Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Reinhard Brandstädter, Elizabeth White, Thanh Tran, Liz McMillan, Cynthia Dunlop

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Cloud Security

Microservices Expo: Article

Common Web Application Security Vulnerabilities and Mitigation

It's easy to avoid common vulnerabilities with little precaution

Web applications are vulnerable to a multitude of security attacks. This exposes the underlying businesses and the consumer data to public view. However it is a common observation that web developers hardly take any preventive steps to secure their web applications.

Most of the time web application developers focus only on authentication and authorization to secure the web applications. This may be a viable approach for designing an intranet application. However, for the Internet application, multiple programming practices need to be followed to prevent such attacks.

This article details in brief the various security vulnerabilities web applications face and how they can be mitigated.

Bypassing Input Validation
Generally developers validate the user input using JavaScript validations. Once the information is sent to the server side, developers do not validate again, since they assume that JavaScript validations can block all invalid data.

Hackers, however, can simply save the page to their local hard disk and modify the JavaScript to not do the validation. They can then submit the page.

Mitigation
All input should be validated twice - first on the client side and then on the server side. Client-side validation is done using Java Script. The server-side validation is done using the respective server-side technology like Java, .NET or PHP

SQL Injection
An attacker can submit input that would pass the JavaScript and server-side validation. However, the input is actually an SQL query. Since the input is used to construct the SQL queries, such an input would alter the SQL query and give unauthorized information back to the attacker.

Mitigation
Use Prepared Statements to fire queries. Don't use string concatenation with the user input to create dynamic queries

Unprotected Resources
The attacker can guess the URLs of unprotected resources. Such information can be divulged by reading the code comments or it could be guessed.

Mitigation
All web content must be protected by authentication. In the case of Java web application programming, keep all the unprotected and sensitive code under WEB-INF. A similar solution exists for PHP and other server-side technologies.

Reverse Engineering
For rich client applications such as those using Java Applets, Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, etc., the entire byte code gets transmitted to the client side. An attacker can decompile the byte code and gain sensitive information.

Mitigation
The client-side code shouldn't contain any business logic. It also shouldn't contain business logic validation. The code should be obfuscated before sending to the client.

Weak Authentication
Many times attackers can gain access to a secure website by using common terms like ‘admin,' ‘test,' etc. Developers often use these user names and passwords for testing purposes and often forget to remove them from the production systems.

Mitigation
Developers should not be given access to a production database for testing purposes. All testing must happen in UAT and it should use real user names and passwords.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
When you open two websites in two different browser tabs, you don't expect one website on a given tab to steal your passwords from another tab.

However, this is possible, if you are using an old version of the browser or if you're using an infected browser

Mitigation
Encourage users to upgrade to the latest version of the browsers. Also technologies that use secure sandboxing such as Java Applets and Adobe Flex and many others should be used for creating rich-client applications.

Conclusion
About 80% of all web security breaches can be prevented by addressing the above vulnerabilities. A regular code review is very much required to correct the oversight on the part of programmers.

There are also various tools available that will detect the common vulnerabilities for you. Many of these tools, however, generate false positives and need substantial time to separate false positives from real alerts.

Ultimately these tools can't fix the code. That has to be done by the developer. Thus, appropriate review procedures must be established and awareness should be propagated to educate developers on the vulnerabilities and their mitigation.

More Stories By Mahesh K Punjabi

Mahesh K Punjabi is a senior technology architect with Infosys Technologies Ltd. He has extensive experience designing enterprise applications using Java and multitude of RIA technologies including Flex and GWT. His other passions include photography and speaking with Toastmasters' clubs.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Just last week a senior Hybris consultant shared the story of a customer engagement on which he was working. This customer had problems, serious problems. We’re talking about response times far beyond the most liberal acceptable standard. They were unable to solve the issue in their eCommerce platform – specifically Hybris. Although the eCommerce project was delivered by a system integrator / implementation partner, the vendor still gets involved when things go really wrong. After all, the vendo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
Agile teams report the lowest rate of measuring non-functional requirements. What does this mean for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything? To explore how the rise of SDLC acceleration trends such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery are impacting software quality, Parasoft conducted a survey about measuring and monitoring non-functional requirements (NFRs). Here's a glimpse at what we discovered and what it means for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuo...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Many banks and financial institutions are experimenting with containers in development environments, but when will they move into production? Containers are seen as the key to achieving the ultimate in information technology flexibility and agility. Containers work on both public and private clouds, and make it easy to build and deploy applications. The challenge for regulated industries is the cost and complexity of container security compliance. VM security compliance is already challenging, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Application development and delivery methods have undergone radical changes in recent years to improve scalability and resiliency. Container images are the new build and deployment artifacts that are used to ship and run software. While startups have long been comfortable experimenting with and embracing new technologies, even large enterprises are now re-architecting their software systems so that they can benefit from container-enabled micro services architectures. With the launch of DC/OS, w...
You might already know them from theagileadmin.com, but let me introduce you to two of the leading minds in the Rugged DevOps movement: James Wickett and Ernest Mueller. Both James and Ernest are active leaders in the DevOps space, in addition to helping organize events such as DevOpsDays Austinand LASCON. Our conversation covered a lot of bases from the founding of Rugged DevOps to aligning organizational silos to lessons learned from W. Edwards Demings.