“The global average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million across SMBs”.
Web application attacks are now the most frequent pattern in confirmed breaches. Yet many organizations struggle to manage websites and protect source codes because they simply don’t know where to start.
OWASP top 10 can open doors towards raising awareness to the threats that your website might encounter.
Working to strengthen website security across the world, the OWASP organization works towards providing an unbiased and practical knowledge on application security. In 2017, it updated a list called the ‘OWASP top 10 Web Application Security Risks’.
Meeting OWASP compliance standards can help in protecting web applications from malware and data stealing activities carried out by attackers.
This blog post covers the OWASP top 10, which are the most critical security risks that should be rectified immediately if found.
So, let’s get started.
OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities
When an attacker sends any invalid data to the web application for making it do something that it is not supposed to do, code injection happens. Common code injection flaws are SQL injection, CRLF injection, and LDAP injection, which happen when an attacker sends untrusted data. Source code review is the best way to avoid any injections attacks.
2. Broken Authentication
Sometimes when certain applications are improperly implemented and user authentication is mishandled, attackers gain access to passwords, session tokens, keys etc. They exploit a user’s system to assume the identity of a user’s account. Multi-factor authentication can minimize the use of well-known or weak passwords. Automated static analysis is pretty useful in finding such flaws.
3. Sensitive Data Exposure
Web applications and APIs do not necessarily protect sensitive data such as credentials, credit card numbers, medical information, other private details etc. Financial institutions tend to fail to protect their customer’s sensitive data and can be soft targets to identity theft frauds. SAST tools like Coverity and SCA tools like Black Duck binary analysis comprises features that can help identify the security vulnerabilities.
4. XML External Entities (XXE)
Web applications that use vulnerable component processing XML’s are more prone to attackers. These attackers can take undue advantage of web apps by uploading XML or including hostile commands or content within an XML document. If it is attacked by untrusted sources, Static Application Security Testing (SAST) can be very helpful in detecting XXE in source code.
5. Broken Access Control
When an attacker gains access to user accounts, that means the access control is broken. It gives the attacker access to operate the system as a user. Penetration testing/pen testing/ethical hacking should be used to detect any unintended access controls.
6. Security Misconfiguration
Security misconfigurations happen when any design or configuration weaknesses arise as a result of any configuration errors. This improper implementation of controls such as error messages, misconfiguration of security headers, not upgrading systems, etc can be detected by Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST).
7. Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws enable attackers to inject client-side scripts into the application. Redirecting users to malicious websites is an example of cross-site scripting. An attacker can inject any untrusted data or content into a website and modify it. SAST solutions are a great tool in detecting such critical defects in data flow analysis.
8. Insecure Deserialization
Insecure deserialization flaws allow an attacker to execute code remotely in the application. Any tampering or deletion of serialized (written to disk) objects, injection attacks, etc are a part of insecure deserialization. A web application is vulnerable as it deserializes hostile objects supplied by an attacker. It can be detected using application security tools and penetration testing can be used to validate the problem.
9. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
This vulnerability describes when applications are built and run using components containing known vulnerabilities. For instance, since there are a huge number of components used in development, the development team might not understand the components used in their application. This can lead to them being out-of-date and more prone to cyber attacks as an insecure component can take over the server and leak sensitive information.
10. Insufficient Logging and Monitoring
Logging and monitoring a website should be done frequently to make it secure. Failure to do so makes the website vulnerable to many compromising activities. For example, events such as logins, failed login attempts etc can be audited. Not doing so leads to making the application vulnerable. Penetration testing should be done by developers to analyze test logs to ascertain vulnerabilities. Unlogged security exceptions can be identified using SAST solutions.
Why is OWASP Important?
From creating, to developing, testing, and implementing—OWASP builds a security wall so that the final product is secure.
Here is why it is important –
1. Keeps the application protected and secured against cyber attacks.
2. Makes the encryption even stronger.
3. Reduces the rate of errors and operational system failures.
4. Promises greater application success.
5. Allows you to mitigate potential risks and fix vulnerabilities in web applications.
OWASP has maintained its list of top 10 vulnerabilities since 2003 and keeps updating it in case any advancements take place in the application security sector. The importance of OWASP top 10 in mitigating potential risks and fixing vulnerabilities can help you improve your company’s image in the market and make it look reliable.
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