Web applications and APIs are used by today’s always-on digital enterprises and service providers to fuel growth, run eCommerce sites and customer portals, and communicate with customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These public-facing assets are also being targeted by cybercriminals for monetary gain or to make a political statement. In fact, web application vulnerabilities have been linked to 43% of data breaches, emphasizing the significance of understanding and protecting these business-critical assets. Web application security must also be a top issue for Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

This article discusses software security best practices as well as the relevance of web applications, the consequences of security flaws, and the challenges and best practices for safeguarding web applications.

Insight on Web Applications

A web application or “web app” runs on a web server with user access via a web browser. Examples of web apps include online forms, eCommerce shopping carts, email programs, collaboration software, and business tools like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. Web application protection involves incorporating security measures during the software development cycle and not bolting it on as an afterthought. Users of third-party software must also maintain defenses against malicious web attacks within their MSP businesses and customer operations, with vulnerability scanning and comprehensive patch management. Legacy tools like Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) are a good foundation but are no longer sufficient against modern cyber criminals who are persistent and well-funded. Web apps can collect personally identifiable information (PII), use login credentials that cyber criminals can exploit to elevate privileged access, or serve as an entry point to valuable data for ransomware exfiltration.

Attacks on Web Apps are Rising

As enterprises seek to boost consumer and citizen engagement, as well as 24/7 access to web portals and tools, the number of web apps in use is growing. Web apps are an enticing target for cyber thieves because of their widespread use. Web attacks can be used by financially motivated or politically motivated attackers for monetary gain or to make a visible statement by defacing a website. The increased use of online applications and the speed with which software development cycles are being accelerated have resulted in more human errors that can lead to unexpected security holes. Finally, in the underground ecosystem, Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) has made more advanced tools and TTPs (tactics, methods, and procedures) available to less sophisticated cyber criminals.

Web Apps Can Create Risk

Hundreds of software applications are used in the average organization, resulting in IT complexity to manage over time. Aside from lost revenue, web app attacks can result in a tarnished brand name, decreased revenue, compliance fines, customer unhappiness, and even defections for you and your customers.

Security Gaps

Ensure your digital transformation initiatives are backed with web application security to reduce risk, maintain resilience, and evade cyber criminals.

A Layered Defense to Business Enablement

Business-critical web servers and online applications are driving digital transformation as well as customer and citizen engagement. Web applications will continue to be an attractive threat vector for cyber criminals. In addition to OWASP best practices, advice for web app security across your entire organization and customer base includes:

  • Implementing robust access control with Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Training around security and social engineering as well as avoidance of suspicious websites and online apps
  • Understanding of real-world MITRE ATT&CK techniques that can help bolster your defense
  • Prioritizing software and hardware patching for rapid response against the vulnerabilities that could impact your organization the most
  • Logging and monitoring for complete visibility and speedy detection of suspicious activity

A multi-layered security strategy includes the staff, processes, and technology to defend against web app attacks and dangerous cybersecurity threats. CYB3R-X Managed Threat Protection is comprehensive cybersecurity for today’s relentless attackers who start with the easy payoff of unpatched systems and known vulnerabilities.