Cybercriminals often use URL redirection attacks that redirect the traffic from the original website to some malicious site without coming into their consciousness. Cybercriminals do this on purpose mainly because they have to distribute some malware or virus or steal some sensitive information. Well, this attack works when the visitor who is a victim clicks on the link that pops up on the page he is visiting.
After clicking, the victim will unintentionally land on some unknown malicious website. Since most of the victims are unaware of URL redirection attacks, they lose interest in the specific URL they were visiting and sometimes end up having more trouble. In this guide, we will talk specifically about URL redirection attacks, what it is, how to prevent and the details related to the benefits of Web Application Firewalls WAF.
URL Redirection Attack
The following description tells you about URL redirection attacks, how to prevent them, and what are the benefits of web application firewalls so you can have an idea about cyber criminals and how they attack you and use the information for their own purposes. We will first look at what are open redirect attacks and then will look at other descriptive information about URL redirection attacks.
Open Redirect Attacks: What Are They?
Let me explain to you what open redirect attacks are with an example so you can understand them well. Just imagine you have got a promotional email from some business that you trust. Because the offer is amazing, you don’t want to miss it, and you are now moving your cursor over the link to see whether it is right or not.
And because you felt that everything is perfect, you clicked on the link. Now you have landed on a trusted website that has redirected you to some application that is controlled by criminals or scammers or some other malicious web page. This is what open redirect attacks are!
Well, this happens because websites, applications, and internet browsers have inbuilt systems that you can use to redirect the user from one URL to another. Although the feature is one of the most beneficial features that will help you in many ways, it is one of the riskiest because scammers and cyber criminals use this to redirect users to some fake login page, website, or malicious URLs, simply to boost the credibility or use for their own purpose.
Ways to Prevent a URL Redirect Attack
Now that we have the information about URL redirect attacks, we will now focus on the ways to prevent them so you can protect yourself from getting scammed or facing troubles because of fake logins. Let’s look at the preventive measures that you can take to prevent a URL redirect attack.
Make sure to validate the redirects as a web developer. You need to ensure that you are sanitizing and validating all the URLs and rejecting untrusted or unfamiliar URLs before allowing redirection. This will save you from lots of coming complications.
Keep Your System Up To Date
You need to make sure that your software is regularly updated. Keeping your systems and software up to date and ensuring you are regularly updating each of the software in your device minimizes the chances of becoming a victim of such a case. This is because, most of the time, updates include patches for security vulnerabilities.
Use Trusted Security Software
Moreover, you also have to make sure that you are using some trusted security software. It would help if you get some anti-malware protection that will help you in detecting and blocking and providing threat protection right on time. It will block malicious sites and will keep you safe from such attacks.
Identify Malicious Websites
One of the most important things that you can do to prevent URL redirect attacks is to identify malicious websites. This can only be done if you are trained enough, or you have the necessary education. You should be intelligent enough to detect malicious websites even when the URLs of websites are looking trusted, familiar, or genuine.
How To Spot A URL Redirection Vulnerability?
Spotting a URL redirection vulnerability is quite difficult, but you can if you have the right knowledge. Some of the owners of the websites do not even have an idea until their websites are suspended by the web hosts, or they notice that there is a notable decrease in the website traffic via Google Analytics.
Well, there are three most common redirection vulnerability types that you can look for. Learning these will help you in spotting a URL redirection vulnerability and take preventive measures beforehand.
- Parameter-Based URL Redirection
- Session Restoration URL Redirection
- DOM-based open redirects
How To Stop URL redirection Attacks?
Fortunately, software engineers and other experts have developed ways to create and protect their customers and their websites from such attacks. It is no longer a tough, time-consuming, or complicated step. You can simply start by,
- 1. Using A Web Application Firewall
- 2. Using An Automated Website Scanner
- 3. Keeping Softwares Up-to-date
Using a Web Application Firewall
It is one of the greatest and best defenses that ensures that malicious actors are not reaching your website. Using a web application firewall protects your site, provides solutions, and gives security reports.
In the reports, the web application firewall also highlights the site traffic and other essential data that will help you in diagnosing if there is any specific suspicious activity on your website or not. Moreover, it also keeps you aware of the decrease or increase in your traffic and can help you check for URL redirection attacks or other relevant problems behind the decrease of the traffic on your website.
Using An Automated Website Scanner
You can also use an automated website scanner that will help you diagnose and detect the malware on your website faster than you check on your own. An efficient and reliable website scanner will also help you in diagnosing the problem and removing the malware activities in order to minimize your negative impression on your customers or on your business.
Keeping Softwares Up To Date
This is one of the easiest and most effective methods to block URL redirection attacks. You can do this by simply updating every software you have. If you use widgets, third-party plugins, content management systems, and other website enhancements in your software, there is a high chance that your website is away from such malicious activities.
Understanding The Benefits Of Web Application Firewalls (WAF)
Web Application Firewalls are used to block web-based attacks and intrusions that target confidential and sensitive data and the applications hosted on web servers. WAF shields your web application against cyber criminals and ensures there is no malicious activity there. Some of the basic benefits of web application firewalls include,
- Prevention of cookie poisoning
- Prevention of SQL injection
- Prevention of cross-site scripting
- Prevention of blocking distributed denial of service
- Filtering the traffic on the site
- Real-time monitoring
What are the ways to prevent URL redirection attacks?
There are four important preventive measures that you can take to prevent a URL redirect attack. What you can do is you can update your software on a regular basis, use security software to prevent malfunctioning, validate redirects before allowing them for redirections, and provide malware protection. Moreover, you can also train yourself and practice to detect malicious websites and applications.
What is a URL redirection attack?
URL redirection attack is basically a web threat in which cyber criminals redirect the users from the original website to a malicious website. This is done on purpose and is done by the attackers when they manipulate the URLs. Moreover, it is done mainly to distribute malware or to steal sensitive information.
How to spot a URL redirection vulnerability?
Although they are difficult to diagnose, you can if you have the knowledge and if you can keep an eye on your website on and off. Otherwise, you will get to know about the URL redirection vulnerability when the web host suspends your site and you notice a notable decrease in the traffic on your website.
URL redirection attack is one of the web-based threats in which cyber criminals steal the URLs of the websites and redirect the visitors from the original website to a fake or malicious one. This is done on purpose and creates many complications and problems for the visitors.
This guide mentioned above tells you everything about what is a URL redirection attack, how you can spot it, what are preventive measures you can take, and how to completely stop URL redirection attacks so you can have an idea about the severity of the situation and how you can deal with it. Make sure not to miss anything because knowing the URL redirection attacks may save you from severe situations that you might become a victim of.