OWASP Top 10 Application Security Risks – 2017
Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is an organization filled with security experts from around the world who provide information about applications and the risks posed, in the most direct, neutral, and practical way. It’s largely a community-driven endeavor which aims to make the internet more secure by helping people to find trustworthy information about what they can do to keep their web apps and tools from getting hacked. Since 2003, OWASP has been releasing the OWASP Top 10 list every three/four years. The list consists of the top biggest Application Security Risks according to OWASP.
The OWASP Top Ten list, as you might guess, is the ten most important things that OWASP think web application developers should be focused on to make sure that the web generally is secure. They’ve published the list since 2003, changing it through many iterations. The most recent revision was at the end of 2017. Prior to that, it was updated in 2010 and 2013. Each iteration is intended to last for quite some time.
Quick Rundown of the OWASP Top Ten
For those who want all the details, please check out the official PDF from OWASP.
- Injection flaws, such as SQL, NoSQL, OS, and LDAP injection, occur when untrusted data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. The attacker’s hostile data can trick the interpreter into executing unintended commands or accessing data without proper authorization.
- Application functions related to authentication and session management are often implemented incorrectly, allowing attackers to compromise passwords, keys, or session tokens, or to exploit other implementation flaws to assume other users’ identities temporarily or permanently.
- Many web applications and APIs do not properly protect sensitive data, such as financial, healthcare, and PII. Attackers may steal or modify such weakly protected data to conduct credit card fraud, identity theft, or other crimes. Sensitive data may be compromised without extra protection, such as encryption at rest or in transit, and requires special precautions when exchanged with the browser.
- Many older or poorly configured XML processors evaluate external entity references within XML documents. External entities can be used to disclose internal files using the file URI handler, internal file shares, internal port scanning, remote code execution, and denial of service attacks.
- Restrictions on what authenticated users are allowed to do are often not properly enforced. Attackers can exploit these flaws to access unauthorized functionality and/or data, such as access other users’ accounts, view sensitive files, modify other users’ data, change access rights, etc.
- Security misconfiguration is the most commonly seen issue. This is commonly a result of insecure default configurations, incomplete or ad hoc configurations, open cloud storage, misconfigured HTTP headers, and verbose error messages containing sensitive information. Not only must all operating systems, frameworks, libraries, and applications be securely configured, but they must be patched/upgraded in a timely fashion.
- Insecure deserialization often leads to remote code execution. Even if deserialization flaws do not result in remote code execution, they can be used to perform attacks, including replay attacks, injection attacks, and privilege escalation attacks.
- Components, such as libraries, frameworks, and other software modules, run with the same privileges as the application. If a vulnerable component is exploited, such an attack can facilitate serious data loss or server takeover. Applications and APIs using components with known vulnerabilities may undermine application defenses and enable various attacks and impacts.
- Insufficient logging and monitoring, coupled with missing or ineffective integration with incident response, allows attackers to further attack systems, maintain persistence, pivot to more systems, and tamper, extract, or destroy data. Most breach studies show time to detect a breach is over 200 days, typically detected by external parties rather than internal processes or monitoring.
The OWASP Top Ten Remains a Vital Resource
Hope this article makes clear is that the topic of web security should remain top-of-mind for you as a web developer at any level. The OWASP Top Ten remains a vital checkpoint for anyone hoping to get serious in protecting their web applications.