It’s well known in today’s business and IT world how important web application security is. However, this major element and related risks often get overlooked by online business owners. Matters regarding web application security should be a top priority. In our previous article dedicated to the discussion of cybersecurity, we provided reasons why it’s crucial to ensure that the basics of web security are implemented. What can you do to build a better web app security strategy and prevent cyber attacks on your company? Let’s shed some light on this topic!

Develop your web application security plan

In order to enhance overall compliance in your business, you need to create a detailed web application security blueprint that outlines your goals. Set priorities to determine which applications to secure in the first place. Will they be tested manually,  through the software on your website or through a managed service provider, or maybe with cloud-based testing? Consider the expenses needed to be incurred by your organization to implement those practices.

A complete inventory of your existing web applications

Which applications your organization relies on daily? Defining applications your company uses allows us to better organize and maintain effective web security. Conduct an inventory on where are they located and how many of them are there. What is the fundamental purpose of each web application? Take your time to classify them, noting which ones are critical and which are of lower importance, redundant or pointless at all. Carrying out such research and categorizing your applications will come in handy to undertake the next steps for your cybersecurity strategy. You will get a better understanding of when extensive testing should be implemented and when less intensive one is enough.

When deciding to cooperate with a client, we shoulder our responsibility for implementing the project and all the data provided to us - often even the sensitive ones. At Applover, we ensure that data protection is at the highest level, ensuring security for both the customer and us.

Szymon Bernatowicz

Project Manager

Identify your web security vulnerabilities 

At this stage, we recommend that you perform security scans to detect security flaws and vulnerabilities. The OWASP Top 10 presents the most critical security risks to web applications. These include attack vectors like injection attacks, authentication and session management, security misconfiguration, sensitive data exposure, etc. You should regularly implement testing for vulnerability against cyber-attacks. Perform security scans on your website at least once a week and after every change, you make to your application. This way you’ll get a better chance to prevent and avoid most common web app attacks.

Make sure that your cookies are safe

Another aspect you should take into consideration is the secure use of cookies on your website. Although they’re undoubtedly necessary and convenient for both organizations and users, there are some threats. On the one hand, cookies allow website owners to gather information about its users and get some insightful analytics, while visitors get an advantage of faster future visits and more personalized experience on the website. However, on the other side, hackers may hijack cookies and use manipulations to obtain access to protected areas.

To minimize the risk of injection, don’t use cookies to remember sensitive information like users’ passwords as it may result in gaining unauthorized access by perpetrators. Also, when setting an expiration date for cookies, make sure that it expires no longer than in a month to eliminate a security breach. And last but not least, remember to encrypt all the information that is stored in cookies to prevent unauthorized access.

Keep all of the platforms and scripts up to date

When trying to improve your app security, keep a note of plugins you have and make updates when they’re available. Is your operating system up to date? Set your servers to update to the latest security releases regularly. Especially focus on security-specific ones. You can either automate this process or review and approve updates individually.

In case you prefer to automatically install security upgrades, the Automatic Updates feature in Windows may come in handy.

Manage passwords securely

Having a very strong password policy is a clue when it comes to ensuring web application security. All of your passwords should be unique. You can use a passphrase instead of a password as it’s much longer – you may consider generating a short sentence. Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols to enforce better security. Try not to use the same character two times in a row. To obtain an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals trying to hack your website, consider multiple-factor verification. You can use Google Authenticator for two-factor authentication or Microsoft Authenticator.

Use SSL (HTTPS) to encrypt your data

Implement the most secured protocol systems like HTTPS which encrypts all message contents, including the HTTP headers and the request/response data. Add SSL security technology to your basic checklist for encryption to keep all of your data safe even in case someone has access to it. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a server and a client ensuring secure transmission of sensitive information like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and login credentials.

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Make backups

This tip may be obvious for many people, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile to pay extra attention to. Regular backups are essential in the context of possible attacks, which can completely erase the system. In such a situation restoring the system to operation can be quite a problem. Remember about this one and make sure you backup your files and keep your application live no matter what dangers lurk ahead.

Undertake all the necessary steps for web app security

The above suggestions will give you a head start to effectively improve the security of your applications and shield perpetrators from interfering with your business. So as you can see, there are several options to take into consideration. Implementing them will add up to making the most effective use of your company’s resources and prosper in the future. Since you already have a solid foundation to work from, why not put all of these tips into practice right now?