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Cyber Security

10 Step Guide to Cybersecurity Essentials for Web Developers



Guide to Cybersecurity Essentials for Web Developers

Application development has become a faster affair than it ever was. The DevOps environment ensures that apps are developed and updated with new features at an incredible speed.

Once your web application is in production you use a bunch of metrics to analyze every minute aspect of the user journey and come up with more ideas on making the user experience better, retaining them for longer periods of time, and converting more leads. Now, amongst all of this, security takes a back seat and your web application effectively becomes a sitting duck waiting to be shot down.

It doesn’t have to be that way. With some effort, you can incorporate solid security practices in the DevOps structure without losing a lot of pace. This article helps you identify cybersecurity essentials for web developers to go alongside offensive security measures like penetration testing and vulnerability assessment.    

How important is it to protect a website?

90% of all websites are vulnerable to attacks. That means hackers can easily find a way into your systems and access admin level privileges. An attacker can steal data, stop your services, and ruin your online presence.

A security vulnerability puts a lot more at stake than just money. Getting hacked can sabotage the reputation you have built over years and strains your relationship with customers. 60% of the small and midsize businesses that experience a data breach never recover.  

Before getting to the cyber security essentials for developers, let us wrap our heads around some critical vulnerabilities mentioned in the OWASP top ten.

Top 10 vulnerabilities listed by OWASP

  1. Broken Access Control: Access control refers to the policies set to stop unauthorized access to sensitive information. The broken access control vulnerability makes it possible for malicious actors to gain unauthorized access.
  2. Cryptographic Failures: Cryptography deals with cyphers or encryptions employed to protect data. A cryptographic failure is a condition where the encryptions are easily breachable.   
  3. Injection and Cross-Site Scripting: Injection attacks occur when a malicious actor supplies unauthorized code input to your systems and an interpreter processes the malicious input as part of the command or query.  
  4. Insecure Design: Insecure design refers to the security flaws inherent in the application created by non adherence to a security best practices.
  5. Security Misconfiguration: Developers and network admins often alter security controls for temporary convenience and forget to reset them. That is one of the many ways how security misconfigurations occur.
  6. Vulnerable and Outdated Components: A web application relies on a bunch of external components like plugins and libraries. The vulnerabilities present in such elements are just as dangerous for the application.
  7. Identification and Authentication Failures: The lack of identity and input validation measures exist as a critical vulnerability in a lot of web apps.
  8. Software and Data Integrity Failures: This type of attack targets the integrity of software and data, resulting in the manipulation or deletion of information.
  9. Security Logging and Monitoring Failures: When a website does not have an alert system to flag malicious activity from a certain IP, it results in the security logging and monitoring failure vulnerability.
  10. Server-Side Request Forgery: An attacker can use this vulnerability to connect a server to internal-only services or force the server to make HTTP requests to arbitrary external systems.

10 Ways to Protect Your Website from Attacks

So, we have covered some of the most dangerous vulnerabilities. And now it’s time to learn how to protect a web application from these potential breaches. Just know that most of these vulnerabilities can be avoided by adhering to some cybersecurity essentials for developers.

1.     Establish strong policies for password validation

A staggering 30% of all breaches are caused by weak passwords. And all you need to do to prevent this from happening is to make users and employees create long and complex passwords that are difficult to crack.

You need to place certain rules to ensure that the passwords being used are strong enough. You should also review the policies periodically, and make the users change their passwords once in a while.

2.     Use a strong firewall

This is hardly something you didn’t already know. You have to put up a firewall to prevent certain actors from accessing your website. You can block certain IPs, or countries. The firewall can flag malware, and notify you whenever there is a suspicious activity on your network. The real trick is ensuring that the firewall is up to date and gives your website the protection it needs. You need a strong firewall like the one by Astra Security to strengthen your defenses.

  1. It is important to keep regular backups of your website

Backing up your website on a regular basis ensures that you have a recent version of your original website in case your production site is hacked and damaged beyond repair. You must store the backup website securely as an offsite server.

  1. Protect your data in transit

Make sure you use transport layer security (TLS) to encrypt the data in flight between systems or between your device and the internet. Whether your data is in flight or at rest, it is very important to encrypt it.

  1. Harden your servers and applications

Unnecessary features and plugins can slow down your website and create security threats. It becomes difficult for hackers to breach a website that is lean and tight.

  1. Build up company wide awareness

You have to treat cybersecurity as more than just an IT issue, because it is not. A security breach affects each and every aspect of a business, hence it is important to imbibe security best practices in the organization culture. Educating employees from all the different departments on cybersecurity will pay dividends.

  1. Adopt two factor authentication

A two factor authentication requires the user to provide another piece of information alongside their username and password to log in. This makes it harder for the hackers to launch a social engineering attack. 

  1. Stay on top of new security threats

With the amount of information and awareness running around cybersecurity at present it is not too hard to keep a tap on the new vulnerabilities. For instance, a vulnerability that got famous recently was the Log4J. And thanks to the quick response by security researchers around the world, most websites are now protected from it.

9.     Perform regular vulnerability scans

It is not too hard to leave a port open here or a security misconfiguration there given the pace at which web applications develop and evolve. Conducting regular vulnerability scans helps you stay updated about your organization’s security posture, and doesn’t let you be an easy target for hackers.

  1. Conduct Penetration Testing

Penetration testing a team of security experts who try to exploit certain vulnerabilities safely to understand how much damage those vulnerabilities can do. It gives you a true understanding of your security posture and helps you take appropriate measures to remediate the situation. Learn about the best penetration testing tools that you can use for this purpose.

Let’s talk some more about Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is an offensive security measure where security experts apply hacker-like tactics to unveil vulnerabilities in your system and exploit them to an extent to gain insights about their risk and exploitability. Penetration testing is one of the most effective ways of evaluating your organization’s security posture since it simulates an actual hack.

Different approaches to Penetration Testing

Pentesting or penetration testing is generally divided in three categories. Black box, White box, and Gray box Penetration testing. These categories are distinguished by the amount of knowledge the pentester comes in with.

Black box penetration testing

This approach emulates the hacking process very closely as the tester, not unlike a hacker, approaches the target website with very little information about its structure and assets.

White box penetration testing

In this approach, the security expert gains complete knowledge of the target system and prepares to make an in-depth analysis of the code.

Gray box penetration testing

Gray box penetration testing is a cross between black box and white box pentesting. In this case, the pentester comes in with partial information about the target system.

Black box pentests are very useful to test your security measures against a real-time attack, while white box and gray box pentests give you a more in-depth understanding of your security posture.

Having an effective pentest partner is a great boon for developers

Your choice of a pentest partner may make or break your security efforts. Before you choose a penetration testing company to help you with vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, you must take care of the following factors.

  • A pentest partner that lets you keep a tap on their progress is always preferable. It is just awesome if you can look at the vulnerabilities as they are discovered.
  • Remediation assistance from the security  experts is a major deciding factor when it comes to choosing a pentest partner.
  • The pentest timeline should not be too long.
  • You need to work with experienced security engineers who can guide you in reproducing the exploits.
  • The pentest certificate you get should be publicly verifiable as it helps you build trust.


Being security conscious entails more than just putting up firewalls and conducting vulnerability scans. Yes, those are very important things, but there is something more that you need. In a fast paced environment it is important to look at software development from a security perspective right from the beginning.

Security has to be embedded in the process from the earliest stages of planning an application. It is the easiest to track and manage security efforts if the developers conduct the threat modeling by themselves while designing the software.

Once security awareness enters every department, it will be incredibly difficult for the hackers to breach your applications. Till then, stay safe.

Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing “engineering in marketing” to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity monitoring: the robot every organisation needs on their payroll



Cybersecurity monitoring

Let’s clear something up, there’s no organisation or industry in the world that doesn’t appeal to cyber criminals. But why is that? Well, where there’s data, there’s opportunity, and organisations hold a lot of data. That’s why they’re an attractive target for cybercriminals, and too often, their cyber defences are easy to penetrate.

From media and telecom companies to manufacturing firms, no industry is safe. In fact, over the last year (2022-2023), IBM noted around 95% of studied organisations were a victim of one or more cyber breaches. What’s more around half of those organisations continue to put themselves at risk by failing to increase their cybersecurity measures.

So, what if there was a solution that supported your organisation when a breach occurred? According to cybersecurity services provider, and creator of secure+, ramsac, it could be as simple as employing a cybersecurity monitoring service, just like you would an employee. It’s time to consider that proactive cybersecurity measures are just as essential as your payroll or HR department, and just as vital as your paid specialists. Without it, your organisation could see tough times ahead.

What is cybersecurity monitoring?

Designed to detect a breach the moment it happens, cybersecurity monitoring services offer a proactive response and resolution when a cyberattack occurs. Approximately 90% of all cyber-attacks are caused due to human error or simple mistakes. With the chances of human error being so high and the consequences costly beyond belief, securing your operations and systems before a cyberattack occurs should be the top priority.

Why is it important for organisations?

Cybersecurity monitoring is an essential part of any organisation. It’s just like your HR and payroll departments; without them in place, it can affect a whole number of factors. Morale, productivity and employee trust can easily spike in the wrong direction. However, with them in place, it not only offers stability for your workforce but also ensures you remain compliant.

Consider the essential employees your organisation has that you can’t function without. In your organisation, it could be valuable content writers who know your client’s needs thoroughly or a data analyst who is fundamental to keeping your organisation on track. Without them, you may struggle to meet client requirements and expectations, or you could fail at achieving your business objectives. Without fundamental employees, it could be detrimental to your organisation’s success.

So, why should your business be without cybersecurity monitoring? As an “employee” or an essential element of your company, it carries a lot of weight. Without it, you could experience downtime that eats into your profits, affects your employees’ ability to serve customers and damages your overall brand health. However, with it in place, you’ll be able to mitigate some of these hurdles, ensuring a secure remote backup is available so there’s minimal downtime and your customer data remains intact. You’ll also show initiative by actively monitoring potential weak points and taking immediate action before things escalate.

What about good anti-virus software?

Anti-virus software is not cybersecurity monitoring but it should still be a staple for any organisation, or any computer. Yet only 58% of Brits actually use it. As a security programme, it’s designed to detect, prevent, search and remove viruses from all devices, including networks. Organisations without any form of cybersecurity in place are sitting ducks for potential attacks.

Many might ask what the need for a cybersecurity monitoring service is when you have good anti-virus software in place. Monitoring offers organisations even more autonomy and will normally mitigate a potential cyberattack. A good monitoring service uses Machine Learning and AI to flag unlikely or impossible digital scenarios Essentially, it gives companies options and peace of mind, ensuring minimal disruption for customers, service users and employees, whilst guaranteeing business operations can remain functional.

As a 24/7, 365 service, cybersecurity monitoring is completely tailored to your organisation’s needs, priorities and sensitivities. Unlike anti-virus software, that proactively monitors your devices, but doesn’t understand the complexities your company faces, a managed cybersecurity monitoring service fills that gap. That doesn’t mean to say you should drop your anti-virus software, because doing so could make you incredibly vulnerable. Instead, the two are designed to work in harmony. When partnered alongside a cybersecurity monitoring service, they create the ultimate power couple.

What are the benefits of cybersecurity monitoring for your organisation?

  • Consistency of service for your customers

Whilst there are official channels and processes your organisation must follow when a cyber-attack occurs, you’ll want to ensure your customers still receive the service they expect. It’s also important that you can confidently reassure them about the situation.

Offers preparedness around cyber-attacks

The first indication of a cyber breach is often after it’s too late. With a proactive service by your side, organisations can rest assured that potential breaches are being monitored around the clock with intervention in place to reduce the threat.

  • Adapts to evolving cyber-threats

With AI embedded in almost everything, it’s no surprise that scammers are utilising this tool too. Cybercriminals are able to simulate more realistic requests through AI, such as an email requiring bank details or a requirement to meet with the CEO. As technology and software changes, cybercrime will evolve. Fortunately, a cybersecurity monitoring service is a step ahead here. As well as monitoring for active threats, it can measure potential threats and understand how cybercrime is evolving. Now, your organisation can stay ahead too.

So, are you going to remain vulnerable?

With cybersecurity monitoring services now an option for organisations, it’s the right time to employ them as part of your workforce. Just as you would with vital business functions, it’s time to protect your organisation’ online presence.

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Cyber Security

Cyber Breaches Impact Nonprofit Organizations Beyond Finances at , Says Info-Tech Research Group



Cyber Breaches Impact Nonprofit Organizations Beyond Finances at , Says Info-Tech Research Group

The firm’s latest research-backed blueprint explains how nonprofits can bolster their defenses against data breaches by proactively assessing existing privacy and security gaps to implement improvements.

The modern digital landscape has significantly amplified the potential for sensitive data leaks and theft. Data breaches at nonprofit organizations in particular can result in heightened risks and as they compromise the wellbeing of their members, donors, and users, causing disruptions to nonprofits’ day-to-day operations. These consequences extend beyond finances and include operational disruptions, service delays, and potential penalties. To aid nonprofit organizations in safeguarding their stakeholders’ information, Info-Tech Research Group, a leading global IT research and advisory firm, has released its latest industry blueprint, Strengthen Your Nonprofit’s Privacy and Security Operations.

“It’s crucial for nonprofit organizations to remember that if privacy and security fall short, it may become impossible to carry out tasks and initiatives that fulfill their mission,” says Monica Pagtalunan, research analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “Data breaches can put members, donors, and users at risk, disrupt nonprofit operations, expose liability, and ruin the reputation and revenue nonprofits have built. The stakes for nonprofits are much higher than for for-profit businesses.”

Info-Tech’s resource explains that a nonprofit organization’s fiduciary obligation and mission promise to prioritize the stakeholders’ interests must include its obligation to protect IT assets that hold their personal data through privacy and cybersecurity protocols. However, nonprofits face several obstacles in combating data breaches, including prioritizing mission-focused budgets over operational ones, a lack of defined cybersecurity and privacy foundations, and an inaccurate reliance on cyber insurance as a sole solution.

“Nonprofits are starting to pay attention to data security, yet they loathe to make changes that mitigate cyber risks due to lack of capital and human resources, which remain major obstacles to the path of maturity and consistency,” explains Pagtalunan.

According to Info-Tech’s research, the foremost concern for nonprofits is the risk of information leakage, which affects the entire organization and is not limited to IT alone. There are several processes where a nonprofit may be exposed to the risk of a data leak, including data collection, processing donations or event registrations, or transferring data to the cloud. The impacted data can include sensitive, personally identifiable information of donors, members, and users. The potential impacts can include the following:

  • Exposed confidential or sensitive information
  • Inaccessible data and a compromised environment
  • Reputational damage and the loss of support and revenue
  • Legal or regulatory fines and investigations
  • Organization-wide interruption

To combat data breaches, Info-Tech advises nonprofit organizations adopt a comprehensive approach, which includes effectively communicating the importance of robust cybersecurity and privacy programs to key stakeholders using language that aligns with the organization’s goals. Additionally, evaluating the intersection of privacy and security measures will help in understanding how to mitigate the risk of data leaks or loss of donor or member information. Taking the crucial first step of assessing existing privacy and security gaps enables nonprofits to proactively address vulnerabilities and enhance their overall defense against data breaches.

Managing security operations is an ongoing and continuous responsibility for organizations. Despite obstacles like the cybersecurity skills gap and limited IT resources, allocating appropriate oversight and supervision is crucial to ensure effective security and privacy operations. In cases where assembling an in-house IT team is not feasible, Info-Tech recommends outsourcing as the ideal option.

About Info-Tech Research Group

Info-Tech Research Group is one of the world’s leading information technology research and advisory firms, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals. The company produces unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. For 25 years, Info-Tech has partnered closely with IT teams to provide them with everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

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Cyber Security

Cybersecurity Company Safetech Launches in London



Cybersecurity Company Safetech Launches in London
  • Safetech Innovations Global Services (“Safetech”) launches today in London at Plexal, the innovation hub for tech change-makers.
  • With today’s launch, Safetech combines their unparalleled, global cybersecurity expertise with the UK’s legacy of being at the cutting edge of cyber development.
  • The launch marks one of the most significant Romanian private investments into the UK tech sector post-Brexit.

Cybersecurity company Safetech Innovations Global Services (“Safetech”) launches today in London to provide cybersecurity services and training to British critical infrastructure and organisations which are most vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks including healthcare, financial services, retail, and local government.

For the past decade, Safetech’s parent company has been at the forefront of cybersecurity developments in Romania, a global sector leader. Today Safetech officially launches in the UK, bringing together Safetech’s unparalleled global cybersecurity expertise with the UK’s legacy being at the cutting edge of cyber development. Safetech will also build a new Security Operations Centre at Plexal Stratford, the innovation hub for tech change-makers and the legacy site of the 2012 Olympic Park.

This launch marks one of the most significant private investments into the UK tech sector by a Romanian company since Brexit, and will create highly skilled local jobs to service clients around the world.

Safetech is a Department of Business and Trade supported organisation.

“Anything with a digital interface can be hacked – but having the most advanced technology is only half the battle in protecting organisations from cybercrime. You must also understand the behaviour of cyber criminals and how they prey on your vulnerabilities. By combining our expertise in both the technology and people involved in cybercrime, we keep our customers safe,” said Anca Stancu, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Safetech Innovations Global Services. “I’m proud to launch Safetech here in London as testament to the strength of the British market, and to continue Britain’s legacy being at the cutting edge of cyber development.”

“I’m pleased to celebrate the launch of Safetech in the United Kingdom, as yet another example of the strong Romanian-British partnership,” said Laura Popescu, Romanian Ambassador to the UK. “Romania is a world leader in cybersecurity, and I hope this significant investment in the UK technology sector will attract even more business for our two nations.”

“I’m excited and humbled that Safetech has chosen to base their headquarters at our Plexal Stratford location and will also build their new Security Operations Centre here,” said Andrew Roughan, Chief Executive of Plexal. “Safetech is emblematic of Plexal’s mission to bring together expertise and innovation in technology, from industry leaders to government policymakers, and solve the greatest challenges facing the UK.”

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