Web applications remain a prime target for cyberattacks, posing significant risks to businesses and their bottom line. So much so, in fact, that 17% of all attacks exploit vulnerabilities and security flaws found in web applications, according to Positive Technologies.
Therefore, organizations must take proactive measures to protect their web applications and eliminate weak points. Below, we explore the motivations behind these threats, the most common attack strategies, and steps you can take to protect your web applications.
Understand the motivations of threat actors
According to 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report, 89% of attacks are motivated by financial reasons, the remaining 11% being motivated by espionage. The report further highlights that the majority of threats come from external actors, with organized crime groups accounting for 83% of violations.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t overlook insider threats, of course; they still contribute to 19% of breaches through intentional actions and unintentional errors.
Attackers’ methods vary but typically involve stealing sensitive information and intellectual property that can be sold or held for ransom. But that does not mean that web applications without the ability to pay or process personal data are immune to attack.
In fact, attackers often perform training at seemingly lesser sites to hone their skills, identify new vulnerabilities, and perform a test before their next big payday.
Common Web Application Attacks
While threat actors’ tactics are constantly evolving, 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 lead to spreading malware and exposing confidential information.
- SQL Injections (SQLI): Attackers inject malicious code into web applications to manipulate back-end databases. The goal is to access sensitive information, such as login credentials and financial data, or perform unauthorized actions such as 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 files and log files, or to execute arbitrary code on the server.
- Tampering with web settings: Attackers manipulate settings 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 by attackers performing man-in-the-middle attacks.
- Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS): Hackers overwhelm a server with requests, effectively crippling it and denying legitimate users access to services. Often attackers use a network of compromised computers or bots to launch these attacks.
Protect your web applications
With the expansion of business applications and operations online, it is essential to take a proactive approach to protecting your web application. While traditional pen test typically has long setup times and on-time results, Pen Testing as a Service (PTaaS) is a continuous security solution.
By implementing a continuous testing solution that identifies vulnerabilities and logic errors in real time, you can stay ahead of potential attacks.
The Outpost24 PTaaS Solution offers fast, real-time vulnerability discoveries, direct access to pen testers, and a comprehensive knowledge base for effective patching, helping you spot and fix vulnerabilities immediately.
Rapid, time-limited penetration testing is designed to handle large volumes of web applications, providing robust security and unwavering quality assurance.
Whether you need to respond to compliance audits or optimize your DevOps scrum/sprint cycles, there is meticulous change review and detailed penetration testing that will quickly address any new vulnerabilities, protecting your critical applications.
Are you ready to take control of your web application security?
Contact Outpost24 to demo PTaaS, and see how you can permanently secure your web applications and stop the next attack on them in its wake.
Outpost24 is a trusted member of CREST, with security experts providing the most accurate view of your vulnerabilities, including hidden risks such as business logic errors and elusive backdoors that automated scanners often miss.
Sponsored and written by Outpost24