Every company, business, organization, and individual with a website and a known online presence should be aware of the potential threats and vulnerabilities they face and what those could mean for their website security. More and more businesses have encountered security breaches in recent years as cybercriminals develop new methods of exploiting these vulnerabilities and other types of online security issues. Continue reading to learn all about the top eight security vulnerabilities that people need to be on the lookout for.
Injection is a type of security vulnerability through which hackers can change back-end SQL statements by actively manipulating data supplied by website users. Suppose an attacker can successfully utilize this vulnerability. In that case, they can achieve access to confidential data, create malicious content, and alter, update, and delete data stored within the back-end of the database. These SQL injections are one of the most common types of vulnerabilities present within web applications.
Cross Site Scripting
Cross Site Scripting, also known as XSS, involves harmful target scripts embedded into a website page meant to be executed on the client or user side. This manipulation of client-side scripts allows for the execution of nefarious scripts that can hijack user sessions and cookies, redirect users to malicious websites, and even deface websites altogether. These scripts also have the potential to place malware and viruses onto user devices.
Broken Authentication and Session Management
Broken authentication and session management is a term that actually encompasses a range of several security issues relating to user identity. If session identifiers- like cookies- and authentication of user credentials are not properly secured at all times, hackers can potentially hijack sessions to steal user identities and critical personal data. This means that usernames, passwords, credit card information, and more pieces of confidential data are at risk of theft.
Cross Site Request Forgery
Otherwise known as a CSRF, this type of vulnerability is precisely what its name implies; a forged request that comes from a cross site. This vulnerability comes into play when a malicious email, program, or website causes a user’s browser to perform an unintended or unwanted action on a trusted website. This provides hackers with access to personal profile information that can be stolen, altered, deleted, or copied. Profile pages, transaction pages, and user account forms are exceptionally vulnerable to this type of attack.
Applications, web servers, databases, and platforms need to have an effectively established security configuration to protect owners and users of these systems from malicious attacks. If security measures are not properly configured, hackers can achieve unauthorized access to critical and confidential data. The data that becomes accessible to hackers without security configurations can also be used to help them launch further, more extreme attacks.
Insecure Direct Object References
When website developers or administrators expose a reference to an internal implementation object- like a file, URL database key, or directory- hackers can acquire that information and use it to access other objects and confidential or unauthorized data. If an attacker gains this access, they can not only compromise the application and alter critical information, but they can also quickly locate other vulnerable areas on which they can perform future attacks.
A typical example of this involves password reset functions for websites that rely on user input to determine whose password needs to be reset. An attacker may click on and modify valid URLs to give them unauthorized access, such as replacing the username field in a URL with the word “admin.”
Sensitive Data Exposure
Sensitive data exposure is a security vulnerability that primarily revolves around protecting crypto and other resources- like credit card information and passwords. This sort of data should be encrypted at all times, especially when in storage or transit between trusted parties. If this data isn’t protected, it leaves people vulnerable to theft of critical confidential information that malicious parties can use. Such information can include social security numbers, credit card information, usernames and passwords, addresses, birthdays, healthcare data, and more.
Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards
Secure web applications utilize a few select methods of forwarding or redirecting users to different pages or locations within a website. If these forwards and redirects don’t contain proper validation, hackers can use them to send site users to other dangerous sites. Users may find themselves brought to websites with phishing schemes or unknowingly downloading malware into whatever device they are operating from. This is done through parameter manipulation of URLs, which can appear like regular website URLs but will lead unsuspecting users to hazardous sites.
Website owners, developers, and even individual users must understand the potential threats and vulnerabilities they face while operating within the online world. As easy as the internet is to use and as safe as it may seem to unsuspecting parties, there are many prominent security issues online that can harm innocent parties. Knowing about these vulnerabilities, what they can do, how they are made use of by malicious parties, and how to avoid them can help people operate more safely online without having to worry about having personal data and confidential information stolen. Keep all of these components in mind going forward to help protect yourself and your websites from malicious online attacks while building an effective and secure online presence.
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