Web Applications

By Deborah Gage Print this article Print

It's what you don't know about the security problems of operating systems and web applications that can kill you. Here are five new technologies that may change your relationship with your data.


The Technology
Software that lets companies create more interactive applications. This includes Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and eXtensible Markup Language, or XML), which lets Web applications perform faster; and Adobe Flash, which allows for the creation of sophisticated graphics.

Deployment and Use
Growing quickly. By October 2006, nearly 90% of companies surveyed by Forrester Research were using Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, and 65% were using Adobe Flash. Java was installed at just about every company.

The Vulnerability
By their very nature, Web apps carry the risk of making personal information visible. Indeed, hundreds of flaws in Web applications are found and reported each week, according to The SANS Institute, a leading source of security information. Not all are dangerous, but those that are allow hackers to trick applications into handing over highly sensitive data such as passwords.

Flaws in Microsoft's Windows operating system are an even bigger problem for organizations, according to Bob Zarazowski, a senior I.T. director at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "We're putting more and more important applications on the Web," he says. "It used to be behind corporate firewalls."

What To Do
Make sure your applications are well designed. At Wharton, code is reviewed by programmers who are not working on that particular project because they bring fresh perspectives. Programmers also rely on templates for security and other common routines so they can take advantage of best practices.

Next page: Beacon Technology for Laptops

This article was originally published on 2007-02-16
Senior Writer
Based in Silicon Valley, Debbie was a founding member of Ziff Davis Media's Sm@rt Partner, where she developed investigative projects and wrote a column on start-ups. She has covered the high-tech industry since 1994 and has also worked for Minnesota Public Radio, covering state politics. She has written freelance op-ed pieces on public education for the San Jose Mercury News, and has also won several national awards for her work co-producing a documentary. She has a B.A. from Minnesota State University.

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