What are the most common web app susceptibilities?

No one wants an unsecured app tied to their business. Which web app susceptibilities are most common? How can you address and remedy them? Keep reading to learn what these tech-savvy individuals recommend to keep your app safe.
Peter Michaels

Peter Michaels

XML External Entity (XXE) Injection Vulnerability

The XML External Entity (XXE) injection vulnerability occurs when an application handles XML input from untrusted sources without adequate validation. This allows attackers to exploit the vulnerability, potentially gaining access to sensitive information or initiating denial-of-service attacks. Shockingly, research revealed that 42% of web applications evaluated were vulnerable to XXE injection. Developers can combat this by employing input validation, disabling external entity processing, and utilizing safe XML parsing libraries to mitigate the risk effectively.

Next, let’s shine a light on insecure deserialization, a vulnerability that permits attackers to manipulate serialized objects to execute arbitrary code or conduct various attacks. A recent analysis uncovered that 30% of web applications examined had deserialization vulnerabilities. Mitigating this risk involves validating and sanitizing serialized data, implementing integrity checks, and considering alternative data exchange formats where possible.

It’s crucial to address server-side request forgery (SSRF), a vulnerability where an attacker exploits an application to send malicious requests from the server. This vulnerability can lead to data exposure, remote code execution, and even compromise internal systems. SSRF accounted for 20% of reported vulnerabilities in web applications last year. To defend against SSRF attacks, developers should enforce strict input validation, implement whitelisting or URL validation mechanisms, and utilize appropriate network segmentation to limit the potential impact.

Insecure Direct Object References

Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR) occur when an attacker can manipulate object references or access resources they shouldn’t have access to.

To address vulnerabilities:

    ● Proper access controls and authorization: Implement strong access controls to ensure that users can only access the resources they are authorized to access. To enforce correct permission, use technologies such as role-based access control (RBAC) or attribute-based access control (ABAC).

    ● Avoid exposing sensitive information: Avoid exposing sensitive information or database identifiers in URLs or client-side code. Use indirect references, such as unique identifiers or randomized tokens, rather than predictable sequential values.

    ● Regularly test and review access controls: Conduct regular security assessments to identify and address any potential IDOR vulnerabilities. Test the application’s access controls through penetration testing and ensure that sensitive resources are properly protected.

Jack Devid

Jack Devid

HR Manager at StarLinkHow.
Doris Joyce

Doris Joyce

Co-founder of Electrly.

SQL Injections

The most common web app susceptibility that many businesses encounter is SQL injections. This is a vulnerable point of the business which, if not secured, allows hackers to inject malicious SQL statements into any web application and use it as a channel for stealing data stored in the app’s database.

The best approach to protecting your web application against an SQL injection vulnerability is to implement a web application firewall (WAF). WAFs ensure no statements can be added to the SQL, thereby protecting against data theft.

Authentication Issues

It’s undeniably an authentication issue. Whether it’s your back end developer forgetting to set a cookie or your stack architect forgetting to check for a specific code compliance. These little mistakes can spell the end of your business. If your user data isn’t safe, your business isn’t safe. These can be addressed by instilling a compliance officer role in your company or by hiring a cyber security role. Depending on how big your business is, you could likely need both.

Justin Soleimani

Justin Soleimani

Co-founder of Tumble.

Directory Traversal Attacks

Directory traversal attacks are one of the most common web app vulnerabilities. Also known as backtracking, directory traversal attacks exploit how the web app receives data from a web server. A malicious attacker can identify URL formats that the target app uses for file requests, which can lead to data breaches. Penetration testing is the best course of action to address this issue.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.