasingly, organizations also cite their compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards to reassure users that they are secure.  In real life, unfortunately the majority of web applications are insecure, despite the widespread usage of SSL technology and the adoption of regular PCI scanning. Here is an example saying that "Half of firms hit by web application security breaches".

There is a non-profit world wide organization called OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project). There are many materials there to learn about application security. Especially OWASP Top 10 may be a very meaningful start for the newbies. It is about the most critical web application security flaws. The latest one was released in 2013.


Web applications face a fundamental problem in order to be secure. The client is outside the application’s control, users can submit arbitrary input to the server side application. The application owners/coders must assume that all input is potentially malicious. The majority of attacks against web applications involve sending crafted input to the server to cause some unexpected event.

Unfortunately SSL can not stop an attacker from submitting crafted input to the server. If the application uses SSL, this simply means that other users on the network cannot view or modify the attacker’s data in transit. 

Some key factors to the problems are

The developers are not aware of the issue, they should be educated for secure coding.

  • The executive management generally care on the dead-lines, not the security of the application. So the developer just try to be as fast as he can do, bypassing the security issues.
  • The resources and the time is limited, the market is too aggressive, executives are somehow right. But security is not an issue  to underestimate. The company can lose money and prestige because of insecure applications.
  • The threats are evolving rapidly.
  • To sum up;

    World Wide Web has evolved from basic static information repositories into highly functional applications that process sensitive data and perform powerful actions with real-world consequences. Most web applications face the core security problem that users can submit arbitrary input. Every aspect of the user’s interaction with the application may be malicious and should be regarded as such unless proven otherwise. All the signs about the current state of web application security shows that although some aspects of security have indeed improved, entirely new threats have evolved to replace them. The overall problem has not been resolved on any significant scale. Attacks against web applications still present a serious threat to both the organizations that deploy them and the users who access them. 


    Tags: , ,

    IT Security | Awareness | Secure Coding | Web Security | Web Attack | Web Defense

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