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Web Application Security—Past, Present, and Future

Web Application Security—Past, Present, and Future

No doubt! Web applications and APIs (Application programming interfaces) make up a substantial part of the digital surface for businesses. With pruning digitization, IoT, and work-from-home attitude, they are constantly threatened by digital attacks.

Web Application Security practices come as a savior to protect digital data from cyber-attacks and keep businesses working. Such practices detect and remediate software vulnerabilities before release and defend web applications from active attacks.

Are you still wondering why you need it? Well, let’s understand it better!

Corporate web apps and APIs are exposed to the public internet and can provide customers with access to sensitive data. As a gateway to valuable information, web applications/ APIs make them prime targets for cyber attacks and must be secure. Web application security is a collection of security measures engineered into web applications to protect them from malicious attacks.

Here is why you need it!

Web application threats destroy assets, customer goodwill, and business reputations, making web app security imperative for organizations. Implementing security measures keeps the app functioning smoothly and protects it from data theft, cyber vandalism, etc. 

In the ’70s and ’80s, code security wasn’t a risk. However, the first notable malware attack- Morris Worm- was spurred in 1988. Application security has been called malware up to this point, and antivirus software companies have started. But it wasn’t long before hackers eventually discovered an exploit, SQL Injection (SQLi), in 1998. Cross-site scripting, security breaches, and cryptography have become another common vulnerability of the age.

In the early 2000s, we began to see the first tools and companies start to protect against these types of attacks. In 2001, OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) was implemented for application security. Although it’s been about twenty years since the inception of Web Application Security (WebAppSec), developers are still fighting neck and neck to counter security breaches, and their work is constantly maturing. 

Present State of Web Application Security

The biggest threat in cybersecurity is the ever-changing nature of threats. Cloud, phishing, insider, and IoT attacks challenge software developers daily. The United Nation’s oil pipeline system suffered one such attack- the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware attack in 2021. The malware forced the company to shut down the pipeline. The impact of this attack was also seen in Virginia, where many gas stations ran out of fuel. 

Organizations here need comprehensive security measures across an IT infrastructure, both on-prem and off-prem. One of the current best practices for implementing web app security is building secure software using the DevSecOps approach. 

The DevSecOps approach assumes that every person involved in app development should be responsible for security. Developers should write secure code, and QA testers should apply security policies to their tests. Management also has security in mind when making critical decisions.

A practical DevSecOps approach requires education to understand security threats and how to mitigate such risks. The highlights of the practice include:

  • Integrating security testing at every stage of SDLC
  • Encouraging collaboration between developers, security specialists
  • Investigating issues that might arise after deploying the application

HCLSoftware Secure DevOps provides solutions for source control and work item management, integrating security practices and tools into the DevOps pipeline. It focuses on automating security processes and ensures that security is not compromised during rapid code iterations and deployments.

While some cyber threats stand the test of time, others flow from year to year. In 2023, there are some security issues that businesses should be prepared to address. These are ransomware extortion, cloud third-party threats, mobile malware, Viruses, and destructive malware.

Staying ahead of the curve, “Zero trust architecture” is gaining popularity recently. The model assumes that no one is trusted by default. Moreover, new advancements in AI are becoming more valuable for web app security that they previously felt they didn’t need. Machine Learning has enabled security systems to adapt to changing threats. Highlights of the area include:

  • AI video analytics
  • Quantum computing 
  • Behavioral biometrics

Web application security testing tools are an established and well-built solution for improving software security. Such tools have shown success in discovering vulnerabilities in web apps. If fixed, two of the most common stages of vulnerability on-premises and during the development process leave less room for attacks.

HCL AppScan, a web application scanning tool, finds and fixes such problems. The tools work to mitigate security risks with continuous security. It scans web applications, whether off-the-shelf or internally developed for vulnerabilities, by running SAST, DAST, IAST, and Mobile Analysis against the user’s source code. Its features like API testing, container scanning, and auto-issue correlation help apps secure fast.

Best Practices for Ensuring Web Application Security

Even now, web application security remains a significant roadblock to universal acceptance of the web for online transitions. However, as cybercrime rises, cyberheroes are constantly working on designing and building effective practices to overcome cyber issues. Here are four essential web application security best tips to secure web applications and keep data secure:

Software Update

Software vulnerabilities are common ways for attackers to compromise security. Software vendors release regular updates and patches to fix such vulnerabilities. You should check for upgrades regularly and keep your software updated.

2-factor Authentication

Weak authentication passwords are easy to guess or reuse. With automated tools around, attackers can easily figure out usernames and passwords. Two-factor authentication (2FA) prevents these attacks by requiring additional user information, such as code sent to their phone to gain access.

Firewall

A web application firewall works as an HTTP traffic filter and safeguards communication between client and server by preventing malicious requests from compromising your databases.

User Session Management

Take control of user sessions to prevent unauthorized access. Also, web applications must implement strong session IDs, set session expiration time, and implement 2FA.

Software producers continuously work to promote a culture of security in the web development lifecycle. Continuous awareness is made about web application security testing tools and practices for constantly monitoring and testing applications for security breaches. Such tools and techniques help to analyze the elements, logic, processes, and third-party software that make up your website. On finding the loopholes, they fix it before the intruder tries to exploit them.

Conclusion

Maintain the best possible security posture in your organization. Encouraging good coding practices, identifying vulnerabilities, and blocking attempted exploits constitute the critical elements in your web application security measures. It reduces the risk of corporate web applications and API to keep your business running in its best form.

Don’t ignore how crucial secure web architecture is! Learn more about security measures and executing web scanning tools like Appscan. 

Written By

I am self-educated and a God-made man. I started my journey as a freelance writer and blogger. My love for literature made me delve deeper into the world of SEO and online marketing. This eventually led me to start my own company, 7star-seo-expert. I am a great believer in hard work and dedication. I believe that these are the two key ingredients to success. I am constantly striving to provide my clients with the best possible service and achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. I am always looking for new opportunities to learn and grow.

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