Web applications remain a prime target for cyberattacks, posing significant risks to businesses and their bottom lines. So much so, in fact, that a staggering 17% of all attacks exploit vulnerabilities and security flaws found in web applications, according to Positive Technologies.
As a result, organizations must take proactive measures to safeguard their web applications and eliminate any weak points. Below we explore the motivations behind these threats, the most prevalent attack strategies, and the steps you can take to protect your web applications.
Understanding Threat Actors’ Motivations
According to the 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 89% of attacks are financially motivated, with the remaining 11% being driven by espionage. The report further highlights that the majority of threats originate from external actors, with organized crime groups accounting for 83% of breaches.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t overlook internal threats, of course; they still contribute to 19% of breaches through both intentional actions and unintentional mistakes.
Attackers’ methods vary but typically involve stealing sensitive information and intellectual property that can be sold or held for ransom. But that’s not to say that web applications without payment or personal data processing capabilities are immune to attacks.
In fact, attackers often conduct practice runs on seemingly less significant sites to refine their skills, identify new vulnerabilities, and perform a test run ahead of their next big payday.
Common Web Application Attacks
While threat actors’ tactics evolve constantly, the underlying strategies of their attacks remain, for the most part, relatively consistent. Here are some of the most common types of web application attacks:
Cross-site scripting (XSS): Attackers inject malicious code into authorized applications, compromising individual sites or breaching third-party scripts to target multiple sites simultaneously. This can result in the spread of malware and the exposure of confidential information.
SQL injections (SQLI): Attackers inject malicious code into web applications to manipulate backend databases. The goal is to access sensitive information, such as login credentials and financial data, or perform unauthorized actions like adding or deleting records. SQL injection attacks occur when web applications fail to properly validate user input.
Path traversal: This attack involves accessing files and directories on a web server outside of the web root directory. Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in user input validation to gain unauthorized access to sensitive files, such as configuration and log files, or to execute arbitrary code on the server.
Web parameter tampering: Attackers manipulate parameters exchanged between client and server to modify application data, such as user credentials, product prices, and permissions. This can be exploited by malicious users seeking personal gain or attackers executing man-in-the-middle attacks.
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): Hackers overwhelm a server with requests, effectively paralyzing it and denying legitimate users access to services. Often, attackers use a network of compromised computers or bots to launch these attacks.
Protecting Your Web Applications
With applications and company operations expanding online, it’s crucial to take a proactive approach to safeguard your web application. While traditional pen testing typically has lengthy setup times and point-in-time results, Pen Testing as a Service (PTaaS) is a continuous security solution.
By implementing a continuous testing solution that identifies vulnerabilities and logical errors in real-time, you can stay one step ahead of potential attacks.
The Outpost24 PTaaS solution offers rapid, real-time vulnerability findings, direct access to pen testers, and a comprehensive knowledge base for effective fixes, helping you spot and remediate vulnerabilities immediately.
The time-boxed, rapid pen tests are designed to handle large volumes of web applications, delivering robust security and unwavering quality assurance.
Whether you need to meet compliance audits or optimize your DevOps scrum/sprint cycles, there is a meticulous review of changes and detailed pen tests that will promptly address any new vulnerabilities, safeguarding your mission-critical applications.
Are you ready to take control of your web application security?
Contact Outpost24 to demo PTaaS, and see how you can continuously secure your web applications and stop the next attack against them in its track.
Outpost24 is a trusted member of CREST, with security experts who provide the most accurate view of your vulnerabilities, including hidden risks like business logic errors and elusive backdoors that automated scanners often miss.
Sponsored and written by Outpost24