As our society becomes even more reliant on online services and platforms, consumers have to be aware of any issues that may lurk in the shadows. Quite a few platforms suffer from even the most basic of web security vulnerabilities, which is quite a troublesome development. Below are four of the most common issues that can cripple any online platform with relative ease.
4. Injection Vulnerability
Most people have heard of how hackers take control of particular websites through an “injection”. In most cases, this occurs through SQL injections, which allow criminals to pass unfiltered data to the database server. This also allows assailants to inject commands into the database, ultimately leading to information being compromised. By filtering all input properly, injection vulnerabilities become a non-issue with relative ease. That is, assuming all input is filtered without exception.
3. Broken Authentication
There are several ways platforms can incorporate authentication with relative ease. Unfortunately, a lot of people still use their own authentication code, which is one thing everyone needs to avoid. Using a framework solves virtually any problem with authentication that could ever arise, even though it may require some advanced knowledge out outside help to set up. These efforts will pay off rather quickly in the end, though.
2. Security Misconfiguration
As is the case with anything on the internet, security of a platform comes down to configuration and getting it right the first time. In quite a few cases, web servers and applications are misconfigured in such a way it becomes child’s play for assailants to gain access. One obvious example is running outdated software, but there is also the risk of running an unnecessary amount of services on one particular platform.
The only way to counter all of these issues is by creating a sandboxed copy of the platform where new features and add-ons can be deployed and tested. Doing so in a live environment from the get go can create a lot of unnecessary problems. Moreover, the sandboxed environment will also allow for proper testing of all features and their security before opening it up to the public.
1. Exposing Sensitive Data
There have been so many data breaches over the past few years one would almost wonder how criminals can obtain information so easily. In a shocking number of cases, companies fail to encrypt sensitive information. Not hashing passwords is another common security malpractice these days.
Using HTTPS with a proper certificate is a step in the right direction for sure. Additionally, platforms have to decide whether they need to store sensitive data – and encrypt it if so – or just delete it once it is no longer required. There is no reason to put a target on one’s back if there are other viable solutions available.
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