7 things that can go wrong with a faulty Business Application Security System
It’s no secret that cyberattacks have been on the rise both in terms of numbers and sophistication. However, application security hasn’t strengthened at par.
A report in 2019 pointed out that many of the attacks are targeted through online applications and that 9 out of 10 online applications were vulnerable. Furthermore, 82% of the vulnerabilities were in the application code itself. The study included data from comprehensive security assessments of 38 fully functional comprehensive web applications.
‘Release early, release often’ is a mantra many companies now live by – ‘we need to be agile’ is a term thrown around whenever things are taking longer than a mere few days. The competitive business scenarios are forcing companies to release software quickly, often prior to proper testing, and much of it comes at the expense of security. The neglect leads to phishing attacks, malware attacks, and many more, often costing a fortune to the businesses.
In this article, we will list some common issues (and potential remediations) that are made in applications. If you can take care of the common issues (and they can be taken care of without much overhead), you will already be better than most in the market and better than many of your competitors.
1) Disclosure of sensitive data
A leak of sensitive business data is among the worst to happen because of an inadequate application security system. Disclosure of accounts information, customer data, or supplier records not only harms the business but also attracts financial penalties.
SQL Injection attack on the database is one of the ways hackers employ to spill such sensitive information. And such attacks can ruin the database.
Apart from releasing protected data, through injection, hackers can alter the database, make it unavailable, or even destroy it.
A quick thing to do is put your application behind a well-configured WAF (Web Application Firewall).
2) Access to user accounts
Broken Authentication and Session Management is a security vulnerability that can lead hackers to user accounts. Privileged user accounts are the usual targets of such cyberattacks. With this vulnerability, hackers get full access to the accounts. They can assume the identities and perform all the activities allowed to that user.
Missing function-based access controls can also lead to a breach in user accounts. Therefore, you should ensure user validation on each action to avoid disastrous effects.
3) User session takeover
Apart from user impersonation, user session takeover is another problem arising due to shoddy application security measures.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attack is a popular way to execute such misconduct. Attackers inject malicious scripts into the pages of the applications. And such scripts allow them to compromise sessions and control application’s behavior remotely.
Insecure cryptographic storage can also lead intruders to authentication credentials and other user identification data.
Therefore, proper validation and encoding of input data and output responses are a must. A well-configured WAF can also be of assistance in this space.
4) Unauthorised transactions
Insecure applications are always at the risk of attracting exploiters to do transactions that are uncalled for. With Insecure Direct Object Reference, vulnerability hackers can manipulate some of the fields in an HTTP request.
Through this manipulation, hackers can get unauthorized access to resources and carry out unauthorized transactions.
Suggested Read – 10 Most Common Security Mistakes in Development
5) Loss of Intellectual Property
Intellectual Property is amongst the most important things a business must protect. They’re potentially more valuable than other digital assets. They include patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and other proprietary information.
Vulnerabilities like path traversal and Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF) can lead an attacker to the discovery of confidential information. An SSRF attack, apart from accessing the data in the vulnerable software application, can also hack into the back-end systems of the organizations.
With access to the source code, hackers can carry on plenty of unsolicited code executions. A well-configured WAF can also be of assistance in this space.
6) Infection of the system with malware
Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards vulnerability in applications can also trick users into downloading malware or other potentially unsafe applications. Attackers can even get personal information by posing their site as a valid and trusted destination.
Introducing a malicious script into the application to induce Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attack is another way to achieve the same purpose.
Your application needs to be secure against both the risks. A well-configured WAF can be of assistance in this space.
7) Exposure of error handling information
Applications generate a variety of errors during operation. Missing files, unavailable database access, and network timeout are among the hundreds of errors a software can encounter.
And when mishandled, they can wreak havoc.
Overlooked error conditions or improper handling of exceptions can reveal sensitive information. Database dumps, internal directory paths, error codes, and other detailed internal error messages allow hackers to peek into the system.
So, a secure application must handle all errors with due diligence. It should display meaningful messages relevant to the errors and not the underlying inconsistencies.
How can you get rid of these application security risks?
A breach of application security can have varied financial and legal consequences. Apart from the cost of investigation and damage control, breaches also attract fines imposed by the government. On top of that, security failures damage years of reputation and trust among the customers.
So, it would be best if you fortified your business application security to minimize these risks. That’s easier said than done. Applications have many layers, and the number of ways they can be infiltrated is broad.
Thus, you need comprehensive security assessments to ensure the application can withstand even the most adverse security threats.
At Payatu, we do the same for ourclients.
We carry out extensive security audits, simulate potential attacks, and outline ways to tackle the vulnerabilities in a manner that would be best suited for your business.