6 Most feared web application attacks and how to beat them – Part 1 (Session Hijacking)

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With the expansion of cloud services, the traditional, downloadable applications are being transformed into online programs. For making services more accessible to users, organizations came up with programs that can be available even on the go – web applications. They give the liberty to get connected with global customers as well as staff working remotely. But the dependency on web application requires the continuous provision of services, data security, and data privacy. Its negative impact includes customer trust, brand reputation, relationship with stakeholders, and other significant ill-effects.

“Out of 40% external attacks of 1,412 global breaches, 36% were identified as web application attacks.”

Source: Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics Security Survey 2018

In this blog, you will not only learn about the most worrisome web application attacks, but also their vulnerabilities, and the best practices to stop them.

Frequently Occurring Web Application Attacks

Before we dive into six most destructive web app attacks, check out this video on what comprises of web application attacks:

Apart from traditional risks, the connected nature of online web applications gives rise to additional concerns. Organizations need certified professionals with advanced penetration testing skills to beat dreadful web application attacks. For that, they need a professional with mastery in penetration testing tools.

Session Hijacking

session hijacking

Session hijacking is an attack over user sessions by masquerading as an authorized user. Generally, it is applicable to browser sessions and web applications hacking. You can understand session hijacking as a form of Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attack. The threat actor works as a sniffer to observe and collect data transmitted through devices.

Which vulnerability can lead to session hijacking? By exploiting broken session management or stealing cookies, cybercriminals can hijack a user session. The attack works on the web session control mechanism, managed by session tokens.

The attack starts with the identification of vulnerable protocols, such as HTTP, telnet, rlogin, and others. After this, the attacker looks for a legit data packet passing over the protected network. Their data gathering process helps in obtaining the session id. They also use Denial-of-Service (DoS) to take one of the parties offline, resulting in a condition called ACK storm, i. e, exploiting the identified weaknesses in the TCP protocol specification. The final blow comes with taking control over communication between server and workstation. The malicious actor also uses IP address spoofing against the server to attack the communication session.

How can you stop session hijacking attacks?

  • The optimal way is to protect the client-side.
  • Installation of fruitful antivirus and anti-malware software programs will help the client-side sessions.
  • Keep installed software up to date.
  • On the server-side, a tracker should be put up for all the IP addresses and SSL session ids. The technique will manage a database containing fingerprints of all the session requests.

What are the skills required to combat session hijacking attacks?

To fight against session hijacking, one must possess detailed knowledge of computer networking, client and server-side scripting, and holistic penetration testing.

Along with the mentioned web application attacks, another common web app attack will be covered in our next blog. Stay tuned to learn about the injection attack! Under the upcoming blog, you will learn about the vulnerabilities that will lead you to the attack and the skills needed to handle it.

Prove your penetration testing skills with Licensed Penetration Tester (L|PT) Master! L|PT (Master) is an 18-hour-long exam divided into three equal intervals (6 + 6 + 6 hours). To make it challenging and yet, convenient, it is conducted online and remotely proctored. The program focuses on bringing out the best in you. It tests your perseverance and validates your professional credibility as a penetration tester.


What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing is a simulated attack against a security system for identifying potential vulnerabilities.

Read more: What is Penetration Testing? How Does It Differ From Ethical Hacking?

Why do you need penetration testing?
Organizations need penetration testing to defend security infrastructure from sophisticated cybercrimes proactively. It helps their businesses to stay afloat.

Read more: 5 Reasons Why Businesses Need Penetration Testing

How often should you perform penetration testing?
Penetration testing should be conducted regularly, once or twice a year. And, with each major security patch or update, it is recommended to run another pen test.

Read more: Why, When, and How Often Should You Conduct a Penetration Test

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