Any web site can be thought of as a castle under constant attack by a sea of barbarians. And as the history of both conventional and information warfare shows, the attackers’ victory isn’t entirely dependent upon their degree of skill or cunning, but rather on an oversight in the castle defense. As keeper of the electronic kingdom, you’re faced with no small number of potential ingresses from which havoc can be wrought, including notably: Software vulnerabilities: Web applications are constructed from numerous technologies, typically a database server, a web server, and one or more programming languages—all running on one or more operating systems. Therefore, it’s crucial to constantly keep abreast of and resolve newly identified vulnerabilities uncovered within all of your mission-critical technologies before an attacker takes advantage of the problem. User input: Exploiting vulnerabilities which arise due to clumsy processing of user input is perhaps the easiest way to cause serious damage to your data and application, an assertion backed up by the countless reports of successful attacks of this nature. Manipulation of data passed via HTML forms, URL parameters, cookies, and other readily accessible routes enables attackers to strike the very heart of your application logic. Poorly protected data: Data is the lifeblood of your company; lose it at your own risk. Yet all too often, database accounts are protected by questionable passwords, or web-based administration consoles are left wide open thanks to an easily identifiable URL. These types of security gaffes are unacceptable, particularly because they are so easily resolved.
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