April 26, 2023

The 7 Most Common Web Application Attacks And How A WAF Can Prevent Them

In recent years, web application attacks have become increasingly common, as cybercriminals have been targeting web applications to exploit vulnerabilities in their security features. These attacks can have severe consequences, including data loss, unauthorized access, and other security breaches that can harm an organization's reputation and bottom line. As such, it has become essential for organizations to safeguard their web applications against these threats.

One technology that can help protect web applications against attacks is a Web Application Firewall (WAF). A WAF is a security technology that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic to and from a web application, detecting and blocking attacks before they reach the web application. This is achieved through the use of rules and policies that analyze traffic patterns and block any traffic that appears to be malicious.

Let’s take a look at the 7 most common web application attacks and how a WAF can prevent them:


  1. 1. SQL Injection Attack: SQL Injection is a technique used to attack databases through web applications. Attackers can inject malicious SQL code into web application input fields, which can lead to unauthorized access to the database. A WAF can prevent SQL injection attacks by blocking any suspicious SQL queries and using pattern matching techniques to detect and block SQL injection attempts.

  2. 2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attack: Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is an attack that occurs when an attacker injects malicious code into a website or web application. This code can then be executed on a victim's browser, allowing the attacker to steal sensitive information or perform other malicious actions. A WAF can prevent XSS attacks by filtering out potentially harmful code from input fields and URLs.

  3. 3. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Attack: Attack: Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is an attack that exploits the trust relationship between a user and a web application. An attacker can trick a user into performing an action on a web application that the user did not intend to perform. A WAF can prevent CSRF attacks by verifying the authenticity of each request to the web application.

  4. 4. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack: Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks are designed to flood a web application with a massive amount of traffic, making it unavailable to legitimate users. A WAF can prevent DDoS attacks by blocking traffic from known malicious IP addresses and analyzing incoming traffic patterns to identify and block potential DDoS attacks.

  5. 5. File Inclusion Attack: File Inclusion attacks are a type of injection attack that allow an attacker to include a file from a remote server into a web application. This can allow the attacker to execute arbitrary code on the web application server. A WAF can prevent file inclusion attacks by blocking requests that contain malicious code.

  6. 6. Remote Code Execution (RCE) Attack: Remote Code Execution (RCE) attacks occur when an attacker is able to execute arbitrary code on a target server. A WAF can prevent RCE attacks by blocking requests that contain malicious code or by analyzing the behavior of the application and blocking any requests that appear suspicious.

  7. 7. Brute Force Attack: A Brute Force Attack is an attack that attempts to guess a user's password by repeatedly trying different combinations of characters. A WAF can prevent Brute Force Attacks by monitoring failed login attempts and blocking IP addresses that make too many failed attempts within a short period of time.

While a Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a valuable tool for protecting web applications against attacks, it is essential to recognize that it is not a foolproof solution, and that even the most advanced WAF can be circumvented by sophisticated attackers. To minimize the risks of web application attacks, organizations must adopt a multi-layered approach to web application security, incorporating the best practices outlined in the OWASP Top 10 framework. By following the OWASP Top 10 recommendations, organizations can significantly reduce their vulnerability to common web application attacks.


Nexusguard’s Web Application Firewall


Nexusguard’s cloud-based web application firewall (WAF) is an integral component of its Application Protection (AP) service, which can also be tailored to the evolving security requirements of organizations. By scrutinizing inbound requests to websites and applications and adopting the best practices outlined in the OWASP Top 10 framework, Nexusguard WAF offers an additional layer of security that effectively safeguards websites and applications.


To learn more about how to increase the security of your web applications, please read about our Application Protection.


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