Computers to small IoT devices, anything that has access to the internet can be hacked and hackers can get sensitive data about millions of people. Government, retail, healthcare are the most popular sectors among hackers. If your web application or website is in another domain, it doesn’t mean that you can relax. Losses regarding security of users personal data can cause breaking of trust and it leads to more financial and reputational losses. Although there is no 100% guarantee of security, as unforeseen circumstances can happen. There are some methods that you can implement to reduce web app security issues. Let’s see those security best practices.
Web Application Security Best Practices-
1. Use SSL (HTTPS) Encryption-
Use of SSL encryption is necessary and priority in web app protection. HTTPS can protect vulnerable and exploitable data like social security numbers, credit and debit card numbers, login information, for team members and users also. With HTTPS, data that is placed into a web application is encrypted so that it’s basically a useless task for hackers to try and get the data. Also, browsers like Chrome flags websites/apps as insecure that are lacking a secure HTTPS certificate. HTTPS secures private data, plain and simple.
2. Document All Changes Of Software-
When your web app goes live, the number of new features and changes grows. While paying attention to new changes requesting from users and trying to bring them in reality, developers and owners put off documenting changes and risk their web security. From the security perspective, it is a big mistake and can cost a lot. As projects evolve, there is addition of new frameworks, libraries and features. Any single issue in a third-party library can cause major data infringement and without documentation, it will be hard to find where the problem occurred. So always document all the changes in software.
3. Perform An Inventory Of Web Applications-
Maybe you don’t have an idea about – your company relies on which applications on a daily basis. Most of the organizations have many rogue apps running at any given time and never notice it until something goes wrong. One cannot maintain effective web app security without knowing which apps company is using. Performing inventory can be a big task and it will take some time to complete. When you perform inventory, note the purpose of each application. Take your time and get every application
4. Prioritize Web Applications-
Next step after completing the inventory of existing web app is to sort them according to the priority. Sort the applications in 3 main categories- Critical, Serious, Normal.
Critical apps are those that are externally facing and contain user information. Such applications should be managed first because most of the time these are targeted and exploited by hackers. Serious applications contains sensitive information and these may be internal or external. Normal applications have less exposure but they should be included in tests. With such categorization, you can reserve extensive testing for critical apps and reserve less intensive testing for less critical ones. This allows you to use the company’s most effective resources and achieve progress quickly.
5. Use Web Application Firewall-
Web application firewall is a filter for HTTP traffic between a server and client. It restricts malicious requests and infiltrate your databases. Use of Firewalls is one of the popular way to protect software because it analyze incoming traffic and restricts the suspicious activities. WAF don’t need developers to change anything in the source code which makes them convenient to use. But traditional firewalls has some disadvantages: they are unable to detect some types of attacks. For high level security, you can use advanced WAFs that can protect your application from SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting.
6. Prioritize Vulnerabilities-
While working with web apps, it is good to decide which vulnerabilities are worth eliminating and which are not excessively troubling. In fact most of the web applications have many vulnerabilities. Taking out all vulnerabilities from all web applications just is not possible or even worth your time. After completing categorization of application with respect to importance, it will consume more time to test all. By restricting yourself to testing for just the threatening vulnerabilities, you will save a huge time and will complete the work rapidly. Determination of vulnerabilities to focus on is depends on the apps that you’re using. You must know some security measures that should be implemented. Always remember that as testing unfolds, you may came to know that you have ignored some issues.
Try not to hesitate to postponed testing to regroup and focus on extra vulnerabilities. At last, remember that in future, this work will be a lot simpler, as you are starting from scratch now and won’t be later.
7. Use Penetration Testing-
It is an advanced part of any security testing that puts the software in near real-world situations where QA specialists works as hacker and try to penetrate the system using any means, from programming to physical violation. This kind of testing lets you to discover most vulnerabilities and results in a detailed document that can serve as the basis for a security check and a reference when finding the vulnerability that caused an issue. Penetration testing offers some techniques to ensure all situations are considered.
There are more than ten possible reasons for software vulnerabilities and a regular web app of medium complexity having various entry points, like cloud access that can be used by hackers. Penetration testing allows QA to try to infiltrate the system with a good knowledge that a real hacker could have.
8. Use A Web Application Security Platform Like WebARX-
WebARX is a tool for web app protection and monitoring for developers. With this tool you can secure client portfolio and protect many sites. It helps to protect your web apps, save money, time and stand out in competition. WebARX platform includes-
- Threat intelligence which monitors your domain’s mentions in hacker forums, target lists, and defacement databases.
- Logs and stats on the cloud-based dashboard for regular checking up
- Uptime, defacement, and blacklist monitoring
- State of the art software vulnerability monitoring
- This tool automates updates for vulnerable software – whenever you have vulnerable plugins on your site
- Alert integrations for Slack and mail
- Blocking protection that is automated for public exploit attacks, malicious traffic and brute force attacks.
9. Set Up Cookies-
Cookies are necessary for both website owners and users and so most of the websites uses it to get information about users that provides insightful analytics, and users get a faster and more personalized experience on websites. Also ensure that your cookies are safe because sometimes it can be a way for hacker to get in. There are some main concerns about security of cookies-
Make sure that the information stored in cookies is not sensitive. Never store passwords in your cookies, else hackers can get them and enter your system from another user’s account. Cookies should expire in less than a month, so request authorization every two weeks. This will secure your web app and you’ll know that the user is authorized who is entering the app each time. Information that you store in cookies should be encrypted for reliable security.
10. Conduct Web Application Security Awareness Training For Employees-
Most of the users have just a basic understanding of the issue and this makes them careless and cause issues because uneducated users fail to identify security risks. If you educate employees, they can spot vulnerabilities without anyone’s help. So you can conduct security awareness for employees. With this, employees came to know what to do if they face a vulnerability or other issue, and so you can strengthen the overall web app security process.
Most of the companies use web apps and as application grow, they become more cumbersome to track security. Whether you are a web app owner or developer of web apps, the above security best practices will surely work for you. If you are looking to develop a secured web app, we are here to help you through development. You can hire php developers for an effective web apps development. Connect with Solace and get a free quote for secured web apps development that drives your business to the next level.