Prevent Website Attacks

Modern web architecture has led to a massive acceleration of website and app-layer attacks like Magecart, XSS, session re-directs, and MITB malware. These attacks target the reliance on JavaScript and privileged ‘third-party’ access.

Tala Security Integrates Advanced Analytics with AI-Assisted Automation to Enhance Web Security

We help you quickly deploy robust and capable web security standards like CSP, SRI, HSTS & Trusted Types to ensure the end-to-end integrity of digital commerce. Our browser-native, standards-based controls yield massive performance advantages compared to alternative client-side security measures.

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Content Security Policy & Web Security Standards

The only way to completely eliminate the risk of cyberattack is to shut down your website. Obviously, you can’t do that. But many alternative website security solutions are asking you to do something almost as bad: significantly slow down the performance of your website. That’s because they don’t work in sync with the browser-native controls and standards the modern web is built on. 

A related problem with most alternative solutions is lack of flexibility. Attackers change their tactics and technology constantly. They’re looking to exploit the gap between the rich functionality of web applications and approach we take to securing them. When a new type of malware attracts public attention, you’ll suddenly hear about a lot of proprietary solutions that can combat that particular issue. Magecart is a perfect example: the media storm that has fueled awareness has led to a rise in solutions that can address only this narrow use case. Buying those “single issue” solutions means you’re investing in solving yesterday’s problem. Tomorrow’s hacker will be coming at you from a different angle. Because it operates on new reality that client-side protection starts in the browser, standards-based security offers the flexibility to stand against attack methods old and new.

Standards-based security solutions like Content Security Policy (CSP), Sub-resource Integrity (SRI), HSTS, iFrame Sandboxing, Referrer-Policy and others protect web applications as they execute on client-devices. Deploying these standards is the best way to protect your business from financial and reputational loss while maintaining a website that runs quickly and smoothly.  

Additionally, standards-based website security like CSP, SRI, HSTS, and others are native to most browsers and offer very fine-grained security controls that protect the web application as it executes on client-devices. This means these capabilities are both agentless and without overhead - security is activated via code already embedded in the browsers. By using the standards that are already in place, already browser-native, you get all the control with no additional overhead. When you automate that process, you can achieve exceptional performance without compromising on client-side security. Web security standards are the best way to find the perfect balance between protecting your assets and maintaining website performance.

Learn more about the ROI of CSP

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Some of the best-known and most frightening cyberattacks in recent years involved cross-site scripting (XSS). Cross-site scripting involves an attacker adding their own malicious JavaScript code onto the HTML pages displayed to your users. Once executed by the victim's browser, this code performs actions such as completely changing the behavior or appearance of the website, stealing private data, or performing actions on behalf of the user. The browser has no way to distinguish between legitimate and non-legitimate scripts, so it trusts and executes the JavaScript—which in some cases is malicious code. XSS features consistently among the Top 3 vulnerabilities detected on websites. Not only is it a widely available attack surface, but a single XSS vulnerability compromises the entire domain the domain on which it occurs.

There are 3 types of XSS vulnerability:

  • Reflected XSS: Also known as a non-persistent XSS attack, reflected XSS attacks bounce malicious script off another website to the user’s browser.
  • Stored XSS: Stored, or persistent XSS, involves inserting malicious code directly into the web application.
  • DOM XSS: DOM XSS is an attack in which the malicious script appears in the Document Object Model rather than in the HTML. Unlike reflected and persistent XSS, there’s no server-side vulnerability with DOM XSS. 

The impact of XSS attacks can be felt by organizations of any size. Theft of PII or sensitive information can leave your customer’s financial or personal information vulnerable, exposing your business to reputational damage as well as breach of GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA or other regulations. 

Companies that have suffered large data breaches such as Equifax or Capital One struggled to regain their brand reputation and the trust of their customers. Others have incurred significant fines for breach of regulations. 

Content Security Policy (CSP) whitelists trustworthy content sources, preventing hackers from injecting executable JavaScript into your site. A precise Content Security Policy working in conjunction with other available web standards protects your website against XSS attacks.

Learn more about how to safeguard against XSS attacks

Client-Side Web Application Firewall

The three most important security considerations of any website or web application are the server (back-end), the network, and the client (front-end). Web application security practitioners focus on protecting the ‘back-end’ by deploying a Web Application Firewall (WAF). Additionally, most website owners safeguard the network connection by implementing HTTPS (hyper-text transfer protocol secure) to protect the communication and transit of data between the server and the client-side. HTTPS protects against a ‘man in the middle’ attacker sitting in the network and its adoption has grown from 7% in 2015 to almost 60% today.  

Regulatory mandates and prescriptive frameworks such as PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry - Data Security Standard) have driven significant adoption of WAF and HTTPS to safeguard both the back-end and network. Unfortunately, these strategies alone are no longer enough to protect websites and web applications against new and advanced attacks that focus on attacking the client-side (front-end).

Today’s security frameworks and most security practitioners fail to take the vulnerability of client-side connections into account. These connections provide access to the point at which data is entered into a website or web application. Increasingly, that point is the browser; site users and online shoppers enter everything from user credentials to credit card numbers, healthcare data, and financial details into online forms via their web browser. 

That data is highly valuable to hackers, yet only 2% of websites deploy the client-side security measures that protect this point of data origination. In this environment, it’s easy to understand why attacks like Magecart, Formjacking and XSS are accelerating so rapidly. That same environment underlines the critical role a client-side web application plays in safeguarding the vulnerable browser or client-side connection.  Tala offers a compelling client-side Web Application Firewall that integrates advanced analytics, AI-assisted automation and highly-capable web security standards to deliver compelling capability and assured performance.

Learn more about why traditional WAFs don’t cut it

Customer Journey Hijacking

Your website is the public face of your organization, and in many cases, the primary place where customers interact with your business. These days, websites also face constant threats. No matter how enticing your eCommerce site is, you could be losing customers—and revenue—to customer journey hijacking.

When the customer journey is hijacked, visitors to your site are shown unauthorized content like banners, pop-ups, and ads designed to divert customers away from your site, decreasing your conversion rates and revenue. This malicious content is most often inserted via vulnerable client-side connections. Without security and analysis tools in place, these attacks are difficult to identify.

The invasive ads may only affect a small percentage of your customers, but missed conversions and impaired customer experience impact revenue. Even the customers who stay on your site could form a negative impression of your brand if they see unauthorized ads or experience broken functionality caused by injected content. The insertion of malicious content also slows down page load times, which inevitably damages your chance of appealing to today’s impatient online shoppers. 

There are a number of products that claim to solve customer journey hijacking, but most of them are purely focused on detecting malicious content. To address customer journey hijacking, your organization should consider a solution that not only detects unwanted behaviors but prevents unwanted injections and re-directs in the first place. 

It’s also worth noting that many security solutions will slow down your website, creating the same negative customer experiences you’re trying to avoid:  increased shopping cart abandonment and loss of brand approval. Look for solutions that have minimal overhead and impact on site performance. Web security standards like CSP, SRI and others offer assured prevention of customer journey hijacking. They also provide extensive additional website and web application capabilities that can be used effectively against a broad spread of security concerns, including Customer Journey Hijacking.

Learn more about how to combat customer journey hijacking

Missing Link in Website Security

The rapid acceleration of client-side attacks on websites requires an urgent reconsideration of website and web application security strategy.

The three most important elements of any website or web application are the server (back-end), the network, and the client (front-end). Historically, web application security practitioners have exclusively focused on protecting the backend by deploying a WAF. Most website owners have also implemented HTTPS (hyper-text transfer protocol secure) to protect the communication between the server and the client-side - HTTPS adoption has grown from 7% in 2015 to nearly 60% today. HTTPS protects against a “man in the middle” attacker sitting in the network. 

Historically, security practitioners either didn’t consider the importance of protecting the client-side or didn’t see a significant business need to do so. The changing landscape and escalating number of high-profile attacks mean everyone should now be thinking about client-side solutions. After all, modern web architecture relies on enabling third-parties to access the client-side of a web application. With almost 7,000 websites compromised every month by client-side attacks such as Magecart, formjacking and cross-site scripting, it’s clear that the issue of client-side security remains unaddressed. 

To safeguard your customers’ end-to-end website experience, you should consider three things: data at rest, data in motion, and data origination. WAFs, firewalls and similar tools are deployed to provide effective defense for data at rest. Data in motion is often encrypted by HTTPS transactions. Data origination refers to the point at which data is created. Unfortunately, a security specification for securing the point of data origination is entirely missing. This data origination point is increasingly the browser. For example, the data originates with an online shopper entering their user credentials, credit card numbers, healthcare data, or financial information into a form.

Much thinking has gone into the development of a set of standards-based security measures specifically designed to safeguard the client-side. These readily available and highly effective security measures include standards like CSP, SRI, Referrer-Policy, Trusted Types, HSTS and others. When deployed together, they not only offer comprehensive prevention, they do so with near-zero impact on performance.

Learn more about reconsidering website security

Client-Side Security

A Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults determined that around 80 percent of Americans are now online shoppers. That’s up from just 22% in 2000. These consumers readily share personal details and financial information on enterprise websites, and it’s reasonable for them to expect a secure experience. 

Their data is enticing to hackers, who are increasingly targeting the highly vulnerable client-side connection to get it: vulnerabilities in website security have allowed attackers to compromise thousands of websites globally. These attacks impact consumers and e-commerce vendors alike, resulting in significant financial and reputational costs, making them the number one threat to digital commerce.

Although many standards-based security capabilities provide client-side website security, they aren’t as widely deployed or well implemented as they should be. For example, 27% of Alexa 1000 websites deploy CSP, but only 2 percent among this sample deploy a CSP capable of safeguarding against client-side attacks. If your company is among those without a strong client-side solution, it’s time to consider deploying a robust Content Security Policy.

Learn more about why you need client-side security

Javascript vs. Javascript

The weakest link in a web application today is external JavaScript – something that has been exploited in frequently in recent attacks like Magecart. Research shows that when a user visits a website, over two-thirds of the code running in the browser comes from third party elements used for things like analytics, tag management, audio and video integration, form builders and social media. 

So how do you protect web applications from the threats resulting from the compromise of these third-party components? A couple of approaches that have been touted rely on injecting heavyweight JavaScript as a layer of defense into a webpage when the page is served from the website. The purpose of this layer of JavaScript is to hook onto key JavaScript APIs in a browser as the user is visiting the page, instrument access and flow of data, or provide a layer of application sandboxing (aka a virtual iFrame) within a browser. Essentially, pitting JavaScript against JavaScript in a browser-based war. It’s a flawed approach. 

When one builds a layer of defense, the security code should always be the first resource loaded on the page. This code is either fetched as a remote script from a first or third-party site or is embedded inline in the page. Such scripts can be anywhere from 1500 to 2000 lines of JavaScript code or about 50+ KB. The security script, in turn, securely fetches the configuration policies it enforces (unless the policies are embedded within the code itself—not the best of best practices). This causes the page to load slowly and has a negative impact on user experience.

Secondly, the security code needs to hook onto every possible JS API for DOM manipulation, local or remote/network I/O, local IPC, etc. At this point, the security code is running in asynchronous blocking mode, stalling the loading of any subsequent resources on that page. Nothing else runs or loads until this hooking is complete, effectively making this process a single point of failure (SPOF). A SPOF makes it all too easy for your whole website to go down, with devastating consequences for your revenue and reputation. 

To make matters worse, the state of JS APIs across browsers is a complete mess given the number of APIs, the lack of support across the board, and the need for browser-specific code. And researchers have found that just the hooking operation alone adds an overhead of 8%. 

You might think that sacrificing performance for strong security is worth it. But you don’t actually have to make that call: there are solutions that not only have stronger security than JavaScript, but they also don’t interfere with the performance of your website. For secure and smooth operations, turn to web security standards like Content Security Policies, SRI and others.

Learn more about the performance penalty of API hooking