If you have an online business, you may be involved in the advancements in web applications and services that have changed the way business is conducted. Many businesses that have physical locations have also shifted operations online, so they can seek freelance work from remote locations or share information with international partners.
The requirement to access data at any time is pushing some businesses to make data available instantly to consumers via web applications like those pioneered by online banking systems. If you’re reading this article from the perspective of a web app designer or a business that relies on web apps, then you need to know a few things about security as 99% of web applications are vulnerable to hacks.
Uses of Firewalls
Firewalls operate in the domain of the network not web applications. They are great at protecting their network from specific dangerous IPs or services, but they do not protect web apps from attacks, as web apps need to be accessed by everybody as an integral component of the site. You therefore have to allow all incoming traffic over the HTTP and HTTPS ports. This puts you at risk from attacks featuring SQL Injections and Cross-site scripting. Network security scanners can also not identify malicious web app targeting as they are designed to look for server vulnerabilities.
These two security measures are useless against web app attacks, and if you are relying on them, you are putting yourself at grave risk. Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) do offer protection from the application domain; they don’t firewall the network like traditional firewalls. These offer some protection from vulnerability attacking as they can block connections from people trying to exploit certain areas, but they only detect known vulnerabilities and are only as good as the weakest link – you. If you don’t expertly configure your WAF, your efforts can be rendered useless.
You can hire software experts to protect your critical applications, which is a solution that requires the least amount of work on your part, but at the highest cost. Companies such as Bytes technology group, offer peace of mind by designing, configuring and implementing tailored solutions to web application security issues. If you’re going down that route, make sure to take advantage of the security enabled by cloud computing.
Alternatively, you can use what’s known in the United States as a black box vulnerability scanner, which is a software that scans websites and web applications to identify vulnerabilities automatically. They are easy to use, and can be implemented by any member of the technical team. You should probably use a paid service due to the seriousness of the situation, but be aware that you can test different black box scanners and see which suits you.
In an ideal world, you should use a WAF and also employ vulnerability checks. For the highest security, you could combine automated and expert services by getting experts to analyze your application and website for vulnerable areas, improve them, and then only return to them when your black box picks up a new threat.