Everything You Need to Know About Web Application Firewalls (WAFs)

Everything You Need to Know About Web Application Firewalls (WAFs)

This article is your one-stop, 360-degree resource covering all the information you need to know about WAFs, including how they function, what they protect against, how to implement them, and much more!

Protecting your web applications against malicious security attacks is essential. Luckily, WAFs (Web Application Firewalls) are here to help.

In a nutshell, a WAF works as a shield between the web application and the internet, preventing mishaps that could occur without it.

WAFs can protect you and your clients’ applications from cross-site forgery attacks, XSS (cross-site-scripting), and SQL injections, amongst others.

WAFs are here to help protect your site from hackers and malicious threats.

More and more so, web application security has become more crucial, considering web application attacks are one of the most common reasons for breaches.

As you’re about to see, WAFs are a critical part of security to guard against vulnerabilities.

In this article, we’ll be covering:

Let’s start at the beginning, with…

What is a WAF?

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a specific type of firewall that protects your web applications from malicious application-based attacks.

In layman’s terms, a WAF acts as the middle person or security guard for your WordPress site.

It will help protect web applications from attacks like cross-site scripting (XSS), cookie poisoning, SQL injection, cross-site forgery, and more.

WAFs will stand guard between the internet and your web applications, all the while monitoring and filtering the HTTP traffic that wants to get to your server.

It does this by adhering to policies that assist in determining what traffic is malicious and what traffic isn’t. Similar to how a proxy server acts as a mediator to protect the identity of a client, WAF functions in a similar way — but in reverse.

It’s a reverse proxy, which acts as a go-between that protects the web application server from a possible malicious client.

WAFs use a set of rules (or policies) to help identify who’s actually on your guest list and who’s just looking to cause trouble.

WAFs and Network Firewalls

WAFs should not be confused with your standard Network Firewall (Packet Filtering), which assesses incoming data based on a set of criteria, including IP addresses, packet type, port numbers, and more.

Network firewalls are okay and great at what they do. The only downside is they don’t understand HTTP, and as a result, cannot detect specific attacks that target security flaws in web applications.

That’s where WAFs save the day and can help bolster your web security in ways a Network Firewall cannot. There are many layers to it.

And employing different security measures can help you further protect the individual layers.

The OSI Model

To understand these layers, you need to understand the



This article was written by N. Fakes and originally published on WPMU DEV Blog.

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