Web Applications And Security In Web Applications Computer Science Essay

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A web application is any application that uses a web browser as a client. The application can be as simple as a message board or a guest sign-in book on a website, or as complex as a word processor or a spreadsheet.Web application has become one of the important application in communication world.

A web application relieves the developer of the responsibility of building a client for a specific type of computer or a specific operating system. Since the client runs in a web browser, the user could be using an IBM-compatible or a Mac. They can be running Windows XP or Windows Vista. They can even be using Internet Explorer or Firefox, though some applications require a specific web browser.

Web applications commonly use a combination of server-side script (ASP, PHP, etc) and client-side script (HTML, Javascript, etc.) to develop the application. The client-side script deals with the presentation of the information while the server-side script deals with all the hard stuff like storing and retrieving the information.

Most web applications are based on the client-server architecture where the client enters information while the server stores and retrieves information. Internet mail is an example of this, with companies like Yahoo and MSN offering web-based email clients.

Web applications can provide the same functionality and gain the benefit of working across multiple platforms. For example, a web application can act as a word processor, storing information and allowing you to 'download' the document onto your personal hard drive.The new push for web applications is crossing the line into those applications that do not normally need a server to store the information.

Google Apps, Microsoft Office Live, and WebEx WebOffice are examples of the newest generation of web applications

Security issue in web application-

Web applications are becoming more sophisticated and increasingly technically complex. They range from dynamic Internet and Intranet portals, such as e-commerce sites and partner extranets, to HTTP-delivered enterprise applications such as document management systems and ERP applications. The availability of these systems and the sensitivity of the data that they store and process are becoming critical to almost all major businesses, not just those, which have online e-commerce stores.This diversity in the use and the sensitivity of information that needs to be protected introduces a distinct set of risks and security challenges into the corporate environment.Web applications that store and process sensitive and personal information are typically exposed to five generic threats:Authentication Bypass giving access to the application and its stored and processed data via the circumvention of authentication controls.Privilege Escalation giving unauthorised access to the application and its stored and processed data via the circumvention of access controls.Loss or Modification of Data resulting in the integrity of the applications data store being compromised.Independent specialists in information security.

The root cause for all this problems is hacking,the term hacking came into picture in 1940’s when the radio was tuned into police or militart radio signals to lisen in on what was going on.At that time the hackers were just curious to know what was going around then in early 1960’s as time passed the technology advanced and large amount of information about private data were sent through internet, the hacking and technology were combined to get the private data.The evidence of the advances in hacking attempts and technology cna be seen every day and the most recent was that a Pakistan hacker has hacked into the india military website.

Hackers can be classified into good hackers and bad hackers, good hackers are “while hat” hackers these are the professionals who who detects the vulnerability and protects the the servers from external attacks , these people are hired by IT organizations for protecting there private data, Black hat hackers are those who tries to break into a network illegally.

The Web application layer is the top target for malicious online attacks. The prevalence of website vulnerabilities undoubtedly contributes to this trend, along with the relative ease with which criminals are able to monetize and exploit their illegal activity. Indeed, many of the largest incidents are a direct result of exploitation of Web application vulnerabilities. Enterprises that want to reduce the risk of financial losses, brand damage, theft of intellectual property, legal liability and fines need to remain informed about how websites are able to be penetrated and how they can best be defended. WhiteHat Security is in a unique position to compile this data and put it to work. Our second release of the Web Application Security Risk Report continues to deliver actionable information and raise awareness about the vulnerabilities in custom Web applications