WAFs protect web applications and APIs by assessing traffic against pre-defined patterns. They can stop attacks like cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks at the application layer, according to TrustRadius.
Network firewalls, on the other hand, work at the network and transport layers of the OSI model. They focus on blocking data packets and preventing breaches and performance degradation.
A WAF monitors, filters, and blocks Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) data packets that travel to and from a web application. Depending on the solution, it may be network-based or host-based and run as software, an appliance device, or a cloud service. It is deployed via reverse proxy before a web application or website to screen out potentially harmful traffic that can facilitate web exploits.
Its rule base analyzes Layer 7 web application logic to identify and block threats such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), CSRF, cookie poisoning, and DDoS attacks. It protects against these vulnerabilities without working with the original application code.
It’s essential to understand the difference between WAF vs firewall and how it gives security. While a firewall safeguards the computer network on the transport and application layers, a WAF works at the application layer to prevent cyber threats from accessing a company’s critical data over HTTP or TCP connections.
This makes it an excellent complement to an IPS, IDS, and classic or next-generation firewall, which work at the network and transport levels.
A WAF can use a blacklisting approach that denies all known attacks or a whitelisting process that admits only traffic pre-approved by the device. A hybrid system can also be used that blends the two methodologies to decrease false positives and negatives.
Some WAFs can perform behavioral analysis of traffic patterns with the help of artificial intelligence, allowing them to spot new and unknown attacks that an attack signature database cannot identify.
While a WAF can help prevent a wide variety of cyber threats, it has limitations. For example, it may not contain all types of DDoS attacks, or it might block some legitimate visitors to a website. This can affect user experience, leading to loss of revenue and customer satisfaction.
In addition to blocking these attacks, a WAF can identify and manage other vulnerabilities. For instance, if it detects a SQL injection attack, it will check for common patterns and prevent the injection from executing on the server.
It can also monitor web traffic and detect bots using cookies. It can then use this information to create a virtual fingerprint of the bot to filter out malicious requests.
A good WAF solution is not only robust but also highly scalable. It should be able to handle high traffic volumes and provide low latency. Moreover, it should be able to integrate with other security tools, such as RASP, for a complete threat prevention solution.
A WAF can be quite expensive, but it is an investment that pays off in the long run. The security of your business-critical web applications is too important to leave to chance. If a WAF fails to protect your web application from cyberattacks, it can result in data leakage, lost customers, legal action, and even bankruptcy.
A WAF can be software, an appliance, or a service that analyzes HTTP conversations to identify and block threats. WAFs protect against various attacks, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), CSRF, and cookie poisoning. They can also help mitigate DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks.
To reduce the risk of blocking legitimate traffic, a WAF uses multiple techniques, such as known attack signatures, application profiling, AI analysis, and custom rules. These can be combined to provide maximum protection against emerging threats.
A WAF can be used with other security technologies, such as RASP, to counter this challenge. This enables them to protect against all attacks, including those without established signatures or rules.
See how the Indusface managed services team patched a Spring Framework vulnerability using this approach in this video. A deployment can detect this RCE vulnerability within 24 hours of being reported and automatically generate a policy to prevent the attack.
Unlike firewalls operating at the network layer and protecting against many types of traffic, WAFs focus on web applications and APIs. This makes them an important tool for businesses that rely on their website to offer products, services and engage customers via the Internet.
WAFs analyze HTTP conversations and reduce or block malicious activity before it reaches servers for processing. They also prevent data leakage by masking responses that include sensitive information, such as credit card numbers.
A WAF can be software, an appliance, or a service. It uses a set of rules or policies to determine whether a specific HTTP conversation is malicious. These rules can be provided out of the box by the WAF vendor or customized by the organization deploying them.
The problem with rule-based WAFs is that they require high maintenance. They often need to be updated frequently to address new vulnerabilities.
Some WAFs use a behavioral baseline approach to detect abnormal traffic patterns that signal an attack. Other WAFs leverage artificial intelligence to learn and apply security policies automatically in real-time.
In addition, some WAFs integrate with content delivery networks (CDNs) to provide fast, scalable performance. This can minimize latency and eliminate the need for costly hardware. Some WAFs offer a cloud-based option to reduce infrastructure costs and support business continuity.