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Hidden Web Application Threats Businesses Don’t Realize They Have

Posted DateNovember 18, 2021
Posted Time 3   min Read

There has been a significant change in the IT landscape in the wake of businesses rapidly moving to a web application-intensive, browser-based IT environment. 

Web applications come with a different architecture in comparison with standard Windows applications. Security threats have increased as a result of the dynamic and open nature of this different landscape, some of which businesses may be unaware that they even have. The hidden web application threats can have a serious impact on businesses and result in substantial losses. Awareness of these potential threats can be vital in helping to prevent future disasters.  

Beware of Hidden Threats 

Shadow IT 

One of the biggest blind spots many businesses have regarding hidden web application threats they may not even realize they have is shadow IT, creating both a security risk and a damaging disconnect between the reality of IT and the expectations of users. 

Shadow IT has a negative impact on the ability of IT to maintain the security of cloud services, according to an Intel study from 2016. While this may be unsurprising another study from Cisco in 2015 found that 51 cloud services on average are running in CIO organizations, though data analysis suggests the figure may be much higher.  

Java and Active Control X Java Vulnerabilities 

The largest security vulnerabilities are associated with Java, and it has been the recipient of a staggering amount of security fixes over the last few years. However, businesses may not realize that if they do miss so much as a single update, they will be allowing many web application threats to open up. 

Compared to other attacks, Java attacks can impact more businesses in less time. That is why Java vulnerabilities have become the wide pool of targets. Because of its ubiquity, comprehensive vulnerability management with Java-related technologies is vital for maintaining robust security.  

Similarly, ActiveX controls are a sort of program, which can be embedded in a web page or other apps to reuse packaged functionality. Most enterprises still rely on legacy apps built with Active X technology. Legacy Active X controls, which are often needed for compatibility purposes and come built-in with Windows, are often the target web application security attacks. A compromised Active X object can make the entire system vulnerable.  They are a serious risk for IT security and can be difficult to manage.    

Unnecessary Attack Surface 

An unnecessary increase of the attack surface area can happen in a browser environment due to the use of old software or having software still in play that is never used. Old and unused programs along with out-of-date software run the risk of those vulnerabilities being exploited by hackers to infiltrate a system. 

Unused software is often kept around to be used as a temporary workaround to ensure that old legacy software will remain functional by maintaining compatibility, but then workarounds get forgotten, thus, unintentionally increasing the IT attack surface.  

Zero-Day Vulnerabilities 

Zero-day threats peaked at an all-time high of 74% of all the threats detected in Q1-2021. It may take a few days, months or even years to detect a zero-day attack. 

Zero-day exploits are a massive problem and businesses could be faced with a serious threat without even realizing it when most of their business applications are running in a browser. Without a strategy being in place to deal with such threats, IT enterprises in an organization could be completely shut down. 

Application Security – The Solution to Fight Web Security Threats

Why Businesses need WAFs (Web Application Firewalls)? 

One of the main steps that can be taken to mitigate the risk of web application security threats is to make use of a web application firewall (WAF). While traditional WAF solutions are employed by most businesses, the technology is not effective without it being continuously tuned to the current risk posture, something that needs special expertise and great knowledge of the application risk. 

A new generation of fully managed risk-based cloud WAFs such as AppTrana from Indusface is the answer. These WAFs offer continuous visibility of an application’s risks and vulnerabilities, no matter how hidden, so being aware of them is the first step to ensuring they are protected from targeted attacks. 

Once a risk has been made visible, steps can be taken to immediately fix them both in the application and the managed cloud WAF service. This ensures not just the mitigation of the risk but to track the attempted attack and gain insights into the hacker, allowing for the creation of policies to block rules and increase defense capabilities. 

Making use of periodic manual penetration testing provides a deeper business logic assessment and allows businesses to stay ahead of hackers, who will not perform deeper security assessments unless the automated tools they use can find the weaknesses. 

AppTrana from Indusface is a fully managed risk-based protection and web application firewall that incorporates the component of risk detection in addition to the managed WAF to immediately tackle any web application threats and vulnerabilities, with a support team that is available 24/7 and a zero false-positive guarantee.  

Protecting your business from web application threats you may not even realize you have is crucial for the survival and success of any business in the modern age. 

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