More people are using the internet to access business apps today, with the help of a computer web browser or their mobile phones, compared to even a few years ago. Businesses have also embraced digital transformation to make it more convenient for their customers to access their apps to help increase productivity, efficiency and to ensure quicker access to information.

However, with the ease of access for customers comes the caveat of taking more comprehensive security measures to safeguard business apps from unauthorized access and cyber breaches.

In such a scenario, an application development team needs to address certain vulnerabilities in the business apps they build. Let’s look at the four most common vulnerabilities that may creep into your business apps and how you can address them.

1) Memory leaks

Memory leaks in cloud applications can adversely affect the reliability and availability of the application to end-users. Hence, you must identify and resolve memory leaks quickly. The adverse effect of memory leaks is a gradual exhaustion of system memory, leading to performance degradation in the said application.

Memory leaks can cause programs to crash unexpectedly and, what’s more, can be exploited by cybercriminals to launch DoS (denial-of-service) attacks. The steps to find memory leaks depend upon which programming language you’ve used in your application.

You should prioritize finding and addressing such memory leaks to ensure the stability of your business application.

2) Addressing cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws

Cross-site scripting attacks, also known as XSS attacks, are injection attacks used by cybercriminals to inject malicious code into websites. The attacker uses flaws in a web application to send malicious code, usually client-side JavaScript, to end-users.

Organizations running web applications can facilitate XSS attacks by displaying content from untrusted users or sources without proper validation. One of the best practices to ensure protection against cyber-criminals, in general, is to get a cybersecurity risk assessment done at your organization.

However, to address XSS flaws specifically, you should separate untrusted active browser content from data. Some of the ways to do these are:

• Implementing a mitigating control to safeguard against XSS.

• Applying context-sensitive encoding.

• Use a framework that auto-escapes XSS

3) Take care of any broken authentication issues

Authentication and session management are some of the most critical areas where vulnerabilities may creep into your business application. If they aren’t implemented correctly, cybercriminals can steal user credentials such as passwords or usernames and gain access to user accounts with the help of credential stuffing.

Some broken authentication vulnerabilities to be aware of are not implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA), not limiting the number of failed login attempts, and not ensuring that users set only strong passwords.

4) Protecting against SQL injection attacks

SQL injection (SQLi) attacks are a vulnerability in website or web application code that permits cyber-criminals to hijack back-end application processes and gives them a way to access, extract, or even delete sensitive information from your application databases. If an SQLi attack succeeds, the attacker may

• Access, extract or delete data from databases

• Get access to apps or the front end of a website without needing a password

• Create their own records in your database or modify your existing records, leaving the door open for future access by them.

As a developer, preventing SQLi attacks is important and are simple if you know secure coding best practices that help you to:

• Identify vulnerabilities

• Repair vulnerabilities

• Remediate vulnerabilities

• Mitigate the impact of potential vulnerabilities.

In Summary

If you have business apps that users connect to with the help of a computer web browser or a mobile phone, you need to take ownership of your software’s security as a business owner. You should arm developers with the necessary tools so that they can find and fix vulnerabilities quickly.

Finally, you need to ensure that your development team tests, monitors, and protects software throughout its lifecycle, i.e., from development to QA to production.