Web App Attacks Grew 251% In Two Years

In general, online threats are increasing in frequency and severity. Businesses, organizations, governmental bodies, and other groups are finding themselves in a constant state of panic over cybersecurity challenges. Even more concerning is that web app attacks against organizations in the United Kingdom (UK) have increased by more than 250% since October 2019.

It has become the driving force for increased data breaches. In 2020, businesses and people alike faced a slew of unforeseen hurdles that was somewhat difficult to overcome. A serious, albeit less “physical,” threat that is often overlooked amid a worldwide pandemic, political turmoil, and social issues. For both data loss due to breaches and the sheer volume of cyberattacks committed, 2020 was a record-breaking year – and 2021 outperformed its predecessor in both categories.

What Are Web App Attacks?

There are several varieties of online web apps, such as webmail, login forms, content management systems, and shopping carts, to name a few. When developing web applications, developers utilize a mix of server-side scripts (such as ASP, PHP, or ASP.NET) and client-side scripts (such as HTML, JavaScript, or ASP.NET). However, both sides contain vulnerabilities that an attacker may exploit to launch a web application assault.

Launching an attack as easily as changing data in a web page’s URL can cause an exploitable fault in the application. For example, SQL injection and cross-site scripting are two of the most typical online application threats (XXS). In some instances, altering the URL is required to execute a SQL injection vulnerability – all that is required is one more character to trigger a successful exploit. In this case, the hacker will have complete control over the program and access to the server, database, and other information technology resources.

Increase In Data Breaches

Unfortunately, it was discovered that assaults on web applications are rising by an average of 22% per quarter. That resulted in 4.7 million web app-related cybersecurity exploitations. Moreover, it contributes to a significant rise in data breaches. The number of remote code execution (RCE) and remote file inclusion (RFI) attacks increased by 271% over two years. These attacks are often used to steal information and hijack websites.

The cost of data breaches has been steadily rising over the last several years. The new vulnerabilities have evolved after companies transitioned to a remote workforce during the pandemic. It has significantly increased the chances for cyberattacks and provided numerous new weak points for hackers to exploit. Furthermore, cybercrime has become more expensive due to automated assaults by hackers and the potential to convert cryptocurrency into fiat currency via ransomware. Web-based apps are the source of half (50%) of all data breaches. Accordingly, these types of assaults resulted in around 20 billion compromised data.

Even more worrying is that the number of reported web app intrusions jumped by 68% from Q2 to Q3 2021. That is because threat actors attempted to swamp underground networks with stolen data ahead of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Fraudsters often conceal their activities during peak shopping hours, when shops reduce their security measures to handle higher business traffic.


If you learned that adversaries got hold of the data you are protecting, may it be customer, proprietary, or other sensitive information, you should contact LIFARS immediately. When dealing with data breaches, time is of the essence, and the initial 24 hours after the discovery are critical. LIFARS handles data breaches with military precision and ensures that root cause is found, eliminated, and detailed forensics are performed to discover all compromised information.


Digital Transformation Pushes Numbers

The evolving landscape of application development generally is also quite crucial. Although developments such as the fast growth of APIs and the transition to cloud-native computing are advantageous from a DevOps perspective, these changes in application design and the resulting larger attack surface make security teams’ tasks considerably more difficult. Similarly, the pandemic imposed tremendous pressure on companies to get all types of digital transformation initiatives up and running as fast as possible. That is a contributing cause to the recent uptick in cyber assaults.

Protection Against Web Apps Attacks

To guarantee that a web application is safeguarded, you must first identify any security concerns and vulnerabilities inside the web application itself. You could then wait until a malevolent hacker discovers and exploits them or do a company penetration test to check your defense. Here are some suggestions on strengthening your company or organization’s cybersecurity defenses.

Data Sanitization

Data sanitization is the process of removing unwanted data from the system’s incoming stream. It covers a wide range of smaller and more minor topics. However, it is a pre-check of the data before it is entered into the system to verify that it will not cause it to malfunction.

Doing this includes guaranteeing that all data is set for current foreign keys, that columns have not been lost in the source, and that alpha data does not attempt to reach numeric columns. Likewise, data should not be older than a certain point, and that existing data is not replicated, and other related items. It essentially entails tidying up data streams before it enters the system.

Make Use Of A Custom-Built WAF

Perhaps one of the most critical web application best practices to follow to avoid getting attacked. Located at the network edge, the Web Application Firewall (WAF) is the initial line of defense. It can monitor traffic and filter requests sent to the application to ensure that only legitimate users access the application and its assets. WAF is also used to protect websites and other web-based applications.

To reduce the unique risks associated with the application, a WAF is tailored to the requirements and context of a company. Using intelligent automation, self-capabilities, the competence of qualified cybersecurity experts, and a cutting-edge scanner to patch security flaws before attackers gain access to them, WAFs can virtually eliminate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers or until developers can fix them. This assists in the prevention of a wide variety of online application-based threats.

Take Advantage Of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication, also known as dual-factor authentication or two-step verification, is a kind of authentication that requires the user to verify two pieces of information. A security system in which users provide two independent authentication elements to authenticate themselves is called two-factor authentication. This procedure is carried out to secure the user’s credentials and the tools that the user may access.

2FA provides a better level of safety than one-factor authentication (SFA)-dependent authentication solutions, which require the user to give just one element, often a password or passcode, to access the system.

These authentication schemes must have both a password-supplying user and an additional factor. Either a security token or a biometric element such as a fingerprint or face scan is used in most cases. This security protocol provides an extra layer of protection in the authentication process. Due to this, attackers will have a more difficult time gaining access to user computers or online accounts. As a result, attackers will have to circumvent an extra degree of defense.

Place A Comprehensive Security Solution

While the WAF may assist in preventing known vulnerabilities from being exploited, companies need other measures to strengthen their security. Companies should include WAF and application scanners in a multi-layered and comprehensive security solution that includes pen-testing, vulnerability assessments, security analytics, robust security strategies, and other components recommended by application security best practices. Organizations may avoid zero-day attacks, the exploitation of business logic errors, and different types of assaults in this manner.

Final Thoughts

It is critical to have a complete insight into the code executing on your website. You should be able to govern the information you gather and distribute, whether it is your own or comes from a third party. This will help you avoid data leaks. Regularly conduct security evaluations of online applications and patch any vulnerabilities discovered, if any. This testing should occur at every step of the site development lifecycle, from conception to completion. Also, be sure that you are not running out of current versions of web servers, operating systems, content management systems, libraries, or other types of software on your computer.

Do not skimp on security measures when building or administering your website since doing so might have disastrous implications. While it is not feasible to remove the danger of a website assault, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of such an attack occurring and the severity of the consequences.