Web Security Vulnerabilities

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Website Vulnerability: Meaning and Definition

Vulnerability is a cyber security term referring to a flaw in a system that can leave it open to attack. Vulnerabilities are constantly being researched and detected by software companies, the security industry, cyber-criminals, and other individuals.

A website vulnerability refers to a weakness or misconfiguration in a website or web application code that permits an attacker to gain some level of control of the website, and maybe even the hosting server. Most vulnerabilities are exploited via automated means, such as botnets and vulnerability scanners. Cyber-criminals develop specialized tools that scour the internet for specific platforms, like Joomla or WordPress, looking for common vulnerabilities. Once detected, these vulnerabilities are then exploited to distribute malicious content, steal data, or inject defacement and spam content into the vulnerable website.

Common Web Security Vulnerabilities

  • Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
    This vulnerability targets an application’s users by injecting code into a web application’s output. This is typically a client-side script such as JavaScript. XSS aims at manipulating client-side scripts of a web application in order to execute in the way chosen by the attacker. XSS permits attackers to execute scripts in the victim’s browser which can deface websites, redirect the user to malicious sites, or hijack user sessions.
  • Broken Authentication and Session Management
    Broken authentication and session management include a number of security issues dealing with maintaining a user’s identity. If session identifiers and authentication credentials are not constantly protected, an attacker will be able to hijack an active session and take on the identity of a user.
  • SQL Injections
    SQL injection is one of the most predominant types of web application security vulnerabilities. This is a type of vulnerability in which an attacker tries to use application code to corrupt or access database content. If this turns out to be a success, the attacker will be allowed to create, read, update, delete, or modify data stored in the back-end database.
  • Security Misconfiguration
    Security misconfiguration incorporates several types of vulnerabilities all centered on a lack of attention and a lack of maintenance of the web application configuration. It is essential to define and deploy a secure configuration for the frameworks, application server, application, database server, platform, and web server. Security misconfiguration allows hackers to get access to private data or features, resulting in a complete system compromise.
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
    This is a malicious attack in which users get tricked into executing an action they had not intended to do. A third-party website sends a request to a web application that a user is already authenticated against. The attacker then accesses functionality through the victim’s already authenticated browser. Targets comprise of web applications like online banking, in-browser email clients, social media, and web interfaces for network devices.
  • Insecure Direct Object References
    Insecure direct object reference takes place when a web application exposes a reference to an internal implementation object like database records, directories, files, and database keys. When an application succeeds in exposing a reference to one of these objects in a URL, hackers will be able to manipulate it to obtain access to a user’s personal data.