Which Signs Show That Web Application Is Hacked?

In the early days of the internet, websites were dominating the web world, but soon the evolution of mobile technology made our life easy with a number of useful and highly functional web applications. Web application transforms most of the internet world into a compact world. Currently, web applications are available for online shopping, banking, financial, social networking, games, multimedia, health and beauty tips, etc. However, the ease of web application also brought unique security threats. Most applications are developed in-house with lacking security problems that may occur in app development. Therefore, attackers who compromise a web application can modify the data or steal the information and make financial fraud by performing malicious action.

As the time passed, new types of vulnerabilities have come into focus. Some of security vulnerabilities have become unfeasible due to changes in software and hardware as well cyber security awareness while some vulnerabilities still exist and become threat to data security and computer resources.

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Common Categories of Web App Vulnerability:

If we talk about common web app vulnerability, then broken authentication, broken access control, SQL injection, XSS vulnerability, data leakage are few examples of it. Mostly categories are the results of the defect in the log-in mechanism, insufficient data protection, intrusion in logic command of web application, unauthorized access to data, disclose of sensitive information, negligent insiders, absent of knowledge about social engineering.

Signs of Web Application Hacked:

It is true that not all data breaches come into attention. Some remain hidden for years and hackers use them as a backdoor to gather information from the server loopholes. Many of us do not know whether the installed web application is vulnerable or not. But in this piece of information, few signs reveal that your web application is hacked.

1.   Behavior of application is changed

When web application suddenly changes behavior, it indicates that the application has become vulnerable. Taking time to load, slower request processing, unexpected traffic rush or increase in orders is some indication that the behavior of a web application is changed and it is a red flag. It is not necessary that the application is hacked, but it is sensible to monitor the app rather to wait for a big disaster. Check the code of the web page whether the database is changed or not. Check also for wrong redirection of a web page, it may happen that the page is not directed to the specified URL address but to a different malicious page. Regular analysis of a web application keeps unwanted actions away and provides smooth experience to its users.

2.   Log message queries

Log entries tell a lot about application access, location and time period, therefore regular monitor log entries to observe any suspicious activity running on web application or not. If the database log shows several errors in a short time, then it shows that an intruder is snooping on the application. To solve this issue, you need to go back and find the database queries from its beginning. The web server software log can be a helpful in confirming any unauthorized action. Web server refers to the internal database, if the web server communicates from the outbound server with public IP address then it is a sign that attacker are trying to draw data from the application and transferring the data to remote servers. Even if the application allows uploading the file on the server, then it is a sign that the established server is a dedicated malicious server and not related to the organization.

3.   Unknown processes

IT administrators should focus on application monitoring and check for some unusual tasks designed for specific jobs. Keep a watch on added users, inactive accounts, and account privileges. If certain users request for root access or elevated privileges, then think twice before granting access to the user as it may be a hacker who is using stolen credentials. If any new entry is found on Linux or Window server, it could be a clue of unwanted activity.

4.   Changes in files

Keeping timestamp on the files of web application, helps you to find any edited entry so always check the timestamp to ensure the files are in original form. If any edition is found, then compare the previous version files with the current edited files. If there are too many new files on the server or in root, these files could be used to redirect users or perform malicious scripts on the server system. Further, do not keep auto update when third party plug-ins are involved in web applications. Check third party plug-ins to make sure that they are not doing any malicious actions.

5.   Warnings

Check your application with different security tools to make sure it is not compromised. Use Google’s Safe Browsing tool to confirm that browser is not showing any error message. Make sure that your web application is not blacklisted in the browsers’ list, which they update on a regular base. Check social media page for any comment or complaint about application misbehavior. If users are saying that the password reset messages are considered as a spam, then investigate your application about its spam status.

SSL could help against App Vulnerability:

SSL protocol can be of a great help against web app vulnerability as the protocol works on integrity and confidentiality. Generally login forms, web page relating payment procedure should have an SSL to assure about safe payments. SSL secures travelling information between the browser and the server and helps to secure against eavesdropping attack. It ensures users about the authenticity of the web application server. It is true that SSL does not stop attacks but provides help at some point in web application security.


In case when you find an issue, you should have to back up the application. After that, restore the application and change all passwords of CMS, admin account and individual services. As well, remove write permissions if it is not required. Always use antivirus on a laptop or PC that will make you aware whenever any suspicious download proceeds on the system. It is necessary to monitor web application as hackers are always after application flaws.