Web application security is a complex and dynamic area of cybersecurity. There is no quick and easy way to secure all of your websites and web applications, especially in large organizations. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to make real improvements to your web application security.
Easy Earnings for Web Application Security with Win Infoway
- Win # 1: Apply secure HTTPS communication with HSTS
Almost all modern websites and web applications use HTTPS to provide secure communication and authenticate the server. However, simply serving HTTPS pages does not guarantee that HTTPS will always be used. To prevent attackers from demoting the connection to a less secure protocol, you can configure HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS).
The HTTP Strict-Transport-Security response header allows the web server to indicate that the content of the requested domain will only be broadcast via HTTPS. By adding this header, you can ensure secure, encrypted communication and eliminate simple HTTP connections.
When implementing HSTS, you should be careful to avoid configuration errors that could make your site inaccessible or allow attackers to demote HTTPS connections. Win Infoway checks for missing and incorrect HSTS headers.
For detailed information, see Why websites need strict HTTP transport security.
- Win # 2: Mitigate XSS Threats With Content Security Strategy (CSP)
Attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and hijacking clicks often rely on loading scripts from an untrusted source. By adding appropriate Content-Security-Policy headers and directives to your web pages, you can specify authorized content sources to prevent numerous attacks. CSP also includes features that improve code security, for example by prohibiting code online.
Implementing CSP for new sites and applications is relatively simple and the main challenge is to define policies that provide maximum security without impeding access. In extreme cases, misconfigured CSP headers can block legitimate content or open the way for attacks. For legacy sites where the embedded code is still used, you may need to add temporary exceptions so as not to break the existing site. Win Infoway checks for the presence and accuracy of CSP headers in the websites it scans.
For detailed information, see Using the content security policy to secure web applications.
- Win # 3: Use the right combination of HTTP security headers
While HSTS and CSP headers are essential for any secure website, there are many other HTTP headers that can be configured to improve security without modifying the code. These include:
X-Frame-Options: controls when the page can be loaded into an iframe. To prevent click diversion attacks, you can block all attempts, allow requests from the same origin, or allow only specific URLs.
Content-Type: specifies the type of content. All HTTP requests and responses must define the correct content type to avoid CSRF sniffing attacks and content type.
X-Content-Type-Options: Specifies how Content-Type headers are treated. The only directive is nosniff to protect against MIME sniffing attacks and force the browser to strictly adhere to the content type specified in the headers.
Referrer-Policy: controls the amount of information about the referrer that is revealed to the web server. To avoid leaking referrer information between domains, you can specify if and how much information should be revealed.
Many of these can be implemented not only in server headers but also in page meta tags. This improves security without changing the configuration of the web server.
For detailed information, see our white paper on HTTP security headers.
- Win # 4: Train developers to minimize injection vulnerabilities
In theory, application vulnerabilities would not exist if they were never introduced, so security training for developers should fix the problem. Of course, it doesn’t work that way in the real world. Web application developers have to juggle many skills and requirements to deliver features and products on time. Training developers to recognize and avoid all known vulnerabilities would be completely impractical and counterproductive – but even so, there is a relatively easy win to be expected here.
The most common and dangerous web application vulnerabilities all have one common denominator: incorrect entry validation or neutralization. Cross-site scripting, SQL injection, buffer overflows – many of these vulnerabilities can be mitigated or eliminated with careful processing and validation of entries. If everyone involved in web application development, from designers and developers to QA testers, is trained to find vulnerable constructs and data flows that handle user-controlled input, you can eliminate many vulnerabilities in strong impact of the new code.
In a large organization, even such limited training is unlikely to be cheap or easy, so why is it an easy win? Simple: Just compare the cost of training to the time, effort, and cost required to find and fix a critical injection vulnerability in production or deal with the consequences of a data breach or other successful attack. . If everyone knows how injection vulnerabilities are introduced and how to avoid them, you can prevent many high-impact injection attacks.
- Win # 5: Choose tools that make security easier
Web application security teams are typically small, although in a large organization, they can be responsible for securing hundreds of websites. The only way to work effectively is to eliminate all unnecessary steps and automate everything that does not require human intervention. Your choice of tools can make the difference between streamlined and efficient web application security and tedious manual workflows that keep your team busy.
The ultimate goal is to secure every web application and website in your organization. To do this, you need precise and secure automation at every step, starting with asset discovery. Then comes the analysis phase, where you need precision to find the vulnerabilities. You also need 100% confidence in your analysis results to eliminate unnecessary manual work and automate responses. To reduce clicks and waits at each step, you need to integrate with your existing workflows and tools.
Win Infoway is the only solution on the market that can provide all of this in an integrated package backed by world class technical support. With Proof-Based Scanning ™ technology, you get an automatic verification of vulnerabilities which are certainly not false positives and do not require manual verification. Compared to traditional vulnerability scanners where each result can be a false positive, this changes the game.
The recovery time for typical web security programs is calculated in months. With Win Infoway, you can start to see improvements in just a few days. It really is an easy victory.
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