An Essential Guide on Common Web Security Vulnerabilities and ways to keep your Website Secure

What Is Website Security and How Important It Is for Organizations?

Website security refers to the security practices or measures a website owner takes to ensure its safety from various forms of threats and attacks.

Websites have become the focal point of digital marketing today. Organisations use them to introduce their brand and services to the audience. A threat to the website is essentially a threat to the business itself.

  • A secure website is a sign that the business is giving priority to its customer’s data and trust.
  • Securing a website from threats is essential for a business to safeguard its intellectual property.
  • A safe and sound website will ensure the smooth operation of business transactions.
  • Businesses are legally required to conduct website vulnerability testing for safety assurance.
  • A healthy website characterized by HTTPS promotes SEO ranking and enhances online visibility.

How Do web security vulnerabilities lead to Cyber Threats?

Web security vulnerability is the possibility of a website being attacked. This happens as a result of a weak area in a website emerging from misconfiguration, incorrect web application code or any other similar reasons.

It has been identified that common web security vulnerabilities lead to cyber threats. Cyber attackers, using specially designed tools, scan the websites of companies and organizations to identify vulnerabilities and exploit them for malicious purposes. Once a website has been found weak, cybercriminals will steal sensitive data from it, spread viruses on it or use the website to trap innocent visitors.

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The best way to steer clear of vulnerabilities in a website online is to become aware of them. Here are the most common web vulnerabilities you may encounter.

1.Common Web Security Vulnerabilities:

Due to incorrect handling of the session or authentication practices, a website user may allow unauthorized access to his/her website’s control panel to unknown parties. This will risk sensitive user data and expose confidential user accounts to hackers.

2.IDOR (Insecure Direct Object References):

Hackers who identify irregularities or flows in the object referencing mechanisms in the website content will attempt to manipulate such data directly. This mostly happens when you allow an authorized user to access your website’s data.

3.Security Headers Missing:

This website vulnerability is the result of ignoring important HTTPS security headers. In the absence of these headers, a website is under a very compromised security posture.

4.Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards:

If your website does not have a proper input validation system in redirecting, a hacker may easily identify it and redirect your website visitors to malicious sites where they encounter various types of exploitations including phishing.

5.Broken Access Control:

When your website’s access control is compromised or broken, any user who visits it can easily perform actions without authorization. They can even access sensitive data stored on the website server.

6.API Security Issues:

Issues with the API (Application Programming Interface) can potentially lead to many threats like theft of sensitive data from the application or people who use the application for various reasons.

7.SSRF (Server-Side Request Forgery):

This is one of the common web security vulnerabilities happening from the server side. Hackers finding the weakness in the sever exploit it and make unintended requests or allow unauthorized access to the system. 

8.Data Exposure:

Lack of proper protective measures on the website will allow hackers to take advantage of it and disclose sensitive information. This exposes threats to the users’ private and sensitive data. 

9.Injection Attacks:

Hackers may sometimes use malicious code injection methods, for instance, command injections or SQL to enable themselves to get authorized access to the systems for remote code execution or data manipulation. 

10.Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF):

This is the malicious act of forcing a website user to do actions which they don’t intend to do without their knowledge. This leads to data manipulation or authorized transactions on the network.

11.Security Misconfigurations:

When a user or webmaster configures the settings incorrectly, the system is prone to a lot of web application vulnerabilities which attackers can easily identify and exploit. 

12.Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) Issues:

Defects in handling the resource access levels of users from various locations can be another reason for unauthorized accesses subsequently leading to data theft or data security breaches. 

13.File Upload Vulnerabilities:

 Hackers exploit the weak spots in the file upload settings. They use such weaknesses to upload infected files into the systems to execute malicious codes or to initiate other security breaches.

14.Security Through Obscurity:

Organizations that tend to safeguard their data through secrecy instead of implementing robust security practices allow themselves to get exploited by hackers. Secrecy is not an effective strategy to prevent security threats. 

15.Insecure Deserialization:

Hackers try to disrupt the users of a website by causing an excessive number of requests to the server system or network it employs. This results in a slow-loading website.

16.Security Bypass:

Handling serialized data on systems without proper security measures in place will make it easier for hackers to execute malicious codes remotely. This allows data loss or data manipulation. 


How to Avoid Web Security Vulnerabilities?

It is estimated that about 40% of the data breaches result from the common web security vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is essential to identify them and prevent them. There are several effective measures for the same, which are discussed below.

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Proper Input Validation:

Input validation is the process of verifying incoming data before they are received in the system. In the verification, the data’s format as well as various risk factors such as code injections and SQL are tested to prevent potential vulnerabilities. 

Authentication and Authorization:

Organizations can ensure data security by implementing a strong user authentication procedure. This will help the webmaster to ensure that only users with proper access rights are allowed to access the resources or website resources. 

HTTPS Encryption:

Ensuring HTTPS encryption is an effective way to stop man-in-the-middle attacks. HTTPS protocol is used to encrypt the data being transferred to or from the website. This means even if a hacker gets access to the data, he can’t process it for any malicious uses. 

Security Headers:

This is a security step that website visitors can take up for safety. Users can use security headers, for instance, Content Security Policy (CSP) or Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) to intensify the security poster of their web browsers to ensure safe browsing of a website. 

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Protection:

Anti-CSRF token is an effective way to prevent Cross-Site Request Forgery. This allows webmasters to ensure that hackers are not initiating requests to a site impersonating the users and thereby trying to gain unauthorized access to the system. 

Security Audits and Code Reviews:

Regular security audits and code reviews allow webmasters to identify some of the common web security vulnerabilities and implement measures to rectify them. Besides a security step, this is also a useful website vulnerability testing method to foresee potential threats.

Proper Error Handling:

Businesses can ensure that they have a secure error handling mechanism which allows website users to tackle or address any website error with minimal information. When website errors occur, users are forced to disclose sensitive information which hackers may get access to. 

Educating Stakeholders:

Organizations need to educate their website users about the best security practices. Steps like strong passwords and identifying phishing attempts can enhance the security posture and reduce risks. 

Regular Data Backups:

No matter how strong you think your website is secured, it is not advisable to stay complacent about it. Always have a plan B in case of a data breach. Data loss is the major setback of a cyberattack. By regularly backing up important data, businesses can address this challenge. 

Use of Parameterized Queries:

When performing database interactions, make sure to use parameterized queries to prevent SQL injection attacks. This coding practice minimizes the risk of malicious database manipulations as input from users is considered as data. 

Managing the Sessions effectively:

Make sure that there is a strong and secure practice for session management such as secure cookie attributes and session timeouts. This prevents security threats in user sessions and authorized accesses.

Updating Dependencies:

Many of the known vulnerabilities can be prevented from getting exploited by keeping the system up to date with patch software updates. Often, the vulnerabilities get bigger due to outdated components. 

Preventing Cross-Site Scripting (XSS):

Cross-Site scripting has become frequently practised among hackers. Such attempts can be easily prevented by using a proper input validation process where any data that the user inputs gets neutralized and thus becomes useless for the hackers. 

File Upload Security:

Organizations can increase the reliability of their security posture through proper restrictive measures and validation mechanisms. This is an effective way to reduce risks through unauthorized code executions.

Least Privilege Principle:

Avoid giving maximum access privileges to your website users or even systems. A hacker is less likely to cause serious damage to a system with limited system privileges. Similarly, they cannot cause much damage by tricking a user with limited access.

Web Application Firewall (WAF):

Use an effective Web Application Firewall to keep an eye on the HTTP traffic between your internet connection and the web application. This way you have an extra layer of safety in terms of identifying malicious requests and quickly blocking them. 

Ongoing Security Monitoring:

Ongoing security monitoring is a common practice among companies that do website vulnerability testing as it helps them get alerted instantly of any suspicious activities. 

Incident Response Plan:

Through a proper incident response plan, organizations or the stakeholders involved in the IT operations know what steps to take in case of a potential threat or attack or data breach. This proactive approach will help reduce the consequences of any breaches. 


In short, understanding and addressing common web security vulnerabilities is the key to safeguarding a website from such potential threats. Through robust security measures, regular audits, and staying vigilant, businesses can strengthen their security posture and fortify their online presence. A proactive approach will help establish a secure environment for both your website and its users.


Only by knowing the scope of vulnerabilities can an organization or business design a proper mechanism to prevent those risks. Steps like website vulnerability testing allow one to identify common threats and vulnerabilities and understand what steps to take. 

Websites are used everywhere – from shopping for groceries to booking flight tickets to getting hospital appointments. A compromised website will not only cause a bad reputation to the business but also risk the sensitive data of thousands of users who use the website services. Therefore, it is important to secure a website from common threats. Ensuring web security is crucial for maintaining strict confidentiality of your data; therefore, it’s advisable to seek expert cyber security providers to safeguard your confidentiality effectively.

SQL injection is a vulnerability exploitation process where a hacker attempts to manipulate the database of a website by injecting malicious SQL queries into the input fields. Proactive measures like limited privilege access, input validation and parameterized queries can help prevent SQL injection.

When it comes to website security, there is no point where you can say you are perfectly sealed against all threats. Threats continue to evolve. Therefore, even after implementing the most advanced security, it is essential to stay proactive to identify emerging or latest threats.

Website users who have been educated on the importance of strong passwords and identifying phishing attempts can act proactively. Hackers can’t easily unleash social engineering attacks on them, which is the starting phase of attacks against website security. 

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Jim Jacob

Jim Jacob is the founder of Cyberguard. He is an IT professional who has 21 years of professional experience in the tech field. Cybergurad is the product of his vision to share the knowledge gained from his career through the power of words. He is an expert at explaining complex tech concepts in simple language and has written numerous articles on IT and Cybersecurity.

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