Web Application Firewall (WAFs) protect web applications as well as websites from wide array of intrusions and attacks. WAFs generally come into play when the network firewall of a system couldn’t successfully stop certain intrusions or attacks.

On the basis of the Web Application Firewall that your security team chooses, it protects against a wide range of attacks such as –

  • Buffer overflows
  • Session hijacking
  • SQL injection
  • XSS attacks

WAFs become a necessity when your business website/app processes payments. This is the necessary standard for complying with PCI-DSS. Even if your website or app doesn’t process payments, Web Application Firewall can come handy. This is because it protects against fraud. It also prevents malicious entities from tampering with an app or website, no matter whether it has a payment processor or not.

What are the Available Deployment Options?

One of the most popular WAFs is the inline WAF or active appliances, whatever you want to call it. These in-line WAFs are generally placed directly on the path of traffic. Their placement is done between the web application server and the person or system requesting the information (also called requestor).

One of the main benefits of having Web Application Firewalls is that you can use it for stopping a live attack. However, there is an aspect of disadvantage too. With the use of in-line Web Application Firewalls you can also block legitimate traffic.

Another option is also available to users. This is known as passive WAFs or tap/span WAFs. They are not placed at the direct path of the traffic. They are placed outside the traffic path so that from a tap/span port the traffic can be monitored. However, it must be kept in mind that the passive Web Application Firewalls are not able to block attacks. They can best be used for communicating with other systems (like the network firewall) for blocking traffic.

Currently, the most popular form is the environment of hybrid infrastructure. The most suitable Web Application Firewall for you is the one that protects both on site and on cloud servers. In that case, a cloud-based WAF is most suitable. In fact a Web Application Firewall that helps you in using an API to monitor VM Hosting can also be considered.

What is the Rate of Availability?

Latency or in-line WAFs should be considered if the rate of availability for an app or a website is high. The way the SSL traffic is processed by the WAF also determines whether the traffic is slowed down or not. Web Application Firewalls can process HTTP data if the traffic is decrypted. Handling of this task is done in a different manner when it comes to WAFs. This is handled by WAFs in a completely different way. SSL computation can be offloaded by some people so that they can dedicate the Central Processing Unit to other tasks. There are many others who prefer hardware-based SSL acceleration. It must be kept in mind that Web Application Firewalls should not become a single failure point. Now, two questions arise:

  • Is it possible to configure multiple nodes of Web Application Firewall?
  • How many nodes can be configured?

Can Detention Techniques be Used?

A combination of multiple detection techniques are employed by most Web Application Firewalls. It is said that more the number of options available, the better. To build customized detection, multiple detection techniques are used including APIs, signature matching, and normalization. Behavioral analysis can also be done by some WAFs. When you start using them, they start learning the normal patterns of traffic to your app or website. In case there is any anomaly, different from the normal traffic patterns, the WAFs are able to detect them.

Therefore, suspicious traffic can be easily detected by using these kinds of Web Application Firewalls. This kinds of detection can be done regardless of the updates concerning signatures and rules. When you evaluate WAFs, it is important to ask potential vendors of supplying you with results of 3rd party tests as well as false positives-to-negative-rates proof. To detect features of how successful the Web Application Firewalls are working, this is a great way. This gives a quantitative method to compare multiple WAF products’ effectiveness.

How to take Protection?

WAFs (Web Application Firewalls) are successful in blocking traffic in many ways. Your website’s or app’s security has some special requirements. You must investigate the available options so that you can confirm whether your website’s or application’s security needs are met successfully. There are multiple aspects that you can check and they are –

  • Intermediation of Connection – On the Web Application Firewall, interception of traffic and termination of network protocol connections takes place.
  • Interruption of Connection – On the WAF, interception of traffic takes place. However, termination of network protocol connections doesn’t happen.
  • Resetting of Connection - On the WAF, interception of traffic takes place and consequently resetting of relevant TCP connections also happen.
  • When come suspicious traffic is confronted, the Web Application Firewall alerts other devices.

How compatible is it?

When cyber attacks take place, your Web Application Firewall may require to rely on other routers or firewalls for providing adequate protection. The entire aspect depends upon the choice of WAF. Therefore, it is best for you to choose a WAF that has enough compatibility with other networking equipment. Many users want their WAF to establish communication with other systems over a network of dedicated management. This will ensure that monitoring activity of the network administrators become easier.

How should be the Support System?

The support team of a Web Application Firewall provider must be able to make a decision on the process. This will completely depend upon the security operations team one is having. The most preferred aspect is that you have a security team that monitors your network round the clock. In case you don’t have one, you can opt for a vendor that provides you with a Security Operations Center or SOC that provides round the clock service throughout the year.