Are you a website owner or developer looking to protect your web application in 2022? If so, you’ve probably heard of the OWASP mobile top 10. But do you know what they are and why they are important? This article provides an overview of the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities and how to protect your web application from them. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can be proactive about keeping your website secure.
What is the OWASP Top 10?
The OWASP Top 10 is a comprehensive list of the top security risks facing web applications. It was created by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), an international non-profit focused on improving software security. The list is updated annually and in 2022, the latest version will be released. The OWASP Top 10 helps organizations identify and prioritize the most critical web application security risks, so they can take action to protect their applications.
How the OWASP Top 10 is Created?
The OWASP Top 10 is created by an open community of web security experts. A survey is conducted each year to collect data on the most commonly exploited vulnerabilities, and then a panel of experts analyzes this data to identify the 10 most critical security risks. The panel also provides recommendations on how to best protect against each risk. Once the risks are agreed upon, the list is finalized and becomes the official OWASP Top 10.
The OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities for 2022
The OWASP Top 10 for 2022 has been released and the ten most critical vulnerabilities are:
Injection: Injection attacks occur when an attacker injects malicious code into web applications through user input.
Broken Authentication: Broken authentication flaws can occur when user accounts, passwords, and session tokens are not properly protected.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): XSS is when malicious scripts are injected into public websites, allowing attackers to control parts of the page and redirect users to malicious sites.
Security Misconfigurations: Application security misconfigurations happen when an application has not been configured securely, which could lead to sensitive data exposure.
Sensitive Data Exposure: Sensitive data exposure is when an application is not secure and malicious users can access or take control of sensitive data.
Insufficient Logging & Monitoring: An application that does not have sufficient logging and monitoring capabilities can easily fall victim to malicious activity.
XML External Entities (XXE): XXE is an attack where a malicious user exploits an application’s XML processing capabilities to access external resources, exposing sensitive data.
Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities: Components such as libraries, frameworks, and software packages may have known vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain unauthorized access to the application.
Deserialization of Untrusted Data: Deserialization is when an application takes an untrusted data input (such as a web form) and converts it into an object, which can then be exploited.
Insufficient API Security: API security is often neglected and can be easily exploited to gain access to sensitive data.
Understanding the Common Mistakes and Why Each of These Matters
One of the key mistakes organizations make is not properly securing their web applications, which can lead to these top 10 vulnerabilities. It’s important to understand why each of these vulnerabilities matters and how they can be exploited.
Injection attacks, for example, occur when attackers inject malicious code into an application. Attackers do this by exploiting user input fields, such as form fields and URL parameters, to gain access to an application’s data and functionality. This type of attack is most commonly used to steal important information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
Broken authentication flaws can expose user accounts, passwords and session tokens, leaving them vulnerable to attack. This type of attack is often used to hijack user accounts or access sensitive data.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks take advantage of vulnerabilities in websites to inject malicious code, which can be used to steal users’ data or perform other malicious activities. This type of attack is often used to spread malware or conduct phishing attacks.
How to Protect Yourself?
Now that you have a better understanding of the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, you are probably wondering how to protect yourself. The first step is to ensure that your web applications are properly configured and secured. This means setting up strong authentication and access control mechanisms, as well as making sure all data is properly encrypted.
You should also keep your applications up-to-date and actively monitor them for any unusual activity. Finally, make sure you conduct regular security tests to identify any potential weak points and take swift action to fix them.
By following these best practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to any of the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities in 2022.
1. Injection Flaws
2. Broken Authentication
Broken authentication vulnerabilities can allow attackers to gain unauthorized access to accounts and confidential information. This is typically due to weak passwords, inadequate authentication protocols, and/or insecure session cookies. To mitigate these risks, businesses should ensure that they have strong authentication mechanisms in place, and regularly monitor user activity.
3. Security Misconfiguration
Security misconfiguration is the most common and one of the most severe vulnerabilities on the list. This occurs when businesses are careless and/or unaware of their security settings, allowing attackers to exploit weak configurations. To prevent these types of vulnerabilities, businesses must be diligent about their security settings and regularly monitor them for potential misconfigurations.
4. Cross-site Scripting (XSS)
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities occur when an attacker can inject malicious scripts into a website, allowing the attacker to manipulate, monitor, or steal information from the affected user. These types of vulnerabilities can be prevented by accurately validating user input and using various techniques to prevent the injection of malicious scripts.
5. Insecure Deserialization
Insecure deserialization occurs when an application is not properly validating and sanitizing user input that is used to deserialize objects. This can allow attackers to inject malicious code, disclose sensitive information, bypass authentication protocols, or even remotely execute code. To mitigate these risks, businesses should properly validate and sanitize user input and always use secure communications.
6. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
When businesses use third-party components in their applications or websites, they may be exposed to vulnerabilities and exploits that the third party has not yet patched or even identified. To avoid these risks, businesses should always stay up-to-date with third-party components and be proactive about monitoring them for known vulnerabilities.
7. Insufficient Logging and Monitoring
Businesses must be diligent and proactive in their logging and monitoring, as this is the only way to ensure that they are aware of any suspicious or malicious activity, such as unauthorized login attempts. To avoid these risks, businesses should implement robust logging and monitoring processes, keep up-to-date records, and regularly review their log data for any potential threats.
8. Sensitive Data Exposure
Sensitive data, such as customer information, must always be adequately protected, otherwise, attackers may be able to exploit this data for malicious purposes. To protect sensitive data, businesses should always use secure encryption protocols and only allow authorised individuals to access confidential data.
9. Unprotected APIs
In today’s world, APIs are increasingly being used to interact with web applications. However, these APIs are often not adequately protected, leaving them exposed to potentially malicious actors. To protect these APIs, businesses must make sure to implement robust authentication and authorization protocols and ensure that they are regularly updated.
10. Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards
Unvalidated redirects and forwards are amongst the most dangerous of the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities 2022. These types of vulnerabilities can occur when an application takes a user-provided parameter and redirects them to an unverified URL. This can have serious implications, as malicious actors may be able to take advantage of this and redirect users to malicious websites. To prevent this, businesses must always validate any user-provided parameters before processing them.
Being aware of the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities 2022 is essential for businesses to ensure their applications are secure. Knowing and understanding the risks posed by each of these vulnerabilities can help you to protect your business and customer data from potentially malicious actors. Adopting best practices, such as validating and sanitizing user inputs, using secure encryption protocols, and implementing robust logging and monitoring processes, can help to ensure that your applications are safe and secure.