Successful web design depends on more than good code and great functionality — for web-based applications and services to succeed, developers need to account for the impact of SEO and social media integration.
Consider: Even the best search engine algorithms don’t process content like human beings, making it critical for designers to create web apps that are easily understood by major search providers.
Plus, with 65 percent of Internet users now connected through at least one social platform — and 80 percent of these users preferring to connect with brands through tools such as Facebook — the role of easily consumable and well-crafted web apps can’t be overstated.
The challenge? Increasing threats to web application security. Here’s what you need to know.
Hackers Are Hopeful
They’re looking for apps that haven’t been properly tested or vetted by security professionals. Best bet? Test your app, then test it again. Think it’s ready? Test it again with new conditions or hire an outside firm to break it on purpose. While it’s impossible to account for every possibility, the more testing you perform, the less likely your app will suffer a breach.
Attackers Aren’t Subtle
Two of the most common attack vectors include denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS), which has hackers trying to overwhelm apps with traffic and service requests. SQL injections attacks are also common; 60 percent of apps are vulnerable to malicious actors inputting custom commands in “username” and “password” fields to gain database access. Improve your overall security with tools that can detect sudden traffic spikes and include code strings that remove the ability to use custom SQL commands.
Also on your watchlist? Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks that see hackers trying to “inject” new scripts into websites or apps and take control. With more than half of all apps still vulnerable to this kind of attack, it's critical to implement strategies such as script permission controls and output encoding.
Easy Openings Are Exploited
There’s no reason to develop new code for functions when open-source options already exist. That’s why stock permissions and application programming interfaces (APIs) are so popular — both for developers looking to speed production and hackers looking for the easiest way to enter. Building “extra” encryption or code delays can help frustrate these efforts.
Hackers are also looking for ways to hijack app sessions in progress and exploit “zero-day” flaws in your app that may have gone unnoticed before it went live. Consider randomized and unique session IDs to prevent sudden app takeovers, and leverage custom-built in-house code combined with better-than-average security measures to frustrate zero-day efforts.
Social media tools and SEO optimization improve the reach and impact of your application. However, wide availability also creates a security risk. To learn more, read the accompanying slideshow to know where you’re vulnerable and discover how to protect critical web projects.