Top 10 Disastrous Application Level Attacks

Security measures and techniques are overridden and made obsolete by attackers who innovate new forms of attacks every now and then, making it hard to detect and defend these attacks. However, the fight lingers as security of data is of utmost importance to any individual or organization.

In this digital age, internet users are plagued by the most disastrous type of cyber-attacks, which are the application level attacks or level 7 attacks. The applications that are used by us on a day to day basis, requires them to communicate through the API (Application Program Interface) with other applications, and the information shared at the application layer makes it a target for attackers. The attacks happening at this level are the most dangerous because the application layer is the most vulnerable layer and is the hardest to defend.

The list of application level attacks is updated quite often to spread the knowledge about them through industry logs and reports from top firms that specialize in security. Let us look at the top attacks at the application level.


1. Injection

Applications that use user inputs at the backend databases are vulnerable to this sort of attack. Injection happens when a set of corrupt code is injected as a request or command. The most common form of this attack is the SQLi among others such as OS, XXE and LADP.

SQLi injections are malformed codes that make their way to the database server, where it gets access to information.

2. Broken Authentication


These types of attacks manipulate weak authentications and session security measures. This is the second most common form of security attack. One way of gaining access is to gain login information through discreet means. Alternatively, the attacker disguises as a user to get this information.

3. Cross Site Scripting or XSS


Attackers utilize commonly used data scripts that they insert at client-faced website pages. These scripts trick the browser to allow an untrusted source to put data on the websites, after which they redirect or deviate the site users to another website that steals credentials.

This form of attack is most serious as it can compromise credentials of loads of users. Known forms of XSS attacks are Stored XSS , DOM based XSS, and Reflected XSS.

4. Security Misconfiguration

This attack happens for lack of strong configuration of an application. The database, servers, custom codes and more should be configured in the most secure manner. The secure configuration should be implemented and regularly updated. Failure to do so leads to security loopholes that can easily be taken advantage of.

5. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

Third party components such as libraries and frameworks, must be used with caution or should be avoided to prevent this type of attacks as they may have known and publicized vulnerabilities. Malicious users can leverage these vulnerabilities to use it at their own whims, causing serious damage to the application. Loss of data can affect the whole organization.

6. Broken Access Control

User access control is most important because of attacks such as broken access control. Users are distinguished according to the amount of access that is allowed to them. Proper access control and solid authorization lets the app know what information to reveal and to which users.

These sorts of attack can be taken by avoiding scattered authorization codes and incomplete rules placed by the developers in the app.

7. Sensitive Data Exposure

Sensitive Data Exposure happens when security controls are not properly established. Websites hold sensitive information of users such as their banking credentials and personal information which should be guarded. Such an exposure can tarnish the image of an organization.

8. Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

Logging and monitoring should be regularly performed in sites. Inefficient integration with incident response is also responsible for attackers to misuse a system. Left unmonitored, attacks can misuse and tamper sensitive data.

9. XML External Entities (XXE)

This type of attack happens against applications that parses XMI input. A weakly configured parser is the cause of this attack. DoS attacks, server side request forgery and other implications are part of this attack.

10. Insecure Deserialization

Deserialization is described as: “The process of turning some object into a data format that can be restored later. People often serialize objects in order to save them to storage, or to send as part of communications. Deserialization is the reverse of that process – taking data structured from some format, and rebuilding it into an object.”

Deserialization, when compromised can lead to remote code execution, replay attacks, injection and privileged escalation attacks.


The vastness and ultra-adaptive attacks on security can be overwhelming. It is in this case that a secure API and a trusted source to build your applications and programs become useful. MSPs (such as DataQuest) are constantly updated regarding security threat management and are efficient at providing security, API consultation and other services.

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