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Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) 101: A Guide from Ryan Barnett and Brian Wallace

If you’re a website or web application owner, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Web Application Firewalls (WAFs). But what are they and what do they do? In this article, Ryan Barnett and Brian Wallace, two leading experts on web application security, will explain the basics of WAFs and why they’re important for any website owner.

WAFs are a type of firewall that protects web applications and websites from malicious attacks. They act as a reverse proxy server, meaning they sit between the web application and the Internet, and filter incoming traffic based on rules and policies. These rules are designed to detect and block malicious traffic, while allowing legitimate traffic to pass through.

At a basic level, WAFs work by monitoring incoming traffic and comparing it to a set of predefined rules. If the traffic matches any of the rules, the WAF will block it, preventing it from reaching the web application. This helps to protect the web application from attacks, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting.

Aside from providing protection against malicious attacks, WAFs can also be used to improve website performance. Many WAFs are designed to compress incoming traffic, reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred. This can help to speed up web page loading times, making them more user-friendly.

Finally, WAFs can also be used to enforce security policies, such as blocking access from certain IP addresses or denying requests from certain countries. This can help to protect your web applications from attackers, as well as ensuring that only authorized users can access your website.

Overall, WAFs are an important part of any web application security strategy. They provide an extra layer of protection against malicious attacks and can help to improve website performance. If you’re a website or web application owner, it’s important that you understand the basics of WAFs and how they can help protect your website.

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