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Top 4 Tips for Dealing with Security Misconfigurations in Web Applications

By Rizwan Ahmad - 14 December 2012 No Comments
Companies spend mini fortunes in order to implement some of the best security systems available. However, it is important to realize that the security systems are only as effective as they are configured to be. Any misconfiguration leaves applications open to attacks from external and internal threats. Unlike other potential security issues, security misconfigurations are not limited to one place; platforms, servers, source codes and frameworks could all have misconfigurations at the same time, making it almost impossible to have a secure application stack. However, it is not too difficult to detect and fix errors in configuration. The important thing is to detect the errors before they are exploited. Here are 4 top tips from security experts that can help you deal with security misconfiguration in web applications.

Always have a standby on hand
Sometimes, security misconfigurations may occur because of changes made to the system in order to improve efficiency. Such errors are almost immediately detected by automated scanners so that appropriate action can be taken. To start reconfiguring settings at such a point would be a critical mistake. The best thing to do is to deploy a backup environment that has been previously configured with all the required settings. Security experts recommend that just like detecting errors, even the deployment of such an environment should be an automated process in order to minimize the time taken to get the backup activated.
Security Misconfigurations

Stay informed of latest developments
No applications are perfect and the same goes for security systems as well. Developers are always busy releasing patches and updates in order to fix any newly discovered security flaws. If the developers know about a security flaw, chances are so will the threats that tend to attack the application stack. It is necessary to always stay abreast with the latest developments, in terms of patches and updates. A routine check should be carried out for new releases and any new updates and patches, if found, should be applied as soon as possible. While most companies are very particular about this, the often forget about updating their code libraries. Without updated code libraries an application is very vulnerable to security violations.

Strengthen the architecture
A good security system for an application is always dependent upon a strong architecture. Strengthening the application architecture by providing security measures between components helps in two distinct ways. Firstly, it sets up multiple security barriers in order to counter any kind of attack. The more security present between components, the harder it gets for a threat to exploit any weakness. Secondly, each individual security system can be configured precisely to do what is required of them. With fewer settings needed to be modified, it helps prevent misconfiguration.

Keep scanning periodically
Automated scanning is great for detecting any security flaws, but it is not a fool-proof system. The security systems of the application should be periodically audited in order to ensure that everything is functioning as it should. Not only will rigorous scanning expose any flaws in the application architecture, it will also highlight any updates or patches that are missing.

Security misconfigurations in web applications are more common than we would like to think. In fact, according to the OWASP Top 10 list, it is one of the main factors why a web application’s security may be compromised.

Tom Rhoddings has authored this guest post.
Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Tom Rhoddings and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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