10 Common Web Security Vulnerabilities

By admin6 February, 2024Write a Comment

Organizations today rely heavily on websites and web applications to communicate with their employees, partners, and customers across different locations and time zones. However, this increase in digital communication comes with an increased risk of cybercrime. Companies need to be aware of the potential web security vulnerabilities in their IT systems and take proactive measures to protect sensitive data. In this article, you will get an overview of cybercrime and then learn more about the top 10 cybersecurity vulnerabilities you should be aware of.

What Are Web Security Vulnerabilities?

Web security vulnerabilities are weaknesses or misconfigurations in a web application that an attacker can exploit to gain unauthorized access or perform unauthorized, malicious actions. These vulnerabilities behave like open windows in a house that allows unauthorized access. Web security vulnerabilities can exist in different parts of a web application, including the server, the host, or the application software itself. Web applications interact with users across different networks, making them attractive targets for hackers.

When vulnerabilities in web applications are exploited, organizations are exposed to the risk of cybercrime, meaning there is a potential threat to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their data and services. For example, these attacks are often aimed at stealing valuable sensitive information such as personal data, intellectual property or financial details and capturing the data stored in the system as a whole. Cybercrime can result in fraud (like identity theft,) holding businesses to ransom for their data, or undermining trust in a service provider.

To grasp the gravity of web security vulnerabilities, we need to consider three key factors: exploitability, detectability, and potential impact.

10 Common Web Security Vulnerabilities

Broken access control

This is the case when users can access data or resources to which they should not have access due to inadequate rights management. Authorizations may not have been assigned correctly or there may be inconsistencies in the authorization settings. Vulnerabilities in the authentication mechanisms, such as weak passwords or lack of multi-factor authentication, can be exploited.

Security controls should be properly configured so that they cannot be bypassed by an attacker, such as if a security configuration is left at the default settings or if firewall rules or access control lists are incorrectly configured. To combat this, strong authentication procedures must be put in place and regular checks of the access permissions set must be carried out. 

Cryptographic failures

If the implementation or use of cryptographic measures does not provide the necessary security, this can lead to a compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the data that cryptography was intended to protect. This can result in unauthorized account access, identity theft, and data breaches. 

Sensitive data such as profile information, health, or credit card data, if stored without proper encryption, becomes an attractive target for malicious actors. The main vulnerable object in this scenario is the application database where the data is stored.

Injection flaws

Attackers can inject malware into a command or query that is subsequently processed by an application so that untrusted data is passed to an interpreter or service without validation or sanitization. A common example is SQL injection, where the hacker injects malicious SQL code into a web application.

 LDAP injection and cross-site scripting are other forms. To protect themselves against these types of attacks, companies must ensure that untrusted input received by an application is filtered, preferably using whitelisting. SQL databases must be appropriately configured.

Insecure direct object references

These arise when a web application exposes internal objects – files, directories, database keys – through URLs or form parameters. If the user input is blindly trusted, it can result in unintended exposure of sensitive information and potentially give attackers access to other objects not initially exposed. The vulnerability of IDOR can lead to data manipulation, exposure of user account information and potentially damage the overall security of the application.

10-Common-Web-Security-Vulnerabilities

Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

SSRF occurs when a web application fails to properly validate user-provided URLs when accessing remote resources. Attackers manipulate vulnerable applications to send crafted requests to specific URLs, bypassing access controls such as firewalls that typically block direct connections to the target URL but grant access to the compromised web application. An example of SSRF was the Capital One hack, in which 140,000 social security numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers were stolen and the crime remained undetected for months.

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

CSRF involves a malicious entity deceiving a user’s browser into performing actions on a trusted website without their knowledge or consent. User’s will typically be already authenticated allowing the attacker to manipulate user profile information, change status updates, or even create new users on behalf of administrators. 

An attack might happen on a frequently used e-commerce website, for example, allowing the cybercriminal to trick the browser into making purchases on a different website and by embedding malicious code into that website, utilizing the victim’s saved payment information to make purchases.

Outdated or vulnerable web application components

Threat actors deliberately inject malicious or vulnerable code into widely used libraries and third-party dependencies, creating a potential entry point. Organizations that lack visibility into their external code and fail to promptly apply necessary security updates are at risk.  A recent example was the outdated WordPress plugins that were unpatched for prolonged periods leading to severe security breaches, service disruptions and reputational damage.

Security misconfigurations

If components of a system are not set up correctly, vulnerabilities can be exploited. Most security breaches stem from human error and can be thwarted by regularly updating and patching systems, frameworks and components. Companies can address simple things such as an application server’s admin console being left with default settings and unchanged passwords.

10-Common-Web-Security-Vulnerabilities

Unvalidated redirects and forwards (URF)

Vulnerabilities like these come up if applications redirect or forward users to URLs provided by users themselves. Bad actors abuse URF vulnerabilities to redirect users to malicious sites, which can result in data theft and malware installation. These vulnerabilities occur when developers fail to properly validate user input, enabling attackers to inject malicious code into URLs or query strings.  

Software and data integrity failures

If the integrity of critical data and software updates is not verified before being added to the delivery pipeline it can lead to integrity failures. Faulty assumptions, outdated software, insufficient vulnerability scanning, erroneous input validation, missing patches, missing unit tests, or insecure component configurations are all causes. 

One common manifestation of software and data integrity failure is an attacker tampering with input payloads during deserialization, coercing the application to execute malicious code or alter its logic.

Conclusion

Web-based communication is crucial for the future success of companies. Proactivity is the key to combating the 10 most common web security vulnerabilities on the Internet. This means regular security updates and patches, robust authentication mechanisms, secure coding practices, thorough input validation, strict configuration management, and comprehensive security testing.

By staying on top of emerging threats, fostering a culture of vigilance, and prioritizing web security, organizations can protect sensitive data, maintain customer trust and preserve their reputation in today’s digital landscape.

BKPlus Software is a Vietnamese website design, software development, and IT outsourcing company. Our team specializes in providing high-quality ReactJS, VueJS, Python, Golang, e-commerce, Node, Flutter, and mobile app development services. Contact us to discuss how we can help leverage your technology for business growth.

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