Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Stackify Blog, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White

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
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
We define Hybrid IT as a management approach in which organizations create a workload-centric and value-driven integrated technology stack that may include legacy infrastructure, web-scale architectures, private cloud implementations along with public cloud platforms ranging from Infrastructure-as-a-Service to Software-as-a-Service.
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He wi...
These days, change is the only constant. In order to adapt and thrive in an ever-advancing and sometimes chaotic workforce, companies must leverage intelligent tools to streamline operations. While we're only at the dawn of machine intelligence, using a workflow manager will benefit your company in both the short and long term. Think: reduced errors, improved efficiency and more empowered employees-and that's just the start. Here are five other reasons workflow automation is leading a revolution...
As today's digital disruptions bounce and smash their way through conventional technologies and conventional wisdom alike, predicting their path is a multifaceted challenge. So many areas of technology advance on Moore's Law-like exponential curves that divining the future is fraught with danger. Such is the problem with artificial intelligence (AI), and its related concepts, including cognitive computing, machine learning, and deep learning.
We have Continuous Integration and we have Continuous Deployment, but what’s continuous across all of what we do is people. Even when tasks are automated, someone wrote the automation. So, Jayne Groll evangelizes about Continuous Everyone. Jayne is the CEO of the DevOps Institute and the author of Agile Service Management Guide. She talked about Continuous Everyone at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. She describes it as "about people, culture, and collaboration mapped into your value streams....
In our first installment of this blog series, we went over the different types of applications migrated to the cloud and the benefits IT organizations hope to achieve by moving applications to the cloud. Unfortunately, IT can’t just press a button or even whip up a few lines of code to move applications to the cloud. Like any strategic move by IT, a cloud migration requires advanced planning.
Did you know that you can develop for mainframes in Java? Or that the testing and deployment can be automated across mobile to mainframe? In his session and demo at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Dana Boudreau, a Senior Director at CA Technologies, will discuss how increasingly teams are developing with agile methodologies, using modern development environments, and automating testing and deployments, mobile to mainframe.
“Why didn’t testing catch this” must become “How did this make it to testing?” Traditional quality teams are the crutch and excuse keeping organizations from making the necessary investment in people, process, and technology to accelerate test automation. Just like societies that did not build waterways because the labor to keep carrying the water was so cheap, we have created disincentives to automate. In her session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Anne Hungate, President of Daring System...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory?
Most companies are adopting or evaluating container technology - Docker in particular - to speed up application deployment, drive down cost, ease management and make application delivery more flexible overall. As with most new architectures, this dream takes a lot of work to become a reality. Even when you do get your application componentized enough and packaged properly, there are still challenges for DevOps teams to making the shift to continuous delivery and achieving that reduction in cost ...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is ...
Docker is on a roll. In the last few years, this container management service has become immensely popular in development, especially given the great fit with agile-based projects and continuous delivery. In this article, I want to take a brief look at how you can use Docker to accelerate and streamline the software development lifecycle (SDLC) process.
Cloud adoption is often driven by a desire to increase efficiency, boost agility and save money. All too often, however, the reality involves unpredictable cost spikes and lack of oversight due to resource limitations. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Joe Kinsella, CTO and Founder of CloudHealth Technologies, tackled the question: “How do you build a fully optimized cloud?” He will examine: Why TCO is critical to achieving cloud success – and why attendees should be thinking holistically ab...
DevOps is good for organizations. According to the soon to be released State of DevOps Report high-performing IT organizations are 2X more likely to exceed profitability, market share, and productivity goals. But how do they do it? How do they use DevOps to drive value and differentiate their companies? We recently sat down with Nicole Forsgren, CEO and Chief Scientist at DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) and lead investigator for the State of DevOps Report, to discuss the role of measure...
If you are part of the cloud development community, you certainly know about “serverless computing”, almost a misnomer. Because it implies there are no servers which is untrue. However the servers are hidden from the developers. This model eliminates operational complexity and increases developer productivity. We came from monolithic computing to client-server to services to microservices to serverless model. In other words, our systems have slowly “dissolved” from monolithic to function-by-func...