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Understanding the OWASP Top 10 Web Application Risks

Understanding the OWASP Top 10 Web Application Risks
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Whoever you talk to about application security, it is almost inevitable that part of the discussion will also focus on the top 10 security risks of OWASP web applications.  For those who are not familiar with OWASP, this article gives a brief overview of the organization and mentions 10 important risks that have become the embodiment of the application security framework.  OWASP refers to the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and its mission is to enable organizations to design, build, acquire, operate, and maintain trusted applications.

OWASP compiled the top 10 list in 2003 and has been updating it every two to three years since then.  The latest version of the top 10 vulnerabilities in web applications was released in 2017.  OWASP describes the purpose of this list as follows:

Companies should accept this document and initiate a process to ensure that their web applications minimize these risks. Using the OWASP Top 10 is perhaps the most effective first step in transforming your organization’s software development culture into a culture that produces more secure code.

The list includes the most common vulnerabilities in web applications such as injections and cross-site scripting (XSS), the two most common vulnerabilities used in attacks today, as reported in the Verizon Breach Incident Report (VBIR).  The list also includes other vulnerabilities that organizations need to be aware of, as well as items on the list to ensure that known vulnerabilities are resolved (by ensuring that components with known vulnerabilities are not used), to check for incorrect configurations, and to ensure that applications are properly logged and monitored.

The Top 10 project has become a reference standard for application security and is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to understand application security.  If you are looking for an application security solution, you will often find that advertised applications contain features that protect you against the top ten OWASP risks.  Make sure the security solution you choose protects you from at least the OWASP Top 10.

OWASP has expanded its activities to many other aspects of application security, with the exception of the Top 10 for which it is known.  For example, for the audit, OWASP developed the project under which the Facility Safety Audit Standard was developed, aimed at organizations that need safety support in the development and support phases of the facility. The standard defines three levels of security audit for organizations and allows organizations to apply these levels depending on the security level of their application.

OWASP also has a project that provides a Security Testing Guide, also known as the Web Security Testing Guide, which is another major resource for organizations that need help with application security. It describes the necessary steps of the test structure and explains the different test methods with their advantages and disadvantages.

OWASP also has a project at Github that provides cheat sheets on various security themes. The aim of the project is to provide manufacturers with the best safety practices to secure their applications.  The cheat sheets contain practical steps for developers, with details on how to avoid vulnerabilities, steps for code review, and security testing recommendations.

There are other projects that deserve attention, but the last project I mention in this blogpost is Web goat. WebGoat is a deliberately insecure application that allows developers to test for vulnerabilities that are common in Java applications that use common and popular open-source components.  Web goat was created with the idea that web application security is difficult to learn and practice and that those who try to learn usually do not have access to web applications that can be used to search for vulnerabilities. In addition, security professionals often need to test security tools on a platform that is known to be vulnerable, to make sure they work as advertised. Webgott offers this platform.

If you are unfamiliar with RASP (Runtime Application Self-Protection), now might be a good time to learn about RASP to protect your applications from OWASP’s Top 10 web application risks.  The recent completion of Revision 5 of PS800-53 by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requires federal government organizations and those working with the federal government to begin studying and integrating Revision 5 of PS800-53 into the latter structure.

RASP solutions, such as K2 Cyber Security, provide significant application protection with minimal resource consumption and minimum operational lead time.  The K2 security platform uses deterministic runtime protection to monitor the application and has in-depth knowledge of application management, DNA, and execution flow.  By checking the application control wires, the deterministic security relies on the application itself, not on previous attacks, to determine a zero-day attack.  Deterministic security detects complex zero-day attacks and protects applications from the risks listed in the top ten OWASPs, including XSS and SQL injection.

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K2 new generation application workload protection meets today’s requirements for runtime safety with a simple and easy to implement the solution.  K2’s unique deterministic defense recognizes new attacks without relying on knowledge of previous attacks, is light, and increases the waiting time of a running application by less than a millisecond.  To quickly resolve vulnerabilities, K2 also provides detailed telemetry of the attack, including the code module and the line number in the attacked code, while integrating with large firewalls to block attackers in real-time.

Change the way you protect your applications and check out K2’s web and application security solution.

To find out more about K2, request a demo or a free trial.