Best Practices to Secure Web Forms from Cyber Threats in 2021

Web forms are one of the essential marketing tools when it comes to user data accumulation, analysis, and processing. It helps organizations personalize their products as per customer’s data and leverage such interactions for lead generations; While there is no denying that online forms are one of the most popular lead magnets for many marketers, security is a significant concern.

For example, 29% of customers abandon web forms citing security reasons which can negatively impact your lead generation efforts. So, you need to create secure web forms for your business, and it is essential, especially when you ask users to share their personal information through these forms.

Several aspects affect the web form security, and that is why you need to assess your systems for vulnerabilities. According to the issue, there are several best practices to follow to protect your web forms. Here, we will discuss some of the best practices that you can employ to ensure better security of web forms for your business.

#1. Vulnerability Identification

The first step towards web form security is to analyze your systems for vulnerabilities. Then, based on the vulnerability, you can deploy different best practices. For such assessments, you need vulnerability tests which is a process to analyze, detect, and classify security loopholes.

There are two types of vulnerability tests that you can leverage for the detection of system vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability Scanners- Offer insights into present vulnerabilities but do not enable classification or level of exploitation.

Penetration tests- are used to exploit the vulnerabilities and check the damage that can occur due to such loopholes.

The best way to ensure better detection and solution for different vulnerabilities is by using vulnerability scanners and penetration testing. Some of the most common vulnerabilities that can affect your web forms are,

  • XSS– Cross-site scripting (XSS) is an attack where a hacker will run the malicious script in the browser. For example, a hacker embeds an HTML <script> or <mg> tag that has malicious content in the comment form to attack web forms. Once a user accesses the comment section displayed on the loading of the page, the execution of malicious content takes place.
  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) is an attack where a hacker sends the request to be authenticated as a legitimate user or authenticates users to send requests unwillingly.
  • SQLi or SQL injection is another cyber attack where a hacker may gain access to the website by executing a malicious SQL query or placing a SQL statement that abuses the Boolean logic into a vulnerable password.

However, there are several such vulnerabilities, but identifying them will allow you to know the exact solution needed. Another best practice that you can employ to secure web forms is encryption.

#2. Encrypting Website Communications

One of the most critical cyber security measures you need to employ for secure web forms is encryption. HTTPS protocols are secure implementations of the HTML network through SSL certificates. SSL or Secured Socket Layer ensures that the communication between the browser and mobile app or user’s device remains anonymous to hackers.

An SSL employs cryptographic algorithms to scramble the data and encrypt them to stay hidden from hackers. There are several options in the market to choose from like RapidSSL, Comodo SSL, GeoTrust SSL, Thawte SSL, etc. that will help prevent MITM or man-in-the-middle attacks.  However, there is one specific threat to web forms that is hard to sanitize through HTTPS- the user input.

If the malicious content is deceptive and enters through user input, you need to have proper web form security to counter such issues.

#3. Secure User Input

If you develop a web form that fails to control the user input, the result can be catastrophic as it will allow hackers to introduce malicious content. Therefore, to ensure that the user input is valid and there are no malicious injections, user authentication, validation, and sanitization are essential.

Constrain the user input to known values for validation by using the semantic information or validation-based attributes in the web forms. You can replace or remove context-based harmful characters by bypassing the input data.

However, the most efficient way is to leverage multi-factor user authentications. It is a process of adding an extra layer of validation on the user’s end to ensure that a valid entity requests the data access. Here, there are two layers of authentication,

  1. Through username or email and password
  2. With One Time Password or an authenticator app, or a fingerprint scan

Among others, 2FA or two-factor authentication are among the most popular multi-factor authentication processes adopted by giants like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

#4. Avoiding Autofill Feature

There is no doubt that autofill form fields are a great way to enhance the customer journey as they don’t need to spend more time on data input. However, it is a significant security risk as the data here is PII(Personally Identifiable Information), which is most vulnerable to cyberattacks. For example, “2020 Cost of a Data Breach” report, 80% of cyber-attacks and data breaches were PII-related, more than any other.

This can happen when users trust the different browsers to store their data and autofill for web forms. However, you can’t completely deny the usage of autofill fields. For example, input fields for your web forms must be compliant with the WCAG criteria.

The best way to ensure web form security is to use the autofill fields sparingly and make the system secure through user authentications to avoid exposure of PII.


Secure web forms can help you ensure that the user data is safe and enable you to build trust among customers. However, with innovations and technological advancements, hackers also use various deceptions to introduce malicious code into your web forms for data extraction. So, you will also need to have robust security measures to counter such cyber threats.

In the labyrinthine sphere of cybersecurity, the crux of safeguarding data rests upon the judicious employment of Single Sign-On (SSO) and Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) methodologies. The beauty of SSO resides in its eradication of manifold login requirements, effectively minimizing human lapses and curtailing chances of password transgressions. SAML, in its glory, serves as an open beacon for the interchange of authentication and authorization dossiers, fortifying user identity management across varied systems.

Moreover, the underestimated player in the field, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), carves a niche for itself. LDAP provides an efficient mechanism for accessing and conserving distributed directory intelligence over an Internet Protocol (IP) network. This results in the unification of user data, thereby shrinking the avenues for potential cyber onslaughts.

Delineating the nuances between SAML vs OIDC is no less paramount. SAML finds its niche in web-oriented authentication and authorization, predominantly within the confines of SSO applications in large-scale enterprises. On the flip side, OIDC – a construct built atop the OAuth 2.0 protocol – is tailor-made for consumer-centric applications, finding its home in mobile and web-based platforms. Its trim, compact nature coupled with its prowess to disseminate user profile data makes it an ideal fit for scenarios necessitating user data exchanges across a multitude of services.