Providing Real-time Security for your Web Applications
In today’s security landscape with the news on the Equifax breach and the unfortunate regular ransomware attacks, business owners need to be very proactive on protecting their websites and web applications. It is estimated that 4% of traffic on the web is malicious and over 3,700 websites are hacked daily. There are no substitutes for good programming, scheduled patching and a securely hosted infrastructure. If a business owner is not confident that these items have a green check mark on his checklist, this is the first place to start mitigating.
As we learned from the Equifax breach, neglecting to patch your software or systems on a regular basis adds tremendous risk to having your systems and personal information compromised. Planned upgrades and patching to the latest software framework and updates is vital with all the cyber threats that exist today.
Another way to add a layer of security to your web applications or cloud servers is to use a WAF (Web Application Firewall). Flaws in web application code can leave you open to attack. A WAF will filter traffic and strengthen your website by blocking malicious traffic and attacks.
What is a WAF (Web Application Firewall)?
A WAF protects your website at the application level. A WAF is a bit different than a traditional firewall, as the traditional firewall will close ports to your web application and only open the ports required to serve your application. This means a hacker can still use malware or hacking techniques to try and compromise your web application through the open ports on the firewall. A WAF will take packet inspection and protecting your web application to a deeper level. You see, a WAF will inspect the incoming traffic itself to explicitly block requests that don’t fit your web application’s profile. A WAF will correlate attack data through the network and will learn malicious behavior. This is a sophisticated approach that a WAF can do that most traditional firewalls do not do. The learning capabilities of a WAF will also protect your site from emerging security threats before they compromise your web application.
What types of malicious traffic will a WAF protect your web application from?
A WAF will filter many forms of malicious traffic and hack attempts. Some of the forms of hack attempts that a WAF will filter out include:
- Malicious Bots – Bots are automated hacking scripts that hackers used to run against thousands of sites to gain access to your data and gain access to your system.
- Hack attempts – Hackers try to find flaws in your application code or open vulnerabilities to compromise your system. The WAF will filter these kinds of requests to protect your site.
- Brute force attacks – This kind of attack will attempt thousands of calls to your logins and database to forcibly break into your systems.
- Denial of Service attacks – This kind of attack is used to flood your system in order to crash your site or compromise access. This attack is quickly filtered out by the WAF.
- Sql Injections – This attack specifically will target your backend database using URL injection techniques.
- Zero Day Exploits – New vulnerabilities are being discovered by hackers everyday. A WAF intelligently stops suspicious behavior even if there is no patch.
Other feature of a WAF
A WAF provides other features to improve the security and performance of your site. The performance feature involves different levels of site content caching and image compression. With these performance features you can see up to a 70% improvement in your website load times. These performance features can be customizable in the WAF dashboard.
Some of the other customizable security features available with a WAF are IP address blacklisting, whitelisting, GEO blocking (blocking specific countries), whitelisting and blacklisting URLs, and page protection with forms of authentication.
A WAF will filter all incoming web traffic and will provide business owners with another layer of website protection. Some of the traffic that a WAF will filter out include; malicious traffic, bad bots, denial of service attacks, brute force attacks and more that may attempt to compromise your site. A WAF contains other customizable features to improve your website load times and block specific regions that you may not want to allow to have access your website.
WAF protection is implemented in the cloud. Basically you will route your web traffic to the cloud WAF where it will filter out malicious traffic before it sends it to your webserver. Sozo Hosting provides a WAF solution with all the features described here.