Cross-site scripting (XSS): Cross Site Scripting (XSS) is a security issue that web applications need to address. This vulnerability arises when malicious individuals inject code into applications making it one of the most commonly exploited weaknesses, on the internet. Surprisingly statistics show that 40% of all cyberattacks can be traced back, to XSS attacks, which is quite alarming.
The outcomes of XSS attacks can have severe consequences. These can vary from the theft of user credentials to session hijacking, which ultimately grants individuals access to the victim’s accounts. This jeopardizes user privacy to an extent and has the potential to result in catastrophic events such, as data breaches and unauthorized disclosure of personal information.
Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): CSRF attacks are a security concern for web applications. They involve the hijacking of a users session cookie to impersonate their browser session. This deceptive technique allows attackers to manipulate users into executing harmful code or carrying out unauthorized actions, on the targeted website or application. CSRF attacks exploit the trust established between the user and the website, tricking the server into accepting unauthorized requests that appear legitimate.
The modus operandi of CSRF attacks often involves the exploitation of unprotected form elements present on a web page. Hackers identify these vulnerable form elements and utilize them as a gateway to inject malicious code into the website or application. Once injected, the malicious code takes advantage of the user’s authenticated session to execute unintended actions, causing significant harm to the user and the application.
To fortify web applications against CSRF attacks, developers must implement effective countermeasures. One of the most widely used and effective methods is the incorporation of CSRF tokens in all forms within the website. A CSRF token serves, as an unpredictable value that gets created for every user session and is placed within web forms. When a form is submitted by a user the server verifies the CSRF token to confirm that the request is genuine and doesn’t come from an origin. If the token is either missing or invalid the server declines the request thus thwarting any success of a CSRF attack.
Client-Side Issues: The introduction of external APIs on the client side can render the application more susceptible to attacks, often due to poor web development practices. Client-side browser scripts can access all content returned by the web app directly to the browser, including sensitive data like user session IDs, potentially leading to session hijacking and probing for sensitive user data.
Adopt Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP): RASP is a technology designed to detect real-time attacks on applications by analyzing their behavior and context. As it continuously monitors the app’s behavior, RASP can identify and mitigate issues promptly without requiring manual intervention.
Avoid using the eval() function: The eval() function, though convenient, exposes applications to potential attacks and vulnerabilities. It is advisable for developers to avoid using the eval() function and instead opt for secure alternatives.
Encrypt with SSL/HTTPS: Protect your data by employing encryption on both the client and server ends. This way even if unauthorized individuals manage to breach the security measures they will only find encrypted information that’s indecipherable and useless, to them. Secure cookies can also limit their use to secure and encrypted website pages only.
ZAP: Developed by OWASP, ZAP is a versatile tool that can scan websites for multiple vulnerabilities, with a customizable interface for specific requirements.
Grabber: Suitable for smaller applications and websites, Grabber scans for XSS, SQL injection, and file inclusion vulnerabilities.
Wapiti: An advanced tool executed through the command line, Wapiti tests attack and injection vectors, detecting various vulnerabilities.