Is a Consolidated Approach Better for WAAP Security?

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Most organizations and industries are moving to a digital environment because that is where the future is headed. It seems the environment is raving about it, but on closer inspection, the changes in the digital environment around the world are multiplying, but not at an astronomical rate. Although slower than expected, security should always keep pace with protecting web applications and APIs.

Why is this so? While not all industries and organizations are at the same level of digital adoption and decentralized setup, they are using the online environment to increase their reach and performance.

SEE: Why Businesses Should Take a Lean Approach to Cyber ​​Security

Additionally, the pandemic has encouraged increased reliance on online tools and digital platforms to drive businesses forward. However, organizations cannot depend on standard tools to secure decentralized applications because they were not created for such a setup. Therefore, the technological requirements are different and the needs are not the same.

New challenges for the security posture

Businesses must meet an increasing number of requirements to maintain their security posture. But, unfortunately, the traditional tools that most organizations typically deploy are causing problems rather than providing solutions.

As more companies move towards decentralization, it is becoming increasingly evident that securing web applications and APIs requires a consolidated approach.

Why is a consolidated approach necessary?

Many companies find that using separate security applications is more effective. But it can be a nightmare for security guards to watch out for. In the case of online access, web applications need the APIs to connect the front-end of a website to the back-end of the site, which contains all of the site’s functionality and data. While there is a relationship between web applications and APIs, they are not similar and these differences can lead to serious security issues.

A few years ago, companies were concerned about protecting a single web application because there were minimal transactions. A transaction means a server request. However, the situation today is different. A website can receive multiple requests to various microservices in any given second. This makes providing security more complicated because every small web application needs protection, each having its own unique structure.

This situation is what makes individual protection of each web application and API difficult. For example, a company has five web applications and API tools and uses about ten different tools to secure them. Rather than being profitable, the business is wasting money. While businesses still use several legacy applications, new security tools need to protect both legacy applications and modern tools such as web applications and APIs.

Changes are occurring in online and digital environments; thus, companies and industries must have new technologies for intelligent web applications and API protection (or WAAP) to verify signature and intent of web traffic.

Given the importance of Web Application and API Protection (WAAP), new rules exist to secure them.

  • Switch to security tools that can combat attack intent, not specific threats
  • The security program should be user-friendly, with the user-friendly and intuitive interface showing all the features and controls of the security solution.
  • You need real-time reactions to real-time attacks. Your WAAP solution should include speed of visibility to react quickly to an attack and speed of control for remediation beyond physical boundaries or locations. Additionally, the solution must have real-time visibility for automated and manual workflows.

A more robust WAAP security tool

WAAP is a collection of cloud-based services specially developed to protect APIs and web applications. They are much more advanced than Web Application Firewall (WAF), which typically only monitors SQL injections and cross-site scripting.

A WAAP security tool is an extended WAF capable of integrating, observing and acting intuitively when needed. While it should be automated by default, with real-time statistics and logs, it can integrate with other business applications and all DevOps toolchains.

As WAF is no longer sufficient to meet website security compliance requirements, the way to resolve the issue is to use a consolidated platform that includes WAAP functionality with an interface for management, analytics, and orchestration that provides strategically distributed API security control for each exposed API. .

API and Web Application Attacks

APIs and web applications are vulnerable portals to corporate data. Once they are pierced, attackers know they have achieved their goal. In 2020, according to Statista, the United States had 1,001 data breaches affecting over 155.8 million people, mainly due to insufficient data security and a lack of internal expertise.

The OWASP lists the main attack methods that businesses and security officials should be aware of.

Typically, attacks include the following:

  • Injection attacks using multiple forms such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection (SQLi)
  • Broken authentication
  • Exposure of sensitive data, including financial information, personal health information, and personally identifiable information.
  • Lack of flow limitation and lack of resources
  • Deficiency in logging and monitoring
  • Bad security configurations
  • Older API versions not patched.

Apart from the above, the most modern forms of attacks carried out by cybercriminals include:

  • Robot attacks – flood web pages with massive requests through API or web application.
  • Distributed denial of service – attack microservices and APIs to disable data exports, search paging and database queries.
  • Account recovery – Use credential stuffing and malicious bots to target active user accounts to cause account lockouts, service disruptions and prevent customers from accessing the service.
  • Brute force attacks – send repeated requests for valid input parameters or credentials, such as user login information to test application authentication and enumeration of web server directories and user profiles.
  • Server-side query forgery – Trick an API or web application to send a request to a main service using the server’s hosting network to get information from the service and send it to the hacker.

Conclusion

As you can see, APIs and web applications are very vulnerable to cyber attacks because they need to be accessible to all users at all times. With the increased dependence on the online environment today due to the pandemic and the resulting hybrid workplaces, securing web applications and APIs is now urgent. Research has shown that approximately 20 percent offenses during the past year were through remote workers.

SEE: How Using The Purple Team Approach Helps Fight Cybercrime

Therefore, the most viable solution today is to use a consolidated approach. Use a more robust set of cloud security programs that includes WAF, DDoS protection, runtime application self-protection, bot management, web application protection, API protection, client-side protection with scan attacks.

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