January 27

4 common website vulnerabilities you need to look out for


Many contemporary businesses, both small and large, have experienced data breaches. These breaches in security can be devastating, causing millions of dollars in damage and even driving some businesses to liquidation.

Unfortunately, most businesses aren’t fully aware of the harm a security breach can cause until they experience it themselves. Many businesses may not even be aware that their company’s website has certain vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

These vulnerabilities may not always be very obvious, especially to anyone who isn’t very familiar with cybersecurity, but these can prove to be easy entry points for opportunistic hackers to steal a company’s data and carry out other illegal activities.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at four common website vulnerabilities that you need to look out for to prevent potential security breaches.

1. Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-Site Scripting, also called XSS for short, is a type of website vulnerability that allows hackers to compromise a web application by injecting a code, which is usually a client-side script, into the application’s output.

XSS vulnerabilities allow hackers to pretend to be their victims—this means they can carry out actions that the victim can perform and access their data as well. What’s even worse is that if the victim had special privileges within the application, the hacker may have full control over these as well.

You can test for these vulnerabilities by using a web scanning tool, like Grabber, which is a free web scanning tool. These tools inject code, such as URLs and cookies, into the website application, and if the tool is successful in injecting information into a web page, your website may be vulnerable to XSS attacks. These tools also tell you about this vulnerability and what kind of script was used.

In addition, you can use an encoding library such as HTML Purifier to encode user input before displaying it. This will ensure that any malicious code is properly encoded and cannot be executed. 

You can also set up a content security policy to restrict the types of content that can be loaded in the browser—this will help to prevent malicious code from being executed.

2. SQL Injection

SQL injections can be used to gain unauthorised access to an organisation’s databases, steal sensitive data, or even modify or delete existing data. They can also be used to launch denial-of-service attacks, which can cause significant damage to an organisation’s operations. 

SQL injection attacks are a type of malicious code injection attack that targets websites and applications that are vulnerable to malicious code injection. In a SQL injection attack, malicious code is inserted into an application’s SQL query to gain access to sensitive data or perform other malicious actions. 

The malicious code is usually inserted into a vulnerable field or query string in an application.

Organisations can protect themselves from this vulnerability by making sure that input data is properly validated and is not vulnerable to malicious code injection. In addition, organisations should ensure that their systems are running the latest security patches and that they are using a tool like the SQL Injection Scanner to protect against malicious code injections. 

Another way to prevent SQL injections is to use Parameterised Queries. SQL injections use placeholders in the SQL statement and then supply the parameters at execution time. This helps to filter out any malicious code that’s trying to get into the query.

3. Cross-Site Request Forgery

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is a type of malicious attack that exploits the trust between a user and a web application. It is a form of attack where a malicious website, email, or program causes the user’s web browser to perform an unwanted action on a trusted site when the user is authenticated.

Attackers use CSRF by inducing a user to click on a malicious link or by including malicious code in a website that the user visits. The attacker can then use the user’s credentials to send a forged request to the web application. 

The malicious request appears to be a legitimate request from the user and the web application does not recognise the difference between the forged request and a legitimate request from the user.

Fortunately, several preventive measures can be taken to prevent this vulnerability, such as using token-based authentication and cross-site request validation. Token-based authentication is used to verify that the request is coming from a valid user and cross-site request validation is used to ensure that the data sent by the user is valid.

Some other ways to prevent CSRF include using a same-site cookie. This type of cookie is only sent with requests from the same domain and will be blocked by the browser if it is sent from a different domain.

Limiting the origins of requests can also help reduce CSRF. This can be done by only allowing requests from specific domains or IP addresses.

4. Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards

Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards are a type of web application attack that can occur when an attacker tricks a web application into redirecting a user to an untrusted website. This type of attack is especially dangerous because it can be used to phish for sensitive data, spread malware, or gain access to a user’s system.

When this type of attack is successful, the attacker can control where the user is redirected after clicking on a malicious link. This link can redirect users to a malicious website, which can then collect any data entered by the user. 

To protect against Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards, developers should ensure that all redirects and forwards are validated to ensure that they are pointing to an approved, trusted website.

In addition, you can implement anti-CSRF tokens on your forms to prevent malicious actors from forging requests to your application—this will help protect against unvalidated redirects and forwards.

Don’t leave your website open to attack

There are many ways cybercriminals can take advantage of your organisation and your customers through your website. Fortunately, through some careful and comprehensive website audits, vulnerabilities in your website can be found and dealt with.

Speak with a well-reputed web developer to see how you can increase website security and make your website a safe place for everyone.

You may also like