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Web Application Firewalls: The Top 10 Security Challenges and How to Meet Them

Web Application Firewalls: The Top 10 Security Challenges and How to Meet Them

May 6, 2024 | Intelligence Community News

Web applications are the entry point to an organization’s data, which makes them a prime target for hackers. From attacks that have shut down corporate and government sites, to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in the financial markets, to web breaches that leak consumer and corporate data, cybersecurity incursions are almost constantly in the news. That doesn’t even include the unreported breaches and small-scale online fraud. Unfortunately a hacker’s arsenal of tools – technical web attacks, business logic attacks, and fraud – are generally unprotected by traditional network security systems.

Hacker forums show that favorite methods of cybercrime include tactics like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). In a report from the Ponemon Institute, nearly two-thirds of organizations experienced one or more SQL injection attacks that evaded their firewall over a single year, with detection requiring an average of nearly 140 days.

And, hackers aren’t stopping at traditional web attacks. Business logic (custom rules or algorithms governing how a user interface operates and interacts with a database) attacks and fraud are also becoming increasingly popular techniques. Hackers exploit business logic flaws to scrape websites for intellectual property, and perform repeated brute force attacks or use wildcards in search fields to shut down applications. Typical application scanners can’t detect business logic flaws and secure development processes may not mitigate them.

Web application firewalls, therefore, can be an organization’s first line of defense to protect applications against threats like technical web attacks, business logic attacks, and online fraud. Unlike traditional network security solutions, web application firewalls understand web usage and validate input to stop dangerous attacks like SQL injection, XSS, and directory traversal. They block scanners and virtually patch vulnerabilities. And they rapidly evolve to prevent new attacks and keep critical applications safe.