September 28, 2021

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Best way to protect PII from web application vulnerabilities

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The PII your company stores is highly attractive to would-be attackers who can sell PII on the black market at a handsome price. PII can be used for any number of criminal activities including identity theft, fraud, and social engineering attacks. It goes without saying that it is absolutely vital that individuals and companies protect their PII. Failure to secure PII leaves your company open to highly targeted social engineering attacks, heavy regulatory fines, and loss of customer trust and loyalty.

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Employee education is a relatively straight-forward, yet vital, step in the protection of PII. Your company’s AUP can be an important part of your employee education program. Ensure that every employee at your company has a copy of your AUP and signs a statement acknowledging that they agree to follow all the policies laid out in the document. Employee training sessions based on the correct way to access and store PII are another way to ensure the protection of PII. A thorough employee education policy on PII protection has the added benefit of transferring a sense of ownership onto employees who will feel they have an important role to play in PII protection.

The question refers to Web Application, a means to access/communicate the PII from a computer other than that which stores the PII. You want the communication to be encrypted (i.e. https or other) to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. Storage should be encrypted in case the system/disk is stolen. But, when the system is booted, the PII will be decrypted for access by author/editor/web application. A security token is used to authenticate the person accessing the PII.

Do you work on an app with PII? Protect PII while using powerful analytics. LogRocket is a frontend application monitoring solution that pairs performance monitoring, automatic bug reproduction, and user replay to help you understand how issues affect your users. LogRocket includes a variety of options to ensure PII never leaves your app and you stay compliant. These include an on-premises deployment, automatic sanitization, and the ability to immediately delete user data. Learn more about these privacy controls here. LogRocket works perfectly with any app, regardless of framework, and has plugins to log additional context from Redux, Vuex, and @ngrx/store. LogRocket records console logs, page load times, stacktraces, slow network requests/responses with headers + bodies, browser metadata, and custom logs. Try it for free.

Start by identifying all the PII your company stores or uses. If you are a software vendor, you might have customer bank details and login information you need to protect. Government agencies will store PII like social security numbers, addresses, passport details, and license numbers. Once you have identified all the PII data your company stores, you can start to implement a number of measures to secure this data.

To avoid being one of those websites that have lost data, let’s consider possible attack vectors and how we can guard against them. Keep in mind that like other aspects of security, it only takes one failure point for PII to be lost. The best way to avoid leaking PII is to avoid collecting it in the first place. Nevertheless, collecting some PII is crucial to many websites.

Personally identifiable information (PII) is data which can be used to identify, locate, or contact an individual and includes information like name, date of birth, place of residence, credit card information, phone number, race, gender, criminal record, age, and medical records. Every organization stores and uses PII, be it information on their employees or customers. Even schools and universities will store the PII of their students, while hospitals will store patient data.

If you haven’t done it already, you need to create a data classification policy to sort your PII data based on sensitivity. This is a vital part of PII protection. As you prioritize your PII, you should consider the following factors:

You should delete any older, unnecessary PII to make it inaccessible to any potential attackers. Be sure to delete PII securely, and be diligent about deleting old files from your data backups in case any PII is stored there.

Purpose-built to detect, prioritize, and help remediate application vulnerabilities at any layer, Rapid7’s InsightAppSec can help to address all 10 of these top web application vulnerabilities. It can spot injections and improper configurations, integrate logging, monitoring, and incident response, and detect suspicious user activity. Created with the modern, multi-layer application in mind, it can also detect vulnerabilities that have persisted over time.

This vulnerability has moved up in the list due to an increase in personally identifiable information (PII) compromises from improper encryption and the valuable nature of the data. According to OWASP, many web applications and APIs don’t properly protect sensitive data like PII or financials, which leads to incidents such as credit card fraud and identity theft.

You need to consider all three data states as you develop your PII protection plan. Thinking about your company’s data in all of its different states will help you determine where the PII lives, how it is used, and the various systems you need to protect.

Application diagnostics allows you to capture information produced by a web application. ASP.NET applications can use the System.Diagnostics.Trace class to log information to the application diagnostics log. In Application Diagnostics, there are two major types of events, those related to application performance and those related to application failures and errors. The failures and errors can be divided further into connectivity, security, and failure issues. Failure issues are typically related to a problem with the application code.

https://cuit.columbia.edu/handling-pii quote from the site which they mention in the answer According to Columbia University policy, any sensitive data, such as PII, that must remain on University workstations should be encrypted with 256-bit encryption (at minimum). Policy also requires that any files containing sensitive or confidential information must be encrypted and password protected before being transferred to another party via email or any file transfer method.

https://cuit.columbia.edu/handling-pii quote from the site which they mention in the answer According to Columbia University policy, any sensitive data, such as PII, that must remain on University workstations should be encrypted with 256-bit encryption (at minimum). Policy also requires that any files containing sensitive or confidential information must be encrypted and password protected before being transferred to another party via email or any file transfer method. then the answer should be B

Many websites collect and store personally identifiable information (PII) in their normal course of business, and unfortunately, there are numerous ways that collected PII can be compromised. When this happens, the website’s users are exposed to personal risks, the website’s reputation is damaged, and the site owners can face serious legal and financial consequences.

When you integrate third-party services, it’s important to be aware of the data that you are sending them. If you send it indiscriminately, you are bound to send PII at some point. Google Analytics has a list of suggestions for avoiding sending PII.

Along the same line of thinking as not collecting PII in the first place, you should also avoid retaining PII beyond how long you actually need it. If it no longer provides value, then it can actually be a net negative to keep it because you maintain the risk of it being stolen. You can reduce your exposure by regularly pruning data.

Some of the most common web application vulnerabilities tend to be the most exploited because they are difficult to spot, often overlooked by security teams and sought after by attackers. Another reason these vulnerabilities manifest in production environments is because they were never detected while the application was being written, indicating that security wasn’t baked into the development process. Without visibility, security is in the dark and these issues are only detected after the fact—or when an attacker or user finds them.

Highlights

• A comprehensive overview of existing security vulnerabilities.

• Critical analysis of the state-of-the-art mitigation techniques and their pros and cons. •Analysis of new cyber attack patterns in emerging technologies.

• Potential future research directions in cyber security. Abstract The exponential growth of the Internet interconnections has led to a significant growth of cyber attack incidents often with disastrous and grievous consequences. Malware is the primary choice of weapon to carry out malicious intents in the cyberspace, either by exploitation into existing vulnerabilities or utilization of unique characteristics of emerging technologies. The development of more innovative and effective malware defense mechanisms has been regarded as an urgent requirement in the cybersecurity community.

To assist in achieving this goal, we first present an overview of the most exploited vulnerabilities in existing hardware, software, and network layers. This is followed by critiques of existing state-of-the-art mitigation techniques as why they do or don’t work. We then discuss new attack patterns in emerging technologies such as social media, cloud computing, smartphone technology, and critical infrastructure. Finally, we describe our speculative observations on future research directions.

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