Web Application Security

Website security must be thought about while building every level of the web stack. However, this section includes topics that deserve particular treatment, such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, cross-site request forgery and usage of public-private keypairs.

Security open source projects

  • Bro is a network security and traffic monitor.

  • quick NIX secure script for securing Linux distributions.

  • lynis is a really cool security audit tool that can be run as a shell script on a Linux system to find out its vulnerabilities so that you can fix them instead of allowing them to be exploited by malicious actors.

HTTPS resources

General security resources

Web security learning checklist

  1. Read and understand the major web application security flaws that are commonly exploited by malicious actors. These include cross-site request forgery (CSRF), cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection and session hijacking. The OWASP top 10 web application vulnerabilities list is a great place to get an overview of these topics.

  2. Determine how the framework you've chosen mitigates these vulnerabilities.

  3. Ensure your code implements the mitigation techniques for your framework.

  4. Think like an attacker and actively work to break into your own system. If you do not have enough experience to confidently break the security consider hiring a known white hat attacker. Have her break the application's security, report the easiest vulnerabilities to exploit in your app and help implement protections against those weaknesses.

  5. Recognize that no system is ever totally secure. However, the more popular an application becomes the more attractive a target it is to attackers. Reevaluate your web application security on a frequent basis.

What web development topic do you want to learn about next?

I want to learn more about app users via web analytics.

How do I integrate existing web APIs into my application?

How do I log errors that occur in my application?

Sign up to receive an email twice per month with Python tutorials and major updates to this site.


Matt Makai 2012-2017