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OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities and How to Combat Them

OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities and How to Combat Them

While the global economy and people's social life have mostly moved into cyberspace, this has come with a number of concerns. According to a recent analysis from Check Point Research (CPR), the second quarter of 2022 marked an all-time high for worldwide cyberattacks, which rose by 32% from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022. The peak number of attacks per company per week worldwide was 1.2K. One of the fundamental reasons causing this phenomenon is because the systems that have lots of vulnerabilities, making hackers easily to get into the systems and do cyber-crimes.

Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in a system's functionality or design that let hackers run programs, gain access to private information, and/or launch denial-of-service attacks (Parikh & Patel, 2017). Multiple techniques can be used to attack vulnerabilities, including SQL injection, buffer overflows, cross-site scripting (XSS), and open-source exploit kits that scan online applications for known security flaws and vulnerabilities.

Hackers are aware of the fact that 82% of all vulnerabilities are found in application code and want to leverage this vector to infiltrate the networks where the application is installed. Strengthening the cybersecurity has thus become a highly crucial task for every organization today.

To do that, organizations must be familiar with the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities.

What is OWASP?

The Open Web Application Security Project® (OWASP) is a worldwide non-profit foundation attempting to raise awareness of the danger posed by web application vulnerabilities. OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities report is one of its popular works.

OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities

OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities is a standard resource for developers and web application security. It reflects a broader understanding of the most important security threats to web applications. Organizations should adopt this document and begin the process of ensuring that the risks associated with their web applications are minimized.

OWASP updates and releases a list of the top 10 web application vulnerabilities every few years. At the OWASP 20th Anniversary on September 24, 2021, a new OWASP Top 10 list was released. The following are the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities.

1. Broken Access Control

It is a weakness that enables attackers to access user accounts. In this situation, the attackers may use the system as a user or an administrator.

2. Cryptographic Failures

Formerly known as sensitive data exposure, this entry was renamed to more accurately reflect its role as a cause rather than a symptom. It occurs when important stored or transmitted data is compromised.

3. Injection

A code injection occurs when malicious data is sent into a web application by attackers to cause it to perform an action it was not intended to.

4. Insecure Design

It's simpler to govern what departments are doing to make sure they are in line with overarching strategic objectives when operations are better visible.

5. Security Misconfiguration

Security misconfigurations are design or configuration weaknesses that result from a configuration error or shortcoming.

6. Vulnerable and Outdated Components

It refers to components that present both known and potential security risks. In contrast to malicious components, components with known vulnerabilities, such as CVEs, should be found and patched.

7. Identification and Authentication Failures

It also contains CWEs for identification failures. Improper implementation of authentication and session management enables attackers to compromise passwords, which can result in stolen user identity, etc.

8. Software and Data Integrity Failures

It focuses on CI/CD pipelines used without ensuring data integrity, critical data updates, and software updates. Insecure deserialization, a deserialization flaw that enables an attacker to remotely execute code in the system, is now also covered by this entry.

9. Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

A website should regularly perform logging and monitoring tasks because failing to do so leaves it open to more serious compromising activities.

10. Server-Side Request Forgery

When a web application fetches a remote resource without verifying the user-supplied URL, a server-side request forgery (SSRF) may take place. Even when the system is secured, attackers can use this to force the application to send a tailored request to an unexpected location.

OWASP helps organizations enhance their security posture through educational content, methodologies, conferences, and open-source software projects. You’ve known about the 10 vulnerabilities, but how to combat them?

How to Combat the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities

  1. Broken Access Control
  • Build strong access controls using role-based authentication mechanisms
  • Maintain lean servers by shutting down unnecessary services and accounts
  • Sensitive data must not be stored in the root
  1. Cryptographic Failures
  • Encrypt all data at rest using secure and robust encryption algorithms
  • Encrypt all data in transit using the latest, secure protocols like TLS
  • Store passwords using robust, adaptive, and proven hashing functions
  1. Injection
  • Use safe APIs to avoid interpreters completely
  • Use intrusion detection systems to spot suspicious behavior
  • Use LIMIT and other SQL controls within queries
  1. Insecure Design
  • Integrate security right into the SDLC stages and leverage robust security practices
  • Use threat modeling for designing critical features like access controls, authentication, etc.
  • Divide apps into different tiers and find use and misuse cases for each tier
  1. Security Misconfiguration
  • Harden app security using fast, easy to deploy processes
  • Use preconfigured templates to configure development, QA, and production identically
  • Regularly update and patch configurations
  1. Vulnerable and Outdated Components
  • Maintain an updated inventory of all components used in the application with their versions
  • Continuously scan components, libraries, etc. and their dependencies for vulnerabilities
  • Remove unused, legacy, and outdated components
  1. Identification and Authentication Failures
  • Multi-factor authentication is a must
  • Monitor failed login attempts and set limits and delays on the same
  • Strengthen registration and credential recovery processes
  1. Software and Data Integrity Failures
  • Ensure the legitimacy of software/data and its source through digital signature
  • Ensure that libraries and dependencies use trusted repositories
  • Unencrypted serialized data must not be delivered to untrustworthy clients
  1. Security Logging and Monitoring Features
  • Use readily available logging and audit software
  • Ensure the logs are contextual and available in compatible formats
  • Enforce security controls that help prevent the tampering of log data
  1. Server-Side Request Forgery
  • Enforce user-input validation and sanitization
  • Block unwanted incoming traffic using deny-by-default firewall policies
  • Disallow HTTP redirections

Web applications typically rely on several open-source components, where attacks are mostly orchestrated using components with known vulnerabilities. Therefore, understanding the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities is crucial because it gives organizations a priority over which risks to concentrate on and assists them in comprehending, identifying, mitigating, and repairing technological vulnerabilities. In addition, to mitigate these vulnerabilities, applying those steps will absolutely be helpful for organizations in facing the digital era.

OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities in 2021: How to Mitigate Them? (2022, August 19). Indusface. Retrieved from https://www.indusface.com/blog/owasp-top-10-vulnerabilities-in-2021-how-to-mitigate-them/
Parikh, T.P. & Patel, A.R. (2017). Cyber security: Study on Attack, Threat, Vulnerability. International Journal of Research in Modern Engineering and Emerging Technology, Vol. 5, Issue: 6, June: 2017.
What Is the OWASP Top 10 2021 and How Does It Work? | Synopsys. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.synopsys.com/glossary/what-is-owasp-top-10.html

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