WAF or Web Application Firewall

Cybersecurity intrusions have increased at an unprecedented rate due to the current pandemic situation as well as the increased adoption of digital initiatives. To remain competitive, businesses incorporate the use of web applications to complete daily tasks whilst remaining oblivious to the dangers that come with it. The security flaws in the web applications and users’ lack of security awareness are some of the factors exposing businesses to a host of security risks. Security experts leverage WAF or Web Application Firewall to protect their web applications.

What is a Web Application Firewall (WAF)?

WAF or web application firewalls are one of the web security defensive mechanisms deployed by businesses all over the globe to protect Layer 7 or Application Layer from web-based security threats. It secures business-critical web apps from the OWASP Top 10, zero-day threats, known or unknown application vulnerabilities, as well as an array of other web application layer attacks that impact the community.

The primary role of such web application firewalls is to actively monitor, detect, and mitigate web security threats that can potentially disrupt critical web operations, damage the data present on IT equipment such as servers while reporting suspicious activities, and stopping malicious unauthorized attempts. In a nutshell, WAF is a critical component of web security and is used to increase the security of web applications and services.

Why Web Application Firewall (WAF) is Important

Many people are taking their business online to remain competitive and the way their business uses the Internet has dramatically changed in the past decade. They embraced digital transformation by incorporating the use of web applications to complete daily tasks and store vast amounts of data online. These web applications can be accessed anywhere and on any device.

Data breaches are expensive and according to the 2020 Cost of Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach to businesses is US$3.86 million. Despite this, a study claimed that out of three web applications, one was graded to having a low level of web security which leads to having a greater risk of cyber threats. A breach on a web application causes several problems and if the breach is made into a news headline, it will damage the company’s reputation, put its data at risk, and affect the company’s credibility.

A WAF or Web Application Firewall is the most effective tool for monitoring and filtering malicious traffic to protect web applications and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Hackers today have become increasingly adept at disguising their code to breach a web application. However, WAF with its ability to scan every HTTP request can help a company strengthen its web application security and better safeguard its data from evolving threats.

Types of Threats Web Application Firewall (WAF) Can Prevent

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WAF or Web Application Firewall solutions have the capabilities to tackle emerging security threats. Deployment of a WAF solution can enable you to integrate the element of security in your web applications, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), products, services, and processes. To begin with, below are some of the most common security threats that WAF solutions can prevent.

Injection

Attackers can inject malicious code by exploiting untrusted data sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query.

Broken Authentication

Hackers can assume other users’ identities through compromised passwords, API tokens, or other authentication flaws.

Sensitive Data Exposure

Cybercriminals may steal or modify weakly protected sensitive data to commit credit card fraud, identity theft, or other crimes.

XML External Entities (XXE)

Poorly configured XML processors evaluate external entities which can be used to exploit and disclose internal files.

Broken Access Controls

Improper restrictions on authenticated users are to be exploited by attackers to access confidential files without authorization.

Security Misconfiguration

Insecure or incomplete default configurations can lead to security misconfiguration which contributes to a breach in a web application.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

XSS vulnerabilities in a web application often lead to script execution without validation by hackers which can hijack user sessions.

Insecure Deserialization

Insecure deserialization enables cybercriminals to perform an attack on a web application by executing code remotely.

Known Vulnerabilities Components

Components with known vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers because it runs with the same privileges as the application.

Insufficient Logging and Monitoring

Insufficient logging and monitoring without effective incident response enable hackers to further attack and maintain persistence.

Bad Bots

Bad bots often mimic human interaction to perform attacks such as web scraping, data mining, account takeover, and transaction fraud.

Malicious Uploads

Web applications that enable users to upload their own content are vulnerable to malicious code payloads from cybercriminals.

Unknown Vulnerabilities

Attackers are increasingly adept at disguising their code to exploit flaws with no signatures that exist before on a web application.

Zero-Day Attacks

Any newly discovered vulnerabilities on a web application are to be misused by hackers to perform a cyber attack on the same day.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

Cybercriminals may attempt to overwhelm a web application with unusual levels of traffic coming from different sources at the same time.

Protect Your Web Applications Now

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WAF or Web Application Firewall is one of the most important web security defensive mechanisms to protect web applications and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) against emerging cyber threats. A WAF solution such as FortiWeb is available in physical, virtual appliances, and containers deployed on-site or in the public cloud to serve any size of the organization — from small businesses to service providers, carriers, and large enterprises. Talk to us at Spectrum Edge, to get your own WAF protection.