What is a Web Application Firewall (WAF)?

Cyberattacks are inevitable. Every web application or website is prone to cyberattacks that can be carried out through a wide range of techniques. Ever wondered what makes web applications safe from such malicious attacks? What mechanism is used to ensure that no unauthorised access can be granted to such malicious entities? Here is a quick overview of Web Application Firewall (WAF) and its types:

Introduction to WAF

Web Application Firewall (WAF) is the mechanism to monitor, filter, and block data packets between internet and web applications. This prevents malicious data from travelling to web applications and also blocks the leakage of data from web applications. WAF controls malicious data and unauthorised access to website data all at once. ‘

WAF is implemented through policies and these policies can easily be customised in accordance with the needs of your web application. There is always some new vulnerability to address, as hackers are always active to exploit loopholes. These policies are updated often by cloud providers, so no effort on your part to ensure that all kinds of new vulnerabilities can be tackled efficiently.

Which Cyberattacks can be Prevented Using WAF?

Hackers are always active in devising new data exploitation techniques. WAF is quite effective if carried out properly. WAF can be used to prevent these types of cyberattacks:

  • Zero-day Exploits
  • Malware Infections
  • Impersonation 
  • SQL Injection
  • File Inclusion
  • Various other threats

Types of WAF

The efficiency of WAF is primarily dependent on its implementation. There are three different ways through which WAF can be implemented to protect web applications.

Network-based WAF

Network-based WAF comprises a hardware that acts as a WAF to minimise the speed at which packets transfer between internet and web application. This type of WAF is quite expensive simply because of surging costs of hardware installation and maintenance. 

Host-based WAF

Host-based WAF involves the implementation of WAP into web application software and consumes resources of local servers. This implementation within web applications makes it easier for administrators to make customisations. But this WAF comes with a downside of implementation complexity where you need a skilled workforce to implement this kind of WAF. 

Cloud-based WAF

Cloud-based WAF is an economical and easy-to-implement type of WAF where you only need to pay for the WAF server and redirect all the traffic to WAF first. All you have to do is to change the DNS to redirect the traffic to WAF running on the cloud. 

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