It is important to be mindful of security for your desktop computer, your mobile devices, and your online accounts, but few business or personal technologies are more at risk to attacks by cybercriminals than web applications. This is mostly because web applications are dynamic and face the web without the luxury of hiding behind a firewall.
The following security tips should help you keep your web applications safe:
- Regular updates (including commercial and open source applications, development software, and database servers)
- Web application firewall – An application firewall acts as another layer of security between the outside world and your server
- Use a vulnerability scanner to track down weaknesses
- Use reliable pre-coded apps and frameworks with good security records
- Always verify secure permissions for new files
- Store all sensitive data outside of web-facing directories
- Encrypt configuration files, especially ones that include your database password
- Disable risky scripting functions you do not need to lessen the risk of cross-site scripting
- Limit file uploads and confine uploads to designated directories
- Avoid storing sensitive user data when possible, and encrypt any transactions or data you must store
Above all else, test and retest your web applications before deployment. Once they are live, perform routine security audits and monitor your server regularly for suspicious activity.