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What Are Application Security Risks? (Definition, Consequences, Prevention, And Best Practices)

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It’s not enough to have a great product idea and weave up an app for it.

You must secure your app users against cyber security risks and threats.

That’s why you need this guide.

In this article, we’ll show you some common application security risks and how to prevent them.

Let’s dive in.

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What are product security risks?

Product security risks are loopholes that make your applications vulnerable. 

They are like holes in your armour that your enemies can force a knife or an arrow through.

These risks can cost you a lot. And they can damage your reputation if not handled properly.

So you must get proactive and manage the type of security risks that may be peculiar to your application.

Common types of web application risks and attacks

Application security risks lurk around every corner. But how do you spot them?

Here are the top 10 types of application security threats you must be aware of:

  • Unauthorised access: This is very common. It occurs when a user sneaks into your system without your permission.
  • Data breaches: Sensitive data getting stolen or exposed to unauthorised people.
  • Malware and viruses: Malicious software can mess up or hijack your system.
  • DDoS attacks: Attacks that aim to bring down your websites or networks.
  • Insider threats: When employees or contractors use your system for shady activities.
  • SQL injections: When hackers inject nasty SQL statements into your web application.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): When attackers inject malicious scripts into public web pages.
  • Phishing attacks: When hackers trick users into giving up sensitive info. Like passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: When someone intercepts communications to steal or mess with data.
  • Zero-day attacks: When hackers exploit flaws that the software vendor is unaware of.

These security threats are common today. They are also dangerous. And if successful, they can cause great damage. 

“How bad can it get?” you ask.

To find out, let’s examine a case study: Equifax’s 2017 data breach.

Impact of application security risks

Equifax is a popular credit report agency located in Georgia, USA. They’re one of the powerhouses of credit reports worldwide.

But in 2016, something terrible happened.

Cybercriminals hacked Equifax.

The hackers compromised the personal information of over 143 million users. It was massive, and the impact was serious. 

Like Equifax, here are some of the consequences you might face if you don’t protect your apps:

  • Financial losses: The security breaches led to costly damages and lawsuits. These can cause massive financial losses.
  • Reputational damage: The security breach damaged Equifax’s reputation.
  • Legal and penalties: The data breach resulted in legal and regulatory penalties.
  • Business disruption: Those application attacks caused downtime and disruption to business operations.

Equifax’s reputation went downhill faster than a rollercoaster. 

Customers lost confidence in them like in a bad breakup.

That was Equifax’s story – a modern-day example for the cybersecurity world.

But then, what was Equifax’s loophole?

It was as if they’d left the front door unlocked with a sign saying, “Hackers Welcome!”

Equifax was using Apache Struts for their web application.

Around March 7, 2017, Apache recommended an update to their Apache Struts software.

All Equifax needed to do was upgrade the software, which they didn’t. This created a loophole.

Hackers traced this loophole and got in. Gaining full access to Equifax’s users’ data.

It became one of the biggest data breaches ever.

This was all because they failed to treat application security risks with a sense of urgency.

Now, away from Equifax. Let’s come back to you and your business.

“Are there loopholes in my software?” You wonder.

“And where do these web application threats come from?”

It’s like trying to solve a mystery. 

So, let’s solve it.

You can also read our guide on 5 SaaS security best practices to secure your SaaS application

Where do security threats come from?

Hackers are the villains of the cybersecurity world. They’re always on the lookout for software vulnerabilities to exploit. 

They use different tricks to get access to your systems. These tricks include phishing, malware, and social engineering.

The nerve, right?

But wait a minute, the real danger might also come from within. There are different causes of application security risks.

To help you, below are 5 main sources of application security risks and how to tackle them.

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1. Employees or stakeholders with access to sensitive data

Imagine your company is like a bank. 

You’ve got all this treasure (sensitive data) locked up tight in your vault (web application).

You’ve got your guards at the door (software security measures).

And your alarm system is ready to go off at the slightest hint of danger.

But then, one day, you realise that one of your guards is a double agent!

And he’s got the key to the vault (access to sensitive data) right in his pocket.

That’s right.

Your employees and stakeholders can be accomplices to cyber threats. 

Maybe they’re just trying to do their job. But then, they accidentally leave the back door open (ignoring proper security protocols).

Or maybe they’re just having a bad day and end up clicking on that phishing email.

Either way, the danger is real.

You never know when someone might slip up. And all of a sudden, your treasure is vulnerable to attack.

Hence, you must educate your employees on proper security protocols.

You don’t want your employees to become your Achilles heel.

2. Software bugs and errors

Software bugs are notorious for helping hackers get into your system. So, be wary of software updates.

It’s wise to use a multi-faceted approach that combines various security measures.

It’s not enough to use only one method to protect your software.

A combination of firewalls, anti-virus software, and employee training will be useful.

Now, wait, that’s not all. 

You must also keep a watchful eye on your network traffic. Monitor incoming and outgoing activity.

This will help you recognise any suspicious behaviour. 

After all, there’s no such thing as being too paranoid in cybersecurity.

3. Insufficient testing

Test your apps thoroughly.

If not, you might miss vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.

It’s like leaving your front door unlocked and hoping no one will notice.

Spoiler alert: someone will notice. And they’ll take advantage of it.

So, test early and test often.

Find those vulnerabilities before the bad guys do, and fix them ASAP.

4. Inadequate security measures

Imagine you’re a castle lord.

And your job is to protect your castle (your app) from the enemy (cyber criminals). You’ve got your moat, drawbridge, walls, and archers. They’re all set up and ready to defend your castle.

But then, something happens.

One day, you realise that your archers are using rubber arrows (inadequate security measures).


You might as well be shooting marshmallows at the enemy.

Inadequate security measures are major sources of application security risks.

It’s like having a lock on your front door that anyone can unlock with a toothpick.

It just doesn’t cut it.

So, set up proper security measures to keep your apps safe.


Use up-to-date software and encrypt any sensitive data. Also, use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.

Don’t be the castle lord with the rubber arrows. Upgrade your security measures, and keep those villains at bay.

See the top bulk SMS service providers to send reliable SMS notifications. Check out the top OTP service providers to send fast and secure OTPs.

5. Third-party components 

Imagine you’re cooking a fancy dinner for your friends (stay with me, this will make sense).

So you decide to use some spices you bought from a “trusted” seller.

You assume they’re safe because they came from someone you know.

Little did you know that some spices have expired and are crawling with bacteria.

And others have low-quality ingredients.

Your dinner starts to taste strange. Next thing, your friends start to feel sick. In the end, you feel embarrassed and disappointed.

Likewise, third-party components can be sources of application security risks.

Just because it looks safe doesn’t mean it is. It might have vulnerabilities that you’re not aware of.

And hackers can exploit those vulnerabilities to gain access to your app.

So, what’s the solution?

First, only use components from reputable sources. Check their security history and read reviews. See if they have any certifications or security audits.

And second, keep your components up-to-date. Remember Equifax, right?

Once you spot a vulnerability, patch it up ASAP.

So, there you have it.

The lowdown on where application security threats come from.

You can prevent security risks from affecting your web applications.


You’ll soon find out.

How SMSCountry can help you protect your products from security risks

Application security risks are no laughing matter.

Lack of proper security measures can lead to the loss of lives. Yes, that’s how bad it can get.

Because trust, once lost, takes years of effort to rebuild. So, prevention is key.

Managing security risks should be a priority for your web applications. That’s where SMSCountry comes in.

SMSCountry is the globe’s most secure SMS service provider.

We keep you free from application security risks.


It’s simple.

Here are 5 top-notch security solutions SMSCountry gives you:

  • Two-factor authentication: Implement 2FA and always verify user identity through SMS OTP.
  • Account recovery: Lost your password? No worries. Your users can regain access to their account in a jiffy through SMS-based account recovery.
  • Alerts and notifications: Regulate suspicious activities using our SMS alerts and notifications.
  • Transaction verification: Confirm transactions through SMS and sleep like a baby.
  • Two-way communication: Got a security concern or need support? Your users can interact with you via SMS-based two-way communication.

Don’t let hackers crash your party. Get started with SMSCountry or schedule a demo to see how it works.

Next, we’ll teach you how to prevent software vulnerabilities.

Let’s give those sneaky hackers a run for their money.

Best practices to prevent software vulnerabilities

You know what they say, “prevention is better than cure.”

Don’t fall victim to hackers. Just follow our tips and best practices. They’ll keep your software applications free from security risks.

Here are the top 9 best practices to manage application security risks:

  • Update your software: This helps to close known security gaps.
  • Use strong passwords: It makes your passwords complex. Also, ensure you change them at intervals.
  • Audit and track user activity: It helps you note suspicious activities. It’ll help you detect and prevent potential security breaches.
  • Conduct regular security tests:. It’ll help you identify and address potential loopholes.
  • Enforce authentication: Two-factor and biometric authentication can help. They’ll add an extra layer of security to user accounts.
  • Encrypt your data: Encryption protects sensitive data and prevents data breaches.
  • Use anti-malware and anti-virus software: Malware can compromise application security and increase risk. So, use this software to tackle them.
  • Use DDoS protection measures: Like web application firewalls and content delivery networks. They can help protect against DDoS attacks.
  • Train employees on security awareness: They say, “charity begins at home”. So, train your employees to prevent application security risks. 

You’ve just found out how to prevent software vulnerabilities.

Make application security risk control a priority. Treat it with all urgency as you would your reputation.

Use SMScountry to protect your applications from security risks

You’ve learned how application security risks can cause extreme damage to your business.

SMSCountry helps you protect your products and users from potential security breaches.

Our solutions include two-factor authentication and account recovery, alerts, and notifications.

You also get access to the safest transaction verification.

You can reduce application security risks with our services and the best practices mentioned above.

Why wait until it’s late?

Schedule a free demo and sign up for free with SMSCountry.

Safeguard your business today. Your customers are counting on you.

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Prince is a tech and template maven. He loves to analyze different technologies (web3, AI and software tools). Prince uses his experience, research and expert outreach to create tech product guides, templates, checklist to make work faster for you.

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