Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

5/20/2013
07:16 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Quick Hits
50%
50%

Strategies For Improving Web Application Security

Web apps are essential to your business -- and easy targets for hackers. Here are some tips for keeping them secure

[The following is excerpted from "Strategies for Improving Web Application Security," a new report posted this week on Dark Reading's Application Security Tech Center.]

Web applications are the most frequent targets for online hackers -- partly because they are your enterprise's most visible points of entry and partly because they are notoriously fraught with vulnerabilities. At the same time, most enterprises must maintain a Web presence in order to do business, so there's little choice about facing the risk.

Being proactive about Web application security should be a top IT priority: When a Web application is taken out, money is lost. And for big-name businesses at least, it's not the financial loss that hurts the most; it's the loss to reputation. Protracted outages of an important Web application will draw the ire of customers and the CEO alike. And fair or unfair, it doesn't matter whether an attack was preventable -- IT will get the blame.

When CIOs and CFOs hear the word "security," they generally prepare themselves for sticker shock. However, you don't need to spend a ton of money to harden your Web applications. Winning the battle requires a combination of security-related best practices and tools.

Placing your Web servers in a DMZ won't technically make your Web applications or website more secure, but the practice will certainly help protect the rest of your infrastructure from attack if a Web server is successfully compromised.

If you host your own website or Web application, then your perimeter defenses are getting scanned all day long for vulnerabilities.

You can't stop an attacker from probing your perimeter for open services, but you can certainly make it harder for an attacker to inflict further damage should he or she successfully compromise one of your Web servers. The whole point of placing externally facing Web servers in a DMZ is to box in an attacker and limit the damage that can be done should a server be compromised.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce the attack surface of your Web apps is to make sure you're dropping all nonessential ports inbound to your Web server farm.

If you're exposing a Web application, there's no reason to allow RDP to your Web server; there's no reason for allowing ICMP. Exposing additional TCP/UDP services to a Web server may be required for testing or troubleshooting, but, beyond that, there's no reason to allow any incoming connection to your Web server other than TCP 80 and/or 443. As a best practice, inspect your firewall rule base periodically for irregularities, especially if you have several people managing your corporate firewalls.

Web application firewalls aren't typically necessary if you're trying to protect an internal Web application, but for large organizations that have externally facing Web apps and a lot of money to lose if they go down, a WAF is highly recommended.

Sure, a properly and carefully developed app wouldn't likely require WAF-level protection. But we know that Web developers can sometimes be their own worst enemies by not validating user-supplied input, and there's nothing Web developers can do from a coding perspective to protect a Web application from a sustained denial-of-service attack.

To get more tips and tricks for protecting Web applications -- and processes for implementing them -- download the free report.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
MROBINSON000
50%
50%
MROBINSON000,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/31/2013 | 11:07:42 AM
re: Strategies For Improving Web Application Security
Great article, I enjoyed reading it! We also wrote an article on this topic, more exactly we discussed about how application security can make development projects more predictable and efficient - you can check it out here http://blog.securityinnovation...
marktroester
50%
50%
marktroester,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2013 | 12:13:46 PM
re: Strategies For Improving Web Application Security
It's great to see additional focus on application security. It's interesting to think about the role that components, many of them open source, play in today's web applications. Frameworks like Struts, components that manage logging, database access, security, etc. In many cases applications are made up of a majority of components, which leads to the need to manage the components - both from a security and licensing perspective.

Mark Troester
Sonatype
@mtroester
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Lessons from the NSA: Know Your Assets
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  12/12/2019
4 Tips to Run Fast in the Face of Digital Transformation
Shane Buckley, President & Chief Operating Officer, Gigamon,  12/9/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19807
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.11, sound/core/timer.c has a use-after-free caused by erroneous code refactoring, aka CID-e7af6307a8a5. This is related to snd_timer_open and snd_timer_close_locked. The timeri variable was originally intended to be for a newly created timer instance, but was used for ...
CVE-2014-8650
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
python-requests-Kerberos through 0.5 does not handle mutual authentication
CVE-2014-3536
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
CFME (CloudForms Management Engine) 5: RHN account information is logged to top_output.log during registration
CVE-2014-3643
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
jersey: XXE via parameter entities not disabled by the jersey SAX parser
CVE-2014-3652
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-15
JBoss KeyCloak: Open redirect vulnerability via failure to validate the redirect URL.