7 out of 10 websites are hacked at application layer, says Indusface

Security firm Indusface has outlined some website security statistics from India and the reasons behind it. It has published a report to guide CIOs and CISOs to understand the paradigm shift taking place in the web application security domain.

Database breach is easier: According to the data that security firm Indusface had collected from more than 2.9 million scans and 4.5 billion ethical hacks, their experts are certain that it's easier for hackers to infiltrate into the databases.

 7 out of 10 websites are hacked at application layer, says Indusface

Representational image. Reuters

There are two reasons for it, Indusface said. Firstly, SQLi vulnerability was found on more than 90 percent of the application, which provides direct access to a database where attackers can read and edit files. Secondly, system administrators rarely know about it. Given that most-medium sized organisations in our country are unable to detect SLQ Injection attacks, there are chances that many of them are bleeding sensitive data without knowledge.

Cross-site scripting is abundant: Although XSS is not really one of the most pressing issues for most companies, it is as common as SQLi. Approximately 97 percent of the tested websites had XSS and chances are that they did not really consider it as a severe issue. However, XSS can cause real problems for businesses by not only putting their servers at risk but also users.

Most organisations are not testing their applications: According to the Indusface research team, 7 out of 10 websites are hacked at the application layer, but overemphasis on network security and lack of awareness of application security has made many companies overlook the risks entirely. Most of them do not even know about OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, and don't know how they can be used to breach into the system.

Application patching is procrastinated: If it isn't broken, why fix it? Probably one of the primary reasons why most companies overlook application layer vulnerabilities is that these are difficult to fix. E-commerce and other competitive industries have to frequently make changes, where customer experience is their top priority. On the other hand, banking, insurance, and other finance companies aren't too keen to change things as it involves complete planning and auditing.

"Application security is a very niche branch of information security. It requires specific understanding of how Layer 7 interacts over the World Wide Web and also other communication layers within the organisation network," Venkatesh Sundar, CTO, Indusface.

Here are some of the key India-centric facts

-- 91% of the websites that IndusGuard web application scanner tested had SQL Injection vulnerability

-- 97% were prone to Cross-Site Scripting attacks

-- SQL Injection and Sensitive Information Leakage by web application breach have increased significantly

-- More than 10 million internet shoppers, growing yearly by 30%, luring cybercrimes

-- 185 million active mobile internet users with 243% growth, a platform which is highly vulnerable

-- 58% attacks are for financial gains and 42% by foreign governments

-- 155 .GOV and NIC domains were hacked last year

-- 32,323 public Indian website were hacked in 2014 with 14% Y-o-Y increase

While enterprises should adopt application security for obvious reasons, small and medium business cannot shy away from it either. They have to begin at the basic level at least. But more importantly, the government websites that handle defense and other sensitive data should test and protect web applications as the cross country wars heat up at a global scale.

Updated Date: Jun 16, 2015 12:53:46 IST