As many as 70% of web sites have vulnerabilities that could lead to the theft of sensitive corporate data such as credit card information and customer lists.
The importance of Web Application Scanning
Organizations need a Web application scanning solution that can scan for security loopholes in Web-based applications to prevent would-be hackers from gaining unauthorized access to corporate information and data. Web applications are proving to be the weakest link in overall corporate security, even though companies have left no stone unturned in installing the better-known network security and anti-virus solutions. Quick to take advantage of this vulnerability, hackers have now begun to use Web applications as a platform for gaining access to corporate data; consequently the regular use of a web application scanner is essential.
Web Applications Are Easy to Hack
The hacker’s life has become tougher in recent days. Thanks to various intrusion detection and defense mechanisms developed by network security companies, it is no longer easy to breach security perimeters and gain unauthorized access to an organization’s network.
Today, firewalls, security scanners and antivirus software protect almost all corporate networks. Hemmed in by such constraints, hackers have been researching alternate ways to breach the security infrastructure.
Unfortunately, hackers have been successful in finding a gaping hole in the corporate security infrastructure, one of which organizations were previously unaware – Web applications. By design, Web applications are publicly available on the Internet, 24/7. This provides hackers with easy access and allows almost unlimited attempts to hack applications that have not been identified by webmasters as vulnerable through the use of a web application scanning solution.
While the adoption of Web-based technologies for conducting business has enabled organizations to connect seamlessly with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders, it has also exposed a multitude of previously unknown security risks. According to Pete Lindstrom, Director of Security Strategies with the Hurwitz Group, Web applications, when not audited regularly with the use of a web application scanner, are the most vulnerable elements of an organization’s IT infrastructure today.
What is a Web Application
A Web application is an application that resides on a company’s Web server, which any authorized user can access over a network, such as the World Wide Web or an Intranet.
A Web application is a three-layered application. Normally, the first layer would be a Web browser, the second would be a content generation technology tool such as Java servlets or ASP (Active Server Pages), and the third layer would be the company database.
The Web browser makes the initial request to the middle layer, which, in turn, accesses the database to perform the requested task, either by retrieving information from the database, or by updating it.
Since Web applications reside on a server, they can be updated and modified at any time without any distribution or installation of software on the client’s machines – the main reason for the widespread adoption of Web applications in today’s organizations.
Examples of Web applications include shopping carts, forms, login pages, dynamic content, discussion boards and blogs.