A firewall acts as an intermediary between your website and the outside world, filtering out all unwanted traffic so that only legitimate requests can get through. By using a web application firewall to protect your application from malicious users, you’ll be able to increase user trust and conversion rates by making sure that no one can access your site without authorization or tamper with sensitive data in any way. If you’re unsure about how to choose the right web application firewall for your needs, this guide should help you get started and make the right decision for your business.
WAFs or web application firewalls are security solutions that detect and block malicious activity in web applications. They work by identifying potential threats and preventing them from being delivered to clients. WAFs fall into two categories: host-based firewalls, which work on an individual computer; and network-based firewalls, which monitor all activity across an entire network.
How Does a WAF Work?
A WAF works by examining incoming requests and identifying patterns that indicate malicious activity. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce site, most legitimate transactions are initiated by a Web browser (i.e., via getting or POST requests). Malicious attacks, on the other hand, usually come from bots that send specific HTTP methods (such as PUT or DELETE) to trigger actions on a vulnerable Web site.
Benefits of WAF Firewalls
Anywhere you see sensitive information, there’s an opportunity for malicious users to exploit. These opportunities present themselves all over your applications, especially within web applications. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to ensure that these vulnerabilities stay in check.
A Web Application Firewall is one way to deter and identify these threats before they have a chance to get off the ground.
A Web Application Firewall provides both proactive and reactive security measures for any web-based application. It watches all HTTP traffic going into and out of your system, providing protection against known bad actors.
In terms of proactivity, WAF firewalls employ a deny by default strategy for both incoming and outgoing traffic. This means that if anything looks suspicious or has been reported as bad (e.g., malware), it will be blocked automatically without allowing traffic through first—because some level of protection is better than no protection at all!
Which Type of WAF Should I Use?
There are multiple different kinds of web application firewalls available. Each type of WAF serves a specific purpose and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding what each kind of WAF offers, as well as how they work and how they differ from one another, will help you choose which solution works best for your organization.
Referring to as an on-premises WAF or an in-box security solution, on-premises solutions include dedicated appliances that sit outside a network’s perimeter and provide defense against malicious traffic before it hits a corporate network. An example of such a device would be Symantec’s Web Security Virtual Appliance (WSAv).
On-premises devices have been around for more than 15 years, so they’re battle-tested by thousands of companies with varying degrees of security expertise across numerous industries. Although these devices tend to be more complex than other types of WAFs, they also offer greater coverage because they operate inside networks as well as at their edges.
Web application firewalls come in three main flavors:
- on-premises, and
Understanding which type of WAF makes sense for you requires an understanding of your security requirements and an assessment of both business and technical capabilities. Our guide breaks down these different types of WAFs to help you determine which may be right for your organization.
A Quick Review of Web Application Vulnerabilities
If you’re not familiar with Web Application Vulnerabilities, or WAVs, then chances are that your WAF solution isn’t working. What exactly are WAVs? Essentially, they are vulnerabilities discovered within the software and implemented by hackers to attack specific applications.
By purchasing and configuring an intrusion prevention system, companies increase their security posture significantly against attacks like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), XML injection, and directory traversal attacks.