The devices that we use in our day-to-day life in a company usually have various tools that increase their security. One of these applications that is widely used is the firewall. Basically and not in a very rigorous but understandable way, what it does is an intermediary filtering the connections that enter and leave from a device, allowing those that are authorized and denying those that are not. Thanks to this tool, a wide variety of cyberattacks can be mitigated, since the firewall will prevent unauthorized connections from being established.
This traffic filtering functionality can be transferred to ecommerce through a WAF or Web Application Firewall, which will act as an intermediary between the connections made by users and the store, thus improving its security. The operation of a WAF is carried out by means of rules that will determine what type of traffic allows access to the store and which will be denied because it is malicious or potentially dangerous or simply unauthorized traffic. By monitoring the traffic that the store receives and analyzing it based on the pre-established rules, the possibility of suffering a security incident will be reduced. WAFs are configurable tools to which rules can be applied to reduce or even eliminate a wide variety of threats such as SQLite, XSS, CSRF, brute force attacks, denials of service, etc. But, in addition, specific rules can be created to avoid problems related to unpatched vulnerabilities or malfunctions until the store developer releases the security update that corrects them.
WAFs can be mainly of three types, differing from each other essentially by the location where the installed instance is located.
- A network WAF:
Is implemented in the company’s own architecture, generally in the same DMZ or demilitarized zone where the web server is located. This type of WAF is the one that offers the best processing capacity but, on the contrary, it is usually the most expensive option since it requires investment in specific hardware and specialized personnel for its administration.
- Host-based WAFs:
They are installed in the same instance as the store’s server and are usually an ideal solution, both for those companies that have their own server and for those that have a virtual private server provided by an Internet service provider. This solution is less expensive than a network based WAF, as it does not require investment in hardware. On the contrary, its main disadvantage is that the consumption of server resources increases when processing both the requests from the firewall itself and from the store. This type of WAF also requires specialized personnel since its implementation and maintenance can be complex. In general, host and network WAFs are time-consuming components,
- Lastly, there is the cloud-based WAF.
As its name indicates, in this modality all the necessary infrastructure is in the cloud, so the investment in company resources is significantly reduced. This type of WAF is offered by multiple cybersecurity service providers, providing a solution that is constantly updated, thus protecting the store against the latest threats. The main disadvantage of this type of WAF is that the administration remains in the hands of the contracted provider and check out mobile app development company, so before opting for this type of services, it is convenient to know what policy it applies and the response times it offers in the event of cybersecurity incidents.
A WAF is an essential tool for ecommerce, and in general for any business critical web application. Its malicious connection filtering and blocking functionality will prevent and reduce the consequences of a wide variety of cyberattacks, making things even more difficult for cybercriminals, while providing a safe and secure environment for customers.