Websites are evolving. The meteoric rise of eCommerce over the last decade has cemented the importance of a new wave of website design. Dynamic websites boast higher engagement; greater conversion rates; and more paid customers. However, the surge in these sites have opened the floodgates for serious security oversights. In the worst instances, companies seeking higher ROI have gone on to sacrifice client side security.
The Rise of Third-Party Scripts
In the first few years of the internet, webpages were limited to pages of simple HTML or, as creator Tim Berners-Lee simply called it, hypertext. His concept in 1989 was a system of hypertext documents, each of which could be viewed by independent browsers. One of the earliest web pages contained a phone book for Berners-Lee employers, CERN. Other pages began to pop up, including guides for using CERN’s own central computers. The search function relied solely on specific keywords – there were no algorithmic search engines in 1990.
In 1991, these pages became available for colleagues on other CERN computers. Global interest began to spread after Berners-Lee announced his WWW software in various newsgroups. The first browsers were offered by exclusive NeXT computers, until CERN intern Nicola Pellow wrote a simpler form of browser that could be run on any system. The very first web server was brought online in December 1991, at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California. Less than three years later, the world wide web had already gained 10,000 servers, supporting the browsing and surfing habits of over 10 million users.
Nowadays, modern sites are totally alien to the bare HTML pages of 1991. A focus on user experience has seen increasing pressure to adapt pages to the user’s own interest. This describes a dynamic website: offering different content for different users, these can benefit from their tailored design. Dynamic sites supply this tailored feed via advanced scripts that sit adjacent to the core site code. Scripts can add further information to websites, or pass user and browsing habits over to third-parties.
Client Vs Server Side – And the Security Implications
How Script Visibility is the Answer
Script visibility is a challenge facing many eCommerce and online businesses today. However, thanks to cutting-edge cloud security solutions, it’s possible to protect customers whilst retaining the valuable features offered by these scripts.
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