web application security

Breaking Down Web Application Scanning: Know-How and Know-Why

A Web Application Security Scanner is a program that scans a web application and identifies exploitable security vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), remote code execution (RCE), and many more. The scanner identifies architectural weaknesses in a web application through the front-end and produces a set of scan results accordingly.

Web application scanners detect security issues within a web application by performing and testing the attack types themselves. It is a dynamic testing tool and is language independent.

Why Web Application Scanning Is Important for Your Web Apps

Hackers are getting smarter by day, are you?

According to Microsoft, “a security vulnerability is a weakness in a product that could allow an attacker to compromise the integrity, availability, or confidentiality of that product.” [1]

Today’s hackers can easily find vulnerabilities within web applications that can seriously hurt any company’s reputation, revenue and customer trust.

There are several reasons why web applications are easy to hack, such as:

  1. Improperly implemented encryption system
  2. Easy availability of Password-Guessing software
  3. SQL Injection Vulnerability
  4. Improper error handling
  5. Broken authentication and session management
  6. Insecure communications, and many more

Considering these factors, it is required that any organization – ranging from small to large – that has an online presence, needs a web application scanning solution that can periodically scan for the security vulnerabilities within their applications and also prevent hackers from accessing unauthorized data.

To tackle against lurking web application vulnerabilities, today’s companies are rapidly integrating Web application scanners for their websites – to make sure of the availability of their online business, for them as well as for their customers.

How Web Application Scanners Work?

A web application scanner scans a web application, analyzes the security for your web applications, and displays a report for identified vulnerabilities, sensitive content data, and information gathered data. There are three parts to a scan that are performed: Web Crawling, Link Discovery, and Data Analysis.

Web Crawling

A web application scanner interacts with a web application by analyzing the HTML within the form fields and URLs present in it and performs parameter analysis for finding vulnerabilities. It crawls a web application under a single hostname or IP address and can extract some JavaScript-based links as well as the custom static links.

Link Discovery

A web application scanner can crawl up to 5,000 links per web application – It scans for the links such as login form submission, links requested as an anonymous user, and links requested as an authenticated user.

Data Analysis

A web application scanner can also perform the data analysis for HTTP headers, HTML content, and other responses from a web application.

Securing Web Applications

According to recent research – it was found that the average number of attacks against any company’s set of web applications ranges from 300 to 800 per day—and never fall below 140, with the most common attack types being Cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL Injection. [2]

If web application attacks continue to grow, attackers will try to penetrate your web resources and those compromised resources will be unavailable to your existing as well as potential prospects, ultimately your business will end up obtaining zero-profit.

For companies and organizations, it is important to think through security requirements. One of the best possible techniques to protect web applications is to have an application security engineer or an application developer who understands the urgent necessity for secure application development.

It is time that we ensured that application security is no longer an afterthought but a foremost one! CASE training program encompasses security activities involved in all phases of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). Learn more about the Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) here.


About the Author:

Kanishk Tagade is a Cybersecurity Evangelist, Security Researcher, Enterprise Growth Marketer, Community Member of the Data Security Council of India and Corporate contributor at many technology magazines and security awareness platforms. He is also a social micro-influencer for the latest cybersecurity defense mechanisms, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and IoT products.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of EC-Council.

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