7 Cybersecurity Threats You Must Know as a Web Developer

Web developers spend a good deal of time online and manage more passwords than most. This can make them more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. Here’s what you need to pay attention to.


1. Vulnerabilities in Components or Dependencies

As a web developer, you can’t always code projects from scratch. Time and budget constraints and other factors mean you may have to use readily available components. But even when you stick to using recently updated components or dependencies from trusted sources, risks remain.

To minimize risks, limit the number of components or dependencies you use and download them only from original sources. Also important is to remove any unused ones. The fewer components, the lower the risks.


2. Lack of Logging

Serious attacks often require planning. During the pre-attack phase, hackers may seek to discover and test different ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

These will often leave traces in logs that you can use as signals of an impending attack. Logging is not the most fun activity for a web developer, especially when you’re managing lots of different projects.

But maintaining logs and monitoring them is one of the most effective ways to thwart attacks before they can cause damage.

Make sure to implement automated monitoring across your projects. When looking at logs, pay attention to obvious signals like failed login attempts and any other suspicious activity.


3. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Most web applications are vulnerable to Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), according to OWASP. During an XSS attack, hackers can steal user sessions to take over a user account.

XSS attacks range from relatively mild Reflected XSS attempts using HTML to more serious Stored XSS using web apps. Another form of XSS attack involves DOM modifications using malicious JavaScript code.

Some web frameworks are more vulnerable to XSS attacks. If possible, choose to work on a platform that has built-in defenses against these attacks.


4. Unencrypted Sensitive Data Theft

Caching and autocomplete are two features hackers can exploit to steal data without breaking into web apps. When these features store unencrypted sensitive data, hackers may use man-in-the-middle attacks to access sensitive data.

Hackers can get very creative with how they intercept data, something exploiting features that can’t be disabled. To mitigate this threat, make it a rule to always encrypt sensitive data.


5. Injection Flaws

Attackers using SQL, NoSQL, or XPath injection flaws can send malicious code to web apps. Depending on the type of injection, the damage can lead to lost data loss and worse.

On the plus side, injection flaws tend not to be as subtle as other cyberattacks. If you use capable, up-to-date vulnerability scanning tools, you’ll be able to detect SQL injections in your web app code. You can also reduce risks by implementing ORM or non-interpreter APIs.


6. Threats From Reusing Passwords

Reusing passwords is convenient but can endanger both your private and work data. All the more so if you reuse personal passwords for work or vice versa.

If your password leaks or hackers steal it, it can compromise all your accounts. What’s more, it can lead to data breaches, customer data leaks and undermine the security of your clients.

You may not be using “password” or “qwerty123456” as your password across web projects. But are you using a strong, unique password for each account? And are you changing it regularly, at least once every 3 months?

All that calls for some work, especially if you’re managing several projects and using different services and tools. As a web developer, you can use a password manager to keep your projects and websites safe.

With a password manager, you can generate and keep track of complex passwords without writing any down. You can create as many passwords as you need and not have to remember each other. You can be liberated from the burden of managing tens or hundreds of passwords.


7. Public Wi-Fi Risks

As a web developer, you may often find yourself working outside your home or on the go. The problem with that is that you may have to rely on public Wi-Fi networks.

These networks are prone to many different types of data attacks and data interception. However, not using public Wi-Fi is often not possible.

Instead, you can encrypt your connection and mask your IP address to become less conspicuous for potential attackers. A simple way to do this is to start using a VPN.

Remember that hackers can target your phone or tablet as well, so safeguard your mobile connection.


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