Web Application Security

Security of a website, application, network, and even customers is of utmost importance. We should always be concerned about the security of the platform we are operating on. Therefore, website and application owners must keep a check of malicious activities on their platform and reach genuine content only to their visitors.

What is CSP?

Content Security Policy (CSP) is a gate of security for web applications. It restricts content that can be malicious or harmful to visitors. Hence, it can also be defined as a guard for the web applications to filter and deliver only that content that is relative to the application. CSP also blocks attacks like XSS, clickjacking, and injection attacks. These are some of the highly-found attacks that hackers use to delve into a website or application. With the help of CSP directives, one can easily filter the data sources for their web application. With the help of CSP, application owners can define a set of rules for the browser to filter the content for the users to view.

Importance of CSP

Our security is based on Same-Origin Policy (SOP) parameter. It helps to ignore and restrict the content which is outside the origin of the application for the complete safety of the user. But at the same time, web applications also need to be diverse to collect different types of resources, font styles, comment modules, social media buttons, Google Analytics scripts, and many other things. The hackers take advantage of the same and attack in the form of XSS, clickjacking, or injection attacks.

At such times CSP provides a layer of additional security. With the help of standard rules set it filters the content to be delivered to the user. Hence, it lowers the risks of XSS and injection attacks. Anything out of the set parameters is blocked and restricted by CSP to ensure the complete safety of the application. Another advantage of using CSP is you can encrypt communication between the browser and the server to enhance security standards. When you limit the communication channels only with the encrypted ones the communication with the users also secures.

Ensure the Correct use of CSP

Using CSP in the wrong ways can break down your website as well. Therefore, it is advised to use CSP correctly and ensure that visitors are not left alone in a confusing state of manner. Improper use of CSP can cease few parts of the website from functioning. Therefore, to avoid such confusion the ‘Report Only’ directive of CSP acts like a life-saver. The directive helps the browser to log errors to the browser console. The Report Only directive goes through each violation set by CSP and fixes the issues one at a time. This ensures that you get rid of all the issues before you use CSP.

Complete Utilization of CSP

Once you have set up CSP for your website you need to ensure that you have a complete check on its set of rules and it’s working as well. When a website needs to make decisions about its new assets, new tracking tools, or even new ad platforms, one also needs to keep an eye on the role of CSP for it. You need to ensure that your CSP is up-to-date and allow you to add or remove new assets as the website changes.

Valid CSP Headers

Let us have a look at some of the commonly used CSP headers:

  • default-src
  • script-src
  • img-src
  • media-src
  • object-src
  • manifest-src
  • frame-ancestors
  • form-action
  • plugin-types
  • base-uri

Conclusion

The following article is based on CSP and its use for the security of websites and web applications. The article also includes proper ways to use CSP and how it adds a layer of security for the website owner and the user.

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