A web application is a script that executes when a website is accessed and is used to display information in a unique way or retrieve specific data from a database. These applications can rely on server-side scripts, client-side scripts, or both.
Because web applications use scripting, it is possible for hackers to use exploits in the scripts to attack the website’s server. Since that would be a very bad thing, it is a good idea to take security measures to protect your web applications. The following five tips are basic ways to do just that:
- Vulnerability testing – Using vulnerability scans, you can find weak spots before attackers have a chance to find them and exploit them.
- Secure authentication – If your applications require user logins, you can protect their data and accounts by using SSL and enforcing strong passwords.
- Security updates – If you are using server-side scripting, you need to make sure your scripting software (such as PHP) is up-to-date. If you are using a third-party script, such as a content management system or blogging app, you should always keep it up-to-date.
- Good code – It pays to start with good code from the beginning rather than trying to patch and workaround poorly written apps.
- Application firewall – Using an application firewall can greatly reduce the risk of an attack on your web applications being successful. This differs from a network firewall in that it sits between the web and your web server to block would-be attackers.
Taking care of your web applications is a never-ending process. Set up a consistent routine of checks and updates, and you should be able to keep your website running smoothly.