“One single vulnerability is all an attacker needs.” – Window Synder
The Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) top 25 dangerous software errors are crucial for every cybersecurity professional.
Updated by MITRE Corporation, a US non-profit organization, the key advantage of CWE SANS top 25 list is that it is based on real-world data instead of anecdotal reports.
It is a roadmap for prioritizing software vulnerabilities and lists some common software problems while offering solutions to help you counter cyber attacks.
This blog post covers the most prevalent 25 errors of extreme severity. As a best practice, an application or software containing any of these errors should not be delivered to the customers.
Let’s take a look at the CWE/SANS cyber vulnerabilities list:
The Security Vulnerabilities
CWE SANS top 25 vulnerabilities are categorized under the following categories –
1. Porous defenses: 11 out of 25 vulnerabilities fall under this category. Application security relies on defensive techniques such as authorization, encryption, and authentication. These techniques will eventually turn to application vulnerabilities if your system does not implement them correctly.
2. Insecure component interactions: The most common errors in this category are: Open Redirect and SQL Injection. Such errors found within the systems tend to exploit the network using malicious code.
3. High risk resource vulnerabilities: When software mismanages resources like excess memory utilization, then such vulnerabilities fall under this category. Butter overflow and path traversal are two top weaknesses in this category.
To skillfully manage the resources, you need to identify whether your sources are legitimate or not. Cyber security professionals and developers can conduct application security testing to review such security vulnerabilities.
Which Are The Most Important Software Errors in The SANS Top 25 List?
1. Improper input validation: This CWE-20 error showcases the discrepancies in the data flow of a program. Some parts of the system may receive unplanned input if an application doesn’t validate the information. Programs receiving extrinsic data are most vulnerable to this error.
Attackers can exploit this error with inputs that your application will be unable to interpret leading to arbitrary code execution or altered data flow. Or else, attackers can input malicious content that modifies existing data targeting confidential data. An application that isn’t vulnerable to such attacks will preserve a structured message.
2. Out-of-bounds read: CWE-125 has a vulnerability score of 26.53, which shows its prevalence in different apps. This error highlights that the buffers placed in a system have no control over how much data the software reads. With extended reading capabilities, the attackers can exploit memory locations, read memory addresses, and other sensitive information.
Systems might also crash if this error is found. When attackers tend to exploit this vulnerability, butter overflows and segmentation faults often take place. Software like C and C++ are at great risk of facing this error. Developers need to use appropriate input validation techniques to alleviate this vulnerability.
3. Improper restriction of operations within the bounds of a memory buffer: With a score of 75.56, CWE-119 is at the highest in the list of SANS top 25. In this error also, the software is able to read beyond the set boundary of a buffer. An attacker can overwrite 64 bits of memory, which can deviate a function pointer towards their malicious code.
Such attacks compromise security-critical data of an application and corrupt relevant memory during the process.
Successful breaches of this vulnerability enable attackers to read sensitive data, alter control flow, crash the system, and execute arbitrary code. The programming language, chip architecture, and platform that you use for an application development also determines these consequences. This vulnerability can be mitigated using memory management support.
4. Information exposure: CWE-200 exposes information to unauthorized users. Primary information exposure includes cryptography timing discrepancies. Resultant exposures may involve scripts that reveal an entire program.
The intensity of these exposures can be predicted by knowing about the information exposed. It can be a private message, financial data, business secrets, network configuration etc that the attackers can exploit. Developers can create ‘safe’ areas within their systems and designers can offer limited system privileges to keep a check on this vulnerability.
CWE/SANS top 25 list acts as a litmus test if used to find discrepancies in a new software. Before the software is finally delivered to the customers, it should be ensured that all the security flaws have been detected and rectified. Here’s how technologies such as SAST, DAST, and IAST can help you considerably in finding security vulnerabilities:
a) SAST (Static Application Security Testing): This ‘white box testing’ technique can be used by developers to find vulnerabilities in the source code in the earlier stages itself.
b) DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing): The ‘black box testing’ technique can detect vulnerabilities in a running application, more specifically web apps.
c) ISAT (Interactive Application Security Testing): This methodology can be adopted to address the drawbacks of SAST and DAST. IAST can place an agent in the application and analyze the source code in real time.
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