How Web Application Firewall protects your website

Computers & TechnologyTechnology

  • Author Sanjib Kumar Das
  • Published July 16, 2022
  • Word count 894

A Web application firewall is essential to protect websites from cyber attacks.

A Web Application Firewall (also known as a WAF) can protect websites by filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic between the internet site and the website.

A WAF can protect websites from attacks such as cross-site request forgery CSRF, local file inclusion, SQL injection and other cross-site scripting XSS.

The Web Application Firewall protects against only layer 7 attacks at the application level. A Layer7 Attack directly targets your website and can be used to attack it with lower computing power or investment.

It is vital to address the critical vulnerabilities in applications that have 70% to 80% of them.

To provide an effective defence against different attack vectors, a business must use multiple tools that are specialized at each OSI level (layer 3 network-level and layer 7 application-level filters).

It is impossible to guarantee that application codes and settings will be perfect. Therefore, it is crucial to protect data from hackers, spammers, bad bots, and hackers.

How it works

The Web Application Firewall is a firewall that connects the client to the internet services they desire to use. The WAF checks the connections before they are sent to it.

Cross-site scripting is one of the most prevalent attack vectors against applications. This involves malicious code being injected into the browser to steal session cookies and confidential data. It can also alter content to show false information.

You can configure a Web Application Firewall to enforce Security Policy to stop these types of attacks, block payloads from such attacks, or even prevent them from happening at the point they are being exploited.

A WAF can also defend against misconfigured servers. Administrators who do not follow security best practices and create vulnerabilities by creating unsecure settings, such as default passwords and guest accounts, can make it easy for attackers to target.

These badly configured systems can be prevented by a WAF, which has targeted policies in multiple login attempts. It forces a CAPTCHA and rejects protocols/ payloads that appear insincere. Security directives are also enforced.

Poor input validation makes websites vulnerable to code injection vulnerabilities. This allows attackers to sneak SQL statements into databases they aren't authorised to. A WAF can detect these attempts and block them.

Other vulnerable areas include libraries and out-of-date software. A Web Application Firewall, however, can temporarily block known exploits and provide a temporary solution until these can be fixed.

Insufficient monitoring or logging can lead to early warning signs of malicious activity being missed. However, a WAF is able to provide a centralized log-on point and notify administrators of ongoing threats.

An attacker may try to access sensitive information by scanning a website's structure and exploiting any unsecured resources. Web Application Firewalls can be used to lock down certain areas of a website so that only trusted persons have access.

The WAF can be used to stop bot traffic by requiring a CAPTCHA question while simultaneously implementing geo-, IP-, and identity-based policies from one entry point.

Sites are being hacked almost every day, with one study indicating that an average of 39 seconds is spent on attacks. Web Application Firewalls are responsible for ensuring that an attack doesn't necessarily translate into a successful hack.

SQ Injection, Distributed Denial of Service, DDoS, Defacement, Malware and Account Hijacking are the most popular types of application attacks. SQ Injection can account for up to two-thirds of all Web attacks.

What are the various types of WAFs available?

A Web Application Firewall is possible in three different ways: network-based or host-based.

A network WAF is typically hardware-based. This reduces latency due to their local installation. However, this is also the most costly method of implementation. It requires that physical equipment be stored and maintained for peak capacity.

An application can integrate a host WAF into its software. This is a much more cost-effective option than a network WAF, and it is also customizable. However, you will need to integrate the host WAF into your application in order for deployment.

A host WAF has its downsides. It is difficult to implement, it can cost extra to maintain, the resources it uses locally, and the management of both the deployment and the application development process. Maintenance costs can be very expensive and often require engineering time.

Cloud WAFs are easy to set up and much cheaper than traditional methods. Cloud WAFs are generally quick to deploy and require no additional DNS changes to redirect site traffic.

Cloud WAF is also very affordable in terms of upfront expenses. Monthly and yearly fees pay for security and you only pay for traffic that you use, rather than provisioning for peak loads upfront.

A cloud WAF can also offer an updated solution that protects against new threats without additional cost or work.

A cloud WAF has one real disadvantage: a third party must be responsible for front-ending your traffic and an additional latency between your servers and their hosted location.

You can mitigate this issue by partnering with cloud WAF vendors that have deployments in multiple locations and provide a CDN so most of your content is served from the nearest edge to where your users are viewing your site.

Web applications, web servers and websites are all prime targets for cyber attackers. A Web Application Firewall is an excellent form of defence. Indusface offers a range of application solutions for online businesses.

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