8 Common Backend Security Risks And How To Prevent Them

2023-01-03by Juliette Anderson

Your network’s backend contains several web applications that keep your network running. Thus, any negligence or errors in handling even the most minor backend web applications leads to security breaches that could hurt your network.


Remember that most security risks happen because of misconfigurations or a lack of scanning. That’s why you must ensure every part of the backend, or your application’s safety and security, will be at risk.


What is a Backend?

Before we start, we’ll first walk you through the basics. A web application has two parts- the front end and the backend.


The frontend is where the user interacts and is usually created with CSS, HTML, and Javascript. This is the client side. 


Meanwhile, the backend platform and server side are how the application works. Excellent server-side tech stacks involve Java, PHP, Phyton, database, security structure, and content management.


In this post, we’ll walk you through the common backend security risks and how you can avoid them:


1. Data injection risks

Similar to how injection attacks affect the frontend of your web application, it’s also possible to have injection attacks on your backend.


Attacks create queries on the backend of your web application. If there aren’t any checks that can verify the query’s origin, attackers can run commands directly on your backend, which in normal circumstances, could be blocked and filtered by the frontend.


You can prevent data injection attacks by securing your backend from receiving inputs from non-authorized sources.


2. Lack of authentication security

Your web application backends have numerous services with authentication requirements, databases, and console/OS level access have log-ins.


These services run directly on the operating system layer. Thus, maintaining your authentication security is vital. Or else, any vulnerabilities entering your systems cause your entire operating system to be compromised.


For instance, when it comes to the web server, when you restrict log-ins to particular users or IP addresses, tapping into automated brute force detection systems and HTTP authentication can help significantly.


3. Access control misconfigurations

Access control levels help you provide various categories of access to users of your web applications. Furthermore, team members should have more access to your web applications than general users. Apart from your trusted team members, no one else should have access to sensitive data on your web applications.


Any misconfigurations on your ACLs lead to unauthorized access to your system, allowing attackers to access when they shouldn’t have. This backend security risk is relatively common to those that overlook their ACLs.


To avoid control-related risks, you need to examine your ACLs consistently. This ensures that all parties in your web applications are provided with the proper level of access. You should also prioritize access to your most important assets. This is to ward off intruders.


4. No encryption between frontend and backend applications

Although your frontend and backend applications are on different sides, they work hand in hand with each other. However, encryption communication between both ends is commonly overlooked.


Moreover, cyber attackers can steal or change communication between the two. Hackers could be spying on or eavesdropping on your sensitive data for all you know. To avoid this, see to it that both ends are fully encrypted.


5. Data Exposure

Data exposure, also known as data breaches, is a cyber threat when an application doesn’t adequately secure information like credentials and other sensitive information like credit cards and health records. Every minute, over 4000 records are breached.


As a backend developer, you need to know what information needs protection.


Also, here are some of the ways to prevent this from happening:


  • Encrypt your sensitive data. For your data at rest, make sure that you encrypt everything. For your data in transit, utilize secure getaways or SSL.
  • Look for data that needs extra protection, then limit the access to only legitimate users by enforcing key-based encryption.
  • Use up-to-date and solid algorithms.
  • Make sure that you have a secure backup plan in place.


8. Exploitation of insecure deserialization

Serialization and deserialization are concepts that are often used when data is converted into object format, which is to be stored and sent to another application.


Serialization converts data in object format like JSON or XML making them usable. Meanwhile, deserialization is just the reverse.


Attacks against deserializers lead to denial of service, access control, and remote code execution attacks. Don’t accept serialized objects from untrusted sources to prevent this from happening.


You should also:

  • Validate data
  • Never trust user input
  • Use a check to ensure that data hasn’t been changed. It’s also helpful that you’re sending data between two trusted sources.


9. SSL misconfigurations and lack of monitoring

Using SSL certificates is the norm in the modern internet age. Most browsers prioritize sites with SSL certificates and show alerts and errors when browsing sites with insecure, expired, or misconfigured SSL certificates.


You should also monitor your SSL certificate and configure it properly. This ensures that your web application’s backend communicates securely with the front end.


Over to You

So, there you have it. These are the most common backend security risks you must be aware of. Your cybersecurity is only as strong as the measures you place to

prevent these attacks. Thus, you must be proactive in securing your assets before an attack happens.


Prioritizing your backend is in your interest and that of your stakeholders because security breaches cause damage that could be destructive in the long run.

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Juliette Anderson

Juliette Anderson

Juliette Anderson is an Outreach Community Specialist for an e-commerce fulfillment company that specializes in partnering with online sellers who have an average parcel weight of 5+ pounds or greater. She works hand-in-hand with e-commerce stores to achieve optimal sales for four years already. Her specialty lies in social media marketing and paid promotions.

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