How to Secure Java Web Applications?

It’s a common belief that most of Java web applications developed are insecure. As per one of the reports published by WASC, almost 84% of applications developed are susceptible to XSS attack. If we probe deep into this issue, we would find that there are a number of factors, which account for the vulnerabilities of Java web applications to potential threats.

One of the major factors that attributes for insecure Java applications is risk unawareness. A good number of engineers involved in Java software programming are ignorant of the way the HTTP protocol functions and are thus unable to identify the main causes of vulnerabilities.

Some other prime reasons, which account for the vulnerability of Java applications are:

XSS attackUnsuccessful attempt of restricting URL accessUnshielded Chrytographic storageDisrupted Authentication and Session ManagementErroneous error handlingInformation leakageInsecure CommunicationsInsecure Direct Object ReferenceImproper file executionAny many more!

Now that we know the reasons why Java web applications are insecure, it’s time for us to find out the ways to secure the same.

The first way is to position the files in the appropriate directory. Java web applications encompass a broad range of elements including JSP files, image files, Servlet classes etc. So, it’s necessary that these files are stored suitably in the right directories.

Other step in the attempt of securing Java web applications is to specify security constraints, which would clearly depict the set of privileges to be given to unique resources through their URL mapping.

Next way to secure these applications is to specify authorization constraint, which would put forth a need for authentication and lays out the roles clearly to access the different URL patterns as specified by the security constraints.

Other way is to specify a secure connection and distinct security constraints for different resources within the Java applications developed. Also, the next technique is to specify authentication mechanisms, which depicts the real in which the users get authenticated and some other additional attributes.