Websites and web applications are the primary entry points targeted by cybercriminals because they are public and the most exposed assets of an organization. Some popular forms of attack performed on web applications and servers are the cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection (SQLi) attacks, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Such attacks can cause massive damage to the data as well as the reputation of a company. That is why companies use modern security applications and tools to protect their organizational data from breaches and cyber-attacks. One of the most common web security applications is the firewall. It can be a security device that is hardware or software that protects the systems from unofficial access.Let us understand the web application firewall in detail
The web application definition says that it is a client program that is responsible for utilizing web browsers and web technology for performing tasks over the internet. Now, since we have understood what a web application is, let us now understand what WAF is.
What is WAF? The WAF full form is a Web Application Firewall. We can define a Web Application Firewall (WAF) as a particular type of web application meant for security purposes. Companies use the WAF firewalls as a security solution to protect web applications and other internet applications from getting compromised.
While sending and receiving information using HTTP in the client-server architecture, Web Application Firewall can identify, filter, and block malicious traffic on the world wide web from arriving into the web application. Denial of Service (DoS) is one of the prevalent attack vectors that Web Application Firewall can restrict from happening. Now since you have understood the Web Application Firewall meaning, let us now understand the different types of Web Application Firewalls.
There are three different types of Web Application Firewalls. These are:
Similar to other firewalls, WAP firewalls are hardware and software components of a network. Companies plug the hardware WAF within the existing network architecture or install the software WAF, usually accessible as a web server plugin or an inline code. In both cases, the WAF will analyze the GET and the POST request sent by the HTTPS or HTTP. Based on the organization’s policies and rules set within the firewall, it will automatically filter the malicious web traffic. Organizations also fed these web application firewalls with the top ten critical web application risks that act as a primary threat to web security. OWASP Foundation is a non-profit cyber-security organization that regularly updates such web application vulnerabilities.
Companies can configure these WAF applications to stay updated to protect web applications from those vulnerabilities. Accessing session cookies, stealing sensitive data, or rewriting content to forge information can lead to an XSS attack on the web application. Misconfiguration of servers, default passwords with poorly configured systems, gaining unauthorized access, etc. can also cause security breaches to web applications.
Organizations can easily protect themselves from all these attack vectors by configuring their Web Application Firewall by enforcing security directives, refusing insecure protocols, locking down parts of the website, only granting authentic access to trusted individuals, logging tracks, detecting ping floods, etc. Just like the way a web proxy server acts as an intermediary between the client and the server to protect the user identity – WAP operates as an intermediary like a reverse proxy. It first accepts the client request and filters out the good ones to pass it to the web application.
Web Application Firewall protects websites and web applications from different severe attack vectors and keeps the organization’s web-assets intact. Here are some of the benefits of a web application firewall.
No matter what business you are in, if you have computer systems with web applications acting as a part of your business, you must use a WAF to secure your network as well as web applications. Web Application Firewalls are affordable and effective to prevent the risk and embarrassment of an enterprise or organization. If you are interested in learning more about Cyber Security, our online Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Blue Team), India’s first program on Defensive Cyber Security, in collaboration with HackerU (Israel’s Premier Cyber Security Training Provider) can be of help!