Web Application Firewall protects your web service by filtering, monitoring, and blocking any malicious HTTP/S traffic going through to the web application. WAF prevents any non-authorized data from accessing or leaving the app. Having WAF is just like having a toll booth, for example, tool booths allow only paying customers to drive on the toll road like that it prevents non-paying customers from accessing the road.
WAF operates through a set of rules that are mostly called policies. Policies contain specific conditions, that focus on protecting against vulnerabilities in the application by filtering out malicious traffic. WAFs protect attacks at Layer 7 of the OSI model, which is the application level.
Example of how a Layer 7 DDoS can look like: the attacker sends a flood of traffic to the server layer where web pages are generated and delivered in response to HTTP requests. In this case, WAF mitigates this by acting as a reverse proxy that protects the targeted server from malicious traffic and it filters the requests to identify if it’s a DDoS or not.
pros: fast speed and high-performance
cons: most expensive; needs more physical space
pros: less expensive; more flexible
cons: slower speed
pros: cheapest option; simplicity
cons: relying on the service provider; limited customization
With plenty of web application firewalls offered in the market and since not all of them are created equal, it is really important to check all advantages and disadvantages, thus it is also important to understand their differences before making a well-informed decision.
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