- Account takeover is a primary threat to web applications.
- A key factor contributing to account takeovers is the lack of password management by users.
With a surge in web and mobile applications in the passing years, attackers are constantly looking for ways to infect computers and smartphones. According to the ‘2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report’, web applications are the number one vector for attackers to breach organizations.
The four most common web layer attack types are:
- Account takeover
- API abuse
- Injection attacks
- Business logic attacks
Account takeover - It is a primary threat to web applications. The so-called ATO attacks occur when an attacker seeks to access real user accounts using stolen passwords and email or login combinations. A key factor for ATOs is the lack of password management by users. Often, most customers reuse passwords across multiple sites. Attackers take advantage of this and steal a trove login credentials. Later, these credentials end up on the Dark web for sale.
API abuse - Web APIs is an intermediary framework that enables applications to communicate and exchange data with one another. However, a vulnerability in these APIs can result in massive disruption. Attackers have attempted to manipulate sensitive APIs such as gift cards and credit card validation in attempts to perform several malicious activities. These include validating stolen credit cards, performing e-commerce gift card fraud, or obtaining patient healthcare records.
Injection attacks - They are one of the most dangerous web application attacks. They refer to a broad class of attack vectors that allow attackers to inject untrusted input to a program and alter the course of execution of that program. They can result in data theft, data loss, denial of service as well as full system compromise. Some of the common injection attacks are SQL injection, OS Command Injection and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS).
Business logic attacks - They are a class of attacks that target the business logic of an application. Attackers take advantage of a flaw in a program that manages the exchange of information between a user interface and the application’s supporting database. Most of these attacks involve weaknesses in the targeted application that result from a broken or missing security control such as authentication, access control, and input validation.
The bottom line
Understanding the key attack indicators for common web attack methods can help organizations in protecting their customers’ sensitive data. Additionally, implementing best practices for improving web application security posture can also bolster an organization’s security.