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Application Security Antipatterns

Cybercrime is on the rise and in 3 of 4 security breaches, hackers target vulnerable applications instead of the backend infrastructures. However, this trend is surprising because the risk reduction is quite simple.

The Attack
A common application layer security breach is not too complicated. Cyber criminals often use a standard computer and operating system, and with basic IT knowledge, they can conduct highly effective cyber thefts. All over the internet or locally available applications can become a victim of an application layer attack.

Since several years open web application security project (OWASP) provides statistics on most frequently used vulnerabilities. About 2 of 5 attacks are SQL injection or cross-side scripting (XSS).  The SQL injection vulnerability, for instance, allows cyber thefts eventually to bypass the login procedure by using ‘OR 1=1–‘ instead of a valid password.

The Risk Mitigation
Application layer firewalls are essential, but they will not provide sufficient protection against application tier attacks. Even hardening of your infrastructure does not reduce the risks related to becoming a victim of such an attack. The good news is; the risk mitigation is manageable.

Firstly you should educate your developers how to implement applications which are robust against top vulnerabilities.

Secondly, you should eliminate security issues from the root. Use Enterprise Security API to filter user input and never access your database without prepared statements.

Finally, you should regularly execute secure code reviews according to security standards.

Besides this, it’s better to use standard libraries for critical areas such as encryption instead of re-inventing the wheel.


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