Web application security is a security philosophy geared toward protecting applications hosted on websites and securing websites themselves. The entity being protected is attached to a website, so web application security should be made in a programming language that websites can understand. Several types of security programs are commonly used to provide this protection, including vulnerability scanners and input testing. There are many types of attacks that can occur to a website or web application, but scripting and code injection are the two most common security threats online.
Protecting a website or a web application is very different from creating security for a program that is installed on a desktop. The application is online and can typically be accessed by anyone — or, at least, a large group of users — so this increases the chance that a malicious user will find the web application. It also tends to be easier for a malicious user to inject code into a website, so web application security has to overcome these challenges.
When building a web application security program, software developers have to make the program in a language that can be used over a server or a website. If a server or website is unable to understand the programming language, then there is a high chance that the program will be ineffective. Many desktop security programs are built in these languages, so this commonly does not present a problem for most software developers.
Coding is extremely important for web application security, because poor website or web application coding can make it easy for a hacker to enter the system. For this reason, many web application security programs are made to analyze coding for vulnerabilities or penetration volatility. Input sections also can help a hacker enter the system, so programs are typically used to check these input areas for stability. Firewalls and password testers also are commonly used for extra website security.
A hacker can attack the web application or website in many different ways, but two main attacks are commonly used. Code injection, usually from structured query language (SQL), adds a code into the website or its database. This can cause problems on its own, or it may open holes in the security for more severe attacks. Scripts are similar to code injection, except they run a malicious program rather than adding malicious programming into the system.