Security Best Practices for Web App Development in 2023

Web app development has seen an exponential increase over the last decade. As more and more companies digitize their operations to achieve their goals, cyber threats are also mounting with each passing day. As a result, it is no surprise that cybersecurity now features as one of the topmost concerns for all organizations, small and large, private and public.   

This article explains the top security tips and best practices for web app development services you can implement in 2023 to keep your vital data and valuable users secure from such threats.  

What is Web App Security?  

Before we discuss security best practices for web app development, it is better to understand what application security means.   

Web or mobile application security refers to the steps and measures you take to keep your application safe from cyber threats. Web app security is necessary because hackers often target web apps for nefarious purposes. The goal is to steal sensitive user information or application data and then sell the same or blackmail the user/application developer into gaining undue benefits.  

So, what are the different kinds of application security threats out there? Let’s see.  

Web App Security Threats  

Almost all businesses today are connected to the internet today. Many employees also use enterprise applications and transfer sensitive data between laptops and smartphones. Thus, securing these devices and applications against cyber threats is of pivotal importance.     

Let’s highlight some of the common web threats you can come across.  

1. Credential Stuffing  

This is where cybercriminals initiate data breaches, steal user credentials from one application, and then use the same credentials to log in to other applications hoping that the user uses the same username and password for various apps.   

Eventually, the perpetrators of such attacks use the stolen credentials to log in to the app at such a scale that it forces it to crash.    

2. Brute-Force Attack  

These kinds of attacks are similar to credential stuffing. However, the difference is that brute-force attacks involve guessing the credentials instead of stealing them from an app.   

The goal is to overload the application and force it to crash.  

3. SQL Injection (SQLI)  

In this type of attack, hackers utilize SQL codes to access sensitive information by manipulating an application’s backend. This information could either be related to the app developer or the user.   

SQL injections pose a dire cyber threat as they enable attackers to access the administrative rights of the web apps industry 

4. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)  

This type of attack is much like SQLI attacks. It is an injection attack that employs malicious scripts and places them on secure and trusted websites intending to compromise their users.   

They use these malicious scripts to extract sensitive data from the user’s browser.  

5. Cookie Poisoning  

Also known as session hijacking, cookie poisoning occurs when an attacker hijacks and alters an otherwise valid cookie sent to a server to bypass security or steal data.   

Given that almost every website demands cookies, it puts most internet and Web App Development users at risk.  

6. Man-in-the-middle (MITM) Attack   

MITM attacks are often considered a form of eavesdropping. These attacks occur when a hacker places itself between a web app and a user. Then the attacker mimics either the user or the web app to steal sensitive data from both parties involved.   

Security Best Practices for Web Development  

Although we have mentioned only half a dozen cyber threats, many others exist. But worry not; it’s time to discuss how you can counter and thwart these threats to keep your apps and users secure.  

Here are some of the top security tips and best practices you should implement to enable enhanced application and user security.  

Assessing Security Threats  

Each application offers different features and services from another application. Thus, the security threats will also vary for both of them. The best way to address this problem is to conduct a thorough assessment of potential threats to your application while you’re in the process of developing it.  

Once you have identified the threats, the next step is to implement adequate security measures and mechanisms in the application before it is released. However, bear in mind that no application can be hundred percent secure. Therefore, some risks will persist.  

But it depends on you which ones to prioritize and tackle first. Nevertheless, the security best practices mentioned here will help you reduce your cybersecurity threats to a great extent.  

Strengthen Infrastructure Security  

All hybrid applications need servers to function. Sometimes, companies operate and manage these servers on-premises. Others choose to go serverless, opting for a cloud service provider to manage their underlying infrastructure.  

Whatever the case, your servers must be secure from cyber threats. To ensure that they are safe, you should implement infrastructure security best practices and consult white papers and architecture reference manuals.   

This will help you avoid misconfiguration and keep your apps secure.   

Encrypt Sensitive Data  

Encryption is a vital security tool companies use today. It is necessary to secure the transfer of data via public networks. Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a widely used encryption method for transferring data. But you must set it up properly – use widely-acclaimed cipher suites and third-party-signed certificates to set up TLS.   

As for the data in your servers at rest, employ encryption to secure it. It can seriously hamper a hacker’s attempt to succeed in breaching your data security and stealing sensitive information.   

However, encryption also presents a challenge. It is often blamed for adversely impacting an app’s performance, especially where search commands are concerned. Therefore, don’t fall for the “encrypt all you can” approach; instead, assess the risks and proceed accordingly.  

Keep Track of Software Changes  

Application development is a process. As a developer working on an enterprise application, you may change your source code multiple times depending on your customer’s wants. Sometimes, these changes impact the core features of an app too.  

It is best to document, monitor, and analyze each change and the potential threats it might encounter. You should try to model these changes and see how cyber threats will likely impact a new change in your software code or application functionality.   

Ensure that your team lead or IT manager documents and approves these changes. Such documentation will come in handy when the time comes for an external audit.   

Implement App Dependency Updates Regularly  

All the parts and components of a web app are vulnerable to cyberattacks, some more than others. Therefore, it is crucial that you create an application vulnerabilities list that helps you identify security risks.   

The best way to go about it is to implement security mechanisms as soon as you spot a vulnerability. However, sometimes fixing the risk may involve disrupting the core functionality of your app. In this case, utilize compensation controls like network isolation or web application firewall to set up an additional application security layer.  

Backup and Recovery Plan  

Application backups are critical, especially in the case of high-level enterprise applications where business continuity may depend on the app. Downtimes may cost you or your client a lot, and therefore, it is best to assess their possibility during the phase.  

You should create a backup plan that outlines how often you’ll perform the backup and the technology you will utilize. Moreover, it is best to regularly test the backed-up and recovered data to ensure it is usable.   

Train Employees  

Training and educating your employee should be a top priority for you. Even if you build an exceptionally secure web or Microsoft power apps, at the end of the day, it is humans who will use it. Therefore, you should educate and train your employees to handle data correctly and securely. You should also teach them how to set strong passwords that are hard to guess.   

Similarly, all your employees should be educated about the major cybersecurity threats, especially the ones your application is vulnerable to. This will help them proactively identify security lapses and respond accordingly.      

Manage Permissions and System Access  

Your IT system should have limited access. Following the principle of least privilege, you should give the minimum required permissions to your employees to access your IT system for performing daily tasks. In case you have to provide emergency permissions, give them temporarily and revoke them the moment they are no longer required.  

Moreover, inactive employee accounts should temporarily be suspended, while those who have left the company, accounts should be disabled permanently so that no unauthorized access takes place.   

Use Authentication Methods  

Although solid passwords help you secure your app, implementing multifactor authentication makes it even more secure. Your IT system administrator can provide additional factors (fingerprint, mobile token, face pattern, etc.) for logging in to your employees.  

Perform Security Audits and Monitor Anomalies  

Security audits are an excellent way to ensure data processing security. They help you identify the risks involved during data processing and enable you to address them.  

You should also look out for anomalies in your IT system. For this, it is best to set up alarms and notification alerts. For instance, suppose you set a traffic limit on your application. If and when this threshold is breached, the system will duly inform you through an alert. You can then investigate the matter and take the necessary actions to rectify the anomaly.  


As cybersecurity threats increase, companies are looking to develop and implement security best practices to secure themselves against cybercriminals. It is critical that you develop a security strategy that keeps your vital enterprise data safe and ensures that no major disruptions take place in case an attack occurs.  

So, whenever you develop your next web app, keep in mind the security risks and best practices mentioned above. They will help you minimize and counter these threats effectively.  

In case you’re looking for a Web App Development security strategy, contact us at [email protected] for a FREE consultation session. Xavor would love to help you secure your organization against hackers and cybersecurity threats.  

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