Cybersecurity Essentials for Web and App Developers

Published on:
January 26, 2024

Technology and web development  are always evolving. Along with it, cybercriminals have honed their skills in developing new and sophisticated attack tactics. Web developers must understand how these assaults operate to remedy any flaws in their programming. 

Hackers will always discover a new technique to infiltrate the system, no matter how effectively you construct a website. As Roger Spitz puts it, “The need for epistemic security & cybersecurity is now comparable to that of national security.”

The goal of web and mobile app development is to produce a user-friendly and accessible platform that matches its users' demands. However, the platform's security and the safety of users' data should be major priorities. 

Cybersecurity breaches can harm a company's reputation, as well as the loss of sensitive data and financial losses. That's why cybersecurity systems are vital in today’s digital landscape. And in this MarsDevs blog, we are here to tell you all about it. 

Grasping the Cybersecurity Landscape

Grasping the Cybersecurity Landscape

Cybersecurity has increased by 600% and will cost corporations $10.5 trillion by 2025. And these aren't the only numbers to be concerned about. With cybersecurity becoming more severe, fully secure website solutions have never been as critical as now.

To a certain extent, the need for security speaks for itself: more firms than ever before are processing massive volumes of sensitive data over their networks. That information must be safeguarded. 

Navigating the Shifting Sands of Online Threats, Alex Bekker says, “There isn’t a reliable way to produce secure code, so firms rely on a multi-layered model to remain safe, which starts with creating security in mind. Failing to accomplish dramatically increases the chance of a security breach & the significant damage it poses to the organization's brand & revenue.”

So, why should developers care about cybersecurity? For too many reasons:

As a web developer, you must know all online risks to prevent them or respond quickly. Certain hazards are relatively widespread, but some are newer and more sophisticated. To remain ahead of the game and safeguard your websites and applications, educate yourself on all current dangers to be ready for anything.

The most important aspect to remember is that no code is impenetrable to attacks. Hackers will eventually discover a way past any coding, security measures, firewalls, and other safeguards and infiltrate your app. As a result, you must be rigorous in continually checking your work, looking for new dangers, and being prepared to pivot to meet demand.

The Art of Writing Secure Code

When dealing with cyber risks for web and mobile applications, the largest hurdle for developers has always been coding. Attackers generally find it simple to compromise an app if its code has faults and vulnerabilities. An app is 50% less vulnerable to cyber assaults when the code is clean, safe & secure.

The solution? By learning the art of secure code. 

Writing secure code is an art as much as writing functional code, and it is the only way to generate high-quality code. It necessitates following best practices, considering code quality, and avoiding typical errors that can lead to inefficiencies, defects, and difficulty maintaining the codebase. 

First, you must understand and sidestep the common coding pitfalls.

  1. Insufficient Planning and Design

One of the most frequent mistakes is coding without sufficient planning and design. A cluttered and confusing codebase might emerge from failing to specify clear objectives, requirements, and architecture. Before writing a single line of code, spend time analyzing the problem, developing a strong plan, and defining the structure of your application.

  1.  Ignoring Code Readability

Code that is difficult to digest and understand is a major flaw. Use sensible variable and function names, and adhere to recognized coding practices to avoid large and confusing functions or procedures. Prioritize code readability to improve maintainability, foster cooperation, and simplify future debugging and extension.

  1. Lack of Testing and Validation

Skipping testing and validation is a serious mistake that can lead to the delivery of broken or unreliable software. Implement extensive testing methodologies, including unit, integration, and system tests, to ensure your application is correct and functional. To ensure code quality, incorporate test-driven development (TDD) approaches from the outset.

  1. Not Considering Security Vulnerabilities

Overlooking security concerns is a dangerous trap. When developing a program, always emphasize security. Use safe coding techniques, sanitize user input, defend against common vulnerabilities (such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting), and adhere to security best practices for authentication and data protection.

Above all, every developer should emphasize code security. Obfuscate and minify your code to prevent hackers from rewriting it. It is required to test frequently and to respond immediately when an issue is detected. The best secure code is easily updateable and patchable. It highlights the significance of code agility.

Guarding the Gates: Authentication and Authorization

In the words of Renaud Deraison, "As cyber threats continue to plague businesses, this structure is now at a crossroads, and enterprises need to shift how they are handling cyber risk."

That’s where authentication enters: welcoming users securely! 

Website authentication is a security procedure that allows users to confirm their identities to obtain access to their accounts on a website. This procedure occurs behind the scenes whenever a person registers into an online account, such as social networking profiles, eCommerce sites, rewards programs, online banking accounts, etc.

Website authentication techniques frequently entail the development of an ID and key. When a person establishes a new account on a website, they create a unique ID and key that will be used in the future to verify their identity and let them back into the account. That ID and key are then saved on a highly secure web server to be compared against subsequent credentials.

The user is the only one with access to their ID and key, guaranteeing they are the only one who can access the account. IDs and keys can come in various forms and sizes, resulting in login processes that range from "basically vulnerable to an attack" to "completely safe and secure."

True passwordless authentication has extended the options available to enterprises looking for safe yet user-friendly authentication systems. This authentication process helps organizations safeguard sensitive information and gain the confidence of their consumers by providing a secure digital environment.

Shielding Data with Encryption

Then comes encryption - a quick way to lock down your data and protect it. Encryption, when used correctly, is a critical safeguard for sensitive data. It is required for any data sent over public networks. 

Only specific, strong key derivation functions should be utilized to save passwords in the application. Specialized solutions aim to make offline password cracking as difficult as possible without jeopardizing the application's performance too much.

Cybersecurity experts advocate employing encryption for data at rest. If properly done, with encryption key management in place, such a method can reduce the effect of some data breaches, such as stealing or extracting an entire database.

APIs: The Vulnerability Nexus

Thanks to the explosive development of microservices and the push to build more apps faster, APIs are being utilized more than ever to link services and move data. However, with a rising number of smaller application "pieces" attempting to connect, APIs (both your own and those provided by third parties) are becoming increasingly difficult to protect.

With the pressure on developers to create more, you opened the way for a security disaster. The most serious API security threats are broken object level, user & function-level authorization, excessive data exposure, a lack of resources, security misconfiguration, and insufficient logging and monitoring. So, how do you get your API security house in order? 

Access control for authentication and permission is one of the most critical parts of API security. OAuth is a strong tool for managing API access since it is a token-based authorization system that allows third-party services to access information without disclosing user credentials. Apart from that, excellent API security best practices include the usage of tokens, encryption, API gateways, and service mesh technologies. 

Testing the Waters: Vulnerability Assessment

Testing the Waters: Vulnerability Assessment

Josh Feinblum says, "Security practitioners must find creative ways to help developers whenever possible," one such process is vulnerability testing. 

In cybersecurity, vulnerability assessment refers to detecting risks and vulnerabilities in the IT ecosystem's computer networks, systems, hardware, applications, and other components. Vulnerability assessments inform security teams and other stakeholders, allowing them to analyze and prioritize risks for future repair in the appropriate context.

Vulnerability assessments enable security teams to consistently, thoroughly, and unambiguously discover and resolve security threats and hazards. It offers various advantages for a company:

  • Early and consistent detection of IT security threats and vulnerabilities.
  • Actions to plug any gaps and protect important systems and information.
  • Meet the cybersecurity compliance and regulatory standards of HIPAA and PCI DSS.
  • Avoid data leaks and other illegal access.

Each threat is assigned a risk in most vulnerability assessments. These risks can be assigned a priority, urgency, and impact, making it easy to focus on those that could cause the most problems for a business. It is a vital component of vulnerability management, given that your IT security team will have limited time and resources and must prioritize areas that might harm your firm most.

When Trouble Strikes: Incident Response and Beyond

"For far too long, security and development teams have been separated by different languages, tools, working styles, and how they communicate," says CTO & co-founder of Illumio PJ Kirner. "Teams should look for ways to bridge the gap to enable better collaboration and improve efficiencies.”

Despite all of your efforts, a breach is still possible. There is no such thing as "complete security." It's preferable to be prepared in case this happens. Prepare a crisis response cybersecurity team, and make sure you have an updated general web application security checklist with asset listings, business functions, owners, and recovery methods.

Establish internal and external communication and assign employees to work with law enforcement and regulatory agencies. With the likelihood of several web app attacks, you must be prepared and have a great security policy to prevent these risks from severely affecting your organization and its online apps.

However, by implementing some of these important security measures for your web application, you can protect your web app and its clients from the bulk of assaults.

Need help with cybersecurity measures? Let MarsDevs help you. Reach out to us today!


  1. Can web developers work in cyber security?

Programming, networking, database administration, and web design are all beneficial skills in both areas. However, you must evaluate the tools, frameworks, and languages you are accustomed to and how they relate to cybersecurity.

  1. Should web developers learn cyber security?

In a world where technology and cyber dangers always evolve, teamwork and understanding web development and cybersecurity are critical for producing safe, dependable, and user-centered online solutions.

  1. Cybersecurity in web development - Why it’s required?

Cybersecurity is a complicated and ever-changing topic, but it is critical for every online business. By taking the required precautions to safeguard your website and your user's data, you can help lessen the risks of cyberattacks and develop trust with your consumers.

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