The average Web application is seriously attacked 59 times over a period of six months — once every third day — according to new research from Imperva, released this week.

The company monitored activity for 50 Web applications, which weren’t named, in their latest Web application attack report (WAAR). The sampling period occurred from December 2011 to May 2012. The data analyzes frequency, type and origins of attacks.

Imperva, an application and database security provider, discovered that the average attack incident lasted seven minutes and 42 seconds, but the longest incident lasted an hour and 19 minutes. SQL injections were the most popular.

“These findings indicate a significant difference between an average Web application attack incident and the upper limit,” said Imperva CTO Amichai Shulman in a press release. “We believe that organizations that are only prepared for an average attack incident may be overwhelmed by larger attack incidents, like a flood bursting through a levy.”

Report data includes:

  • SQL injection remains most common attack vector: Imperva reviews and summarizes the cumulative characteristics of Web application attack vectors, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), RFI and LFI, and observes that SQL injection is the most commonly used attack for the 50 observed Web applications.
  • Intensity of attacks increasing: Applications will typically see only some serious attack action roughly every third day, for a few minutes, but the attacks may overwhelm the application if the defenses are prepared for only the average intensity of attack.
  • France leads SQL injection: As reported in the previous WAAR report, the majority of requests and attackers originate in the U.S., western European countries, China and Brazil. However, France has emerged as the leading source of SQL injection attacks, with the attack volume of requested originating from France almost four times greater than that of the United States.

"The cyberbattlefield looks a lot more like a border keeping mission than total war - most of the time very little happens, but every once in a while there's an outbreak of attacks," said Shulman. "Regardless of the frequency of attacks and peaceful periods, we believe organizations need to be prepared for these bursts of activity during attack incidents."

To download the full report, visit Imperva’s website.

Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  |  GT Staff Writer

By day, Hilton Collins is a staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines who covers sustainability, cybersecurity and disaster management issues. By night, he’s a sci-fi/fantasy fanatic, and if he had to choose between comic books, movies, TV shows and novels, he’d have a brain aneurysm. He can be reached at hcollins@govtech.com and on @hiltoncollins on Twitter.