The Web Application Firewall (WAF) has the function of protecting web applications from various attacks at the application level such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection and cookie poisoning etc. In fact, app attacks are the main cause of breach: just think that apps are the gateway to your precious data. With the right WAF in place, you can block all attacks that aim to exfiltrate that data by compromising your systems.
Why do you need a WAF?
Threats on the internet are now commonplace and unfortunately they are evolving in parallel with technology. It therefore becomes essential to have a tool that can protect users and their data.
Network and local firewalls alone can no longer prevent hackers from entering your website. Therefore, having an effective Web Application Firewall (WAF) offers companies and website owners complete peace of mind.
Another important aspect of having a WAF on your website is the time it will save you in the long run. Once you have successfully set up a WAF on your website, you will no longer waste precious time thinking about how to protect it. So a substantial tool to have on your site, especially if Ecommerce.
How does a web application firewall (WAF) work?
A WAF protects web apps by filtering, monitoring and blocking any malicious HTTP / S traffic traveling to the web application and prevents unauthorized data from leaving the app. It does this by adhering to a set of criteria that help determine which traffic is malicious and which traffic is safe. Just like a proxy server acts as an intermediary to protect a client’s identity, a WAF works in a similar but reversed way, called a reverse proxy, acting as an intermediary that protects the web application server from a potentially malicious client.
WAFs can come in the form of software, appliance, or delivered as a service. Policies can be customized to meet the specific needs of the web application or set of web applications. Although many WAFs require you to regularly update your policies to address new vulnerabilities, advances in machine learning allow some WAFs to automatically update. This automation is becoming increasingly critical as the threat landscape continues to grow in complexity and ambiguity.
What is the difference between WAF – IPS – NGFW?
There are major differences between a web application firewall (WAF), an intrusion prevention system (IPS) and a next generation firewall (NGFW).
An IPS is an intrusion prevention system, a WAF is a web application firewall, and an NGFW is a next-generation firewall. But what are the differences between all of them?
An IPS is a more targeted security product. It is typically based on signatures and policies, which means it can check for known vulnerabilities and attack vectors against a database of established signatures and policies. The IPS sets a standard based on the database and criteria, and then sends alerts when traffic deviates from the standard. In general, IPS secures traffic across a range of protocol types such as DNS, SMTP, TELNET, RDP, SSH, and FTP. IPS typically operates and protects levels 3 and 4.
A web application firewall ( WAF ) protects the application layer and is specifically designed to parse every HTTP / S request at the application layer .
You can think of a WAF as an intermediary between the user and the app itself, which analyzes all communications before they reach the app or the user. Traditional WAFs ensure that only permitted actions (based on security criteria) can be performed. For many organizations, WAFs are a reliable first line of defense for applications.
A Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) monitors outbound traffic on the Internet, between websites, email accounts, and SaaS. Simply put, it protects the user (compared to the web application). An NGFW will enforce user-based policies and add context to security policies as well as add features such as URL filtering, antivirus / antimalware, and potentially their own intrusion prevention systems (IPS). Although a WAF is typically a reverse proxy (used by servers), NGFWs are often forward proxies (used by clients such as a browser).
What is the difference between WAF on network, host and cloud?
A WAF can be implemented in several ways – it all depends on where your applications are deployed, what services you need, how you want to manage it, and the level of flexibility and architectural performance you require. Do you want to manage it yourself or do you want to outsource this management? Is it a better model to have a cloud-based option or do you want your WAF to reside locally? Your options are listed below.
WAF on host
This WAF can be integrated into an application software and allows for different customizations. If we want to find a disadvantage, we can identify it in the fact that this type of WAF consumes a lot of local server resources. Last but not least, the costs related to maintenance and not very easy implementation are certainly to be considered.
WAF over the network
This is the most expensive option that also requires some maintenance. However, being installed locally, it has the advantage of significantly reducing latency.
WAF on the cloud
They are a fairly affordable and easy to implement solution. Generally, users pay a monthly or annual fee, which is not too expensive and can use the service in complete peace of mind. This type of WAF also has the advantage of always being up to date and thus protecting in an even more effective way.
As you have seen, the WAF is an absolutely necessary tool for safeguarding the security of the data of the users of your site. There are several possibilities related to this aspect and you can choose the best condition that can best suit your needs.
If you need advice in this regard, contact us and we will be happy to find the best solution for you.