How to prevent ASP.NET exploitation by hackers – an overview
We visualize the latest innovations – the smartphone, VR headset, 3D printer, and similar gadgets when we think about the gift of technology that impacts our lives. However, we need to take a larger view to understand how it's entwining over existence in the new digital world. Digital technology is more than computers and gadgets. It is the entirety of human-made architecture that amplifies our grasp of the digital world.
One such web framework is ASP.NET. It is an open-source web platform for building the modern apps we are so familiar with within our daily lives. It becomes more critical in the world of cybercriminals that we build more secured ASP.NET website applications. With application developers including new security features, it sometimes backfires on the business enterprises and end-users. When one creates new platforms for innovations, it is seen that no off-the-shelf application works.
While developing custom applications, security issues are at the forefront of any developer. It is a standard practice to test security features at every stage of development to safeguard a company's digital infrastructure. Many MVC.Net development services are there globally, but persistent security issues leave applications vulnerable to threats from hackers.
Here we will see how hackers exploit the ASP.NET and how to prevent them.
Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
CSRF vulnerability enables hackers to brute attack and forcefully log into an account without the owner's consent and perform malicious activity. For example, this usually happens when a user logs into a bank server, and the server approves the credentials; a secure session between the bank and user starts. A hacker mails the user with a fake link and tries to transfer money once the user clicks the link. In a secure session, a fake link works.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks
XSS attacks happen when fake scripts get injected through input fields. The attackers use this method frequently to steal credentials and passwords. Hackers are known to visit brand websites and create fake scripts in the comment box. If it is not recognized, the malicious code can be executed on the server.
The fallout of such attacks is that the reputation and brand image of the business suffers.
Misconfiguration of security
The hacker takes advantage of the validation vulnerability. Information submitted by a user is cut off by the hacker, who changes it and sends the modified information to the server. Data annotation does not secure a page fully as hackers bypass the validation and send it to the page server.
Uploading malicious files
Apart from protecting the input fields from hackers, one must keep track of the file uploading system. Hackers extend file size by uploading malicious scripts in the form of an image file. Developers need to be careful during file extension.
SQL injection attack
It is one of the most dangerous attacks by hackers. This breach allows a hacker to access the database server. They access valuable information from which malicious activities can be performed, leading to irreparable security issues.
Disclosure of Version
Disclosure of version information allows hackers to plan and smoothen their next action. An HTTP request, when sent by the web browser to a server, an end-user gets a response in header form that contains the following:
- Information on which website framework is the system running
- Information on the version used by ASP.NET MVC
- Information on the specific version used
Broken Authentication and Session Management
Websites applications become vulnerable to hackers when there is no proper authentication and session management. Attackers can steal vital information for the following reasons:
- Credentials not encrypted
- Unsecured connection
- Wrong application logout
- Easy and predictable login details.
While hackers can attack websites in multiple ways, the "Session" is the main problem. Users send a request to the server, and the login page gets loaded. The user validated by the server completes the login to a page using the necessary credentials. In ASP.NET, a cookie gets added to the browser. However, the problem is that the cookie remains even after the user logs out. Hackers use the cookie to execute session attacks. To prevent these developers, use double-check for session and authentication management.
Sensitive Data Exposure
Every website application has a storage system that stores the data. The data stored are password-protected. The data contains sensitive personal and financial information of users. If only passwords are encrypted and other data are not. Hence, it becomes easier for hackers to access these valuable details. The hackers sell personal data on the dark web to third parties like business rivals or other malicious attackers who want to use it in the wrong ways and make monetary gains.
Unvalidated forwards and redirects
All website applications allow users to redirect from one page to another. It may look seemingly harmful but can lead to malicious sites. Therefore, a simple act of redirect also needs validation; otherwise, it will lead to attacks from hackers who use the action of the users to install the malware in the system or indulge in credential stealing.
An example is when users get unsolicited emails offering lucrative deals from online stores. These URLs are redirects. An unsuspecting user may type in his credential into the store website, but nothing happens. In the meantime, the details get transmitted to the hacker.
Nowadays, attacks on websites are common, and one requires highly skilled ASP.NET developers to create high-security codes. Even after the application is built and running, one has to constantly keep an eye to see if any issues crop up, then immediate actions can be taken. Frequent audits by the IT security team can help them determine the root cause of attacks and can be fixed internally, for example, training users to follow 2FA authentications, use strong passwords, avoid malicious websites and suspect email links.
Since Microsoft creates ASP.NET for building web apps and services that run on Windows, Linux, macOS, etc., a tool named AntiForgery Token and made by Microsoft helps identify malicious activity. The MVC model in ASP.NET alerts any imminent danger stop any cross script attack, for example.