Data security threats and hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the day. Therefore, the media is often reporting massive data breaches and hacking attempts on both large and small organizations across the world. The security and integrity of our financial, defense, healthcare, and other important infrastructure are often undermined by insecurely developed and maintained web and mobile applications. Software developers are working tirelessly to address security vulnerabilities in their products but as applications become increasingly complicated and more connected via the Internet, security risks have also increased exponentially. Developers can no longer afford to ignore even the simplest security issue in their software products.
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) publishes a list of the top 10 web applications security risks every few years. The organization’s goals and mission are to empower individuals and organizations across the globe with concrete information on software security risks.
Based on OWASPs latest analysis, here are the top 10 security risks that every software developer should already be aware of.
1. Injection Attacks
Injection attacks are generally all types of vulnerabilities that allow malicious data sent as a query or command to reach a user’s system. Examples of injection attacks include SQL, OS, LDAP, and other vulnerabilities. SQL and other injection attacks can detect and exploit weaknesses in applications and cause severe technical or operational damage. Managers and developers can protect their software and systems from injection attacks by doing regular reviews of their source code using tools such as DAST and SAST.
2. Broken Authentication
Broken authentication is another common security risk with easy exploitability, high prevalence, and severe technical impact. It occurs when the identification and session management functions of an application don’t work properly. In a broken authentication scenario, a hacker gains access to the user’s system by compromising the applications keys, passwords, and session tokens to act as an authenticated user.
The most effective way of preventing broken authentication attacks is by using multi-factor authentication. You can add more identification steps to prevent the use of stolen credentials to access the system. It also helps to limit the number of failed login attempts and double-checking weak passwords to mitigate such risks.
3. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Risks
XSS breaches occur when your application accepts data from untrusted sources and sends it to your web browser before it has done proper validation. The attacker can then execute scripts in the victim’s browser and cause damages or inconveniences such as hijacking user sessions or redirecting the user to a malicious website.
4. Direct Object Reference Risks
This type of risk happens when a developer reveals a reference to a file, database key, or any other internal implementation object that an attacker can manipulate to gain access to protected data. You can avoid such problems by implementing efficient access control checks and other data access protection measures.
5. Security Misconfiguration
The importance of a secure well-defined and deployed configuration for all your applications can never be overstated. Without it, your applications, web server, database server, frameworks, and the entire platform will be at risk of hacking attacks. Security misconfiguration vulnerabilities can be avoided by defining, implementing, and maintaining secure settings. Keep in mind that most default settings for applications are often insecure. Your software should also be updated at all times to address vulnerability issues.
6. Exposure of Sensitive Data
Whether by social engineering or poor data security practices, sensitive data exposure can cause massive losses to any organization regardless of its size. You’d be surprised by the number of organizations that don’t provide sufficient protection to sensitive information such as customer credit card details and authentication credentials. Such information in the hands of a hacker can cause massive irreparable damage. Implement extra protection measures such as strong encryption to safeguard sensitive information.
7. Lack of Function Level Access Control
Web applications are normally configured to verify function level access permissions before making the application visible in the user interface. The same access control process is also required on the server side too. Without proper verification and control, hackers can forge requests and access sensitive data in your system.
8. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
This type of attack forces the victim’s logged-on browser to send to another vulnerable application a forged HTTP request complete with the victim’s cookie session and other authentication data. The victim’s browser generates forged requests that appear to be legitimate to the vulnerable application.
9. Use of Vulnerable Components
There are instances where servers are taken over by malicious hackers or sensitive data leaked simply because of the use of vulnerable frameworks, libraries, and software modules. All software and other components should always run with full privileges. Run penetration tests regularly to identify and address vulnerabilities.
10. Insecure Forwards and Redirects
Many web applications normally forward or redirect users to other web pages, sometimes using untrusted data to define the destination website. Attackers can exploit this weakness and redirect users to malware or phishing sites.
Importance of Risk Prevention and Management Training and Certification
Application developers must stay updated with the latest trends and skills in web and software security by undergoing continuous training. They must learn different types and concepts of application security through programs such as the Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) training program. The CASE program is developed by a partnership of top application and software experts in the world.
The CASE training program prepares software professionals with hands-on skills and knowledge on developing and deploying secure applications. With CASE certification you achieve immediate credibility as a software security expert, acquire pertinent knowledge in application security, and gain a multifaceted skillset that can be used on diverse platforms including mobile, web, and IoT devices. You gain the necessary skills to better protect and defend applications used by individuals and organizations.
Visit https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/certified-application-security-engineer-case/ to learn more about Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE) training program and its role in making the world a safer place for businesses and all forms of communication.