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OWASP Top 10 Security Vulnerabilities in 2024: Boost Your Web Application Security

OWASP Top 10  Security Vulnerabilities in 2024: Boost Your Web Application Security

Introduction


With the cyber attacks rising at a breakneck pace, more and more businesses are trying to keep their web applications secure from any loopholes that can lead to cyber crimes. While new technologies have increased the attack surface that hackers can use to execute cyber-attacks, businesses need more sophisticated technical knowledge to counter these attacks. Over the years, organisations like OWASP have perfectly categorised possible vulnerabilities, making the analysts’ tasks much more straightforward.

 

With the new top vulnerability lists released every 3 to 4 years, OWASP has successfully covered all the latest technological advancements in each category that it classifies the vulnerabilities.

OWASP collects information from around 200,000 organisations, which it uses to list the OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities. The list not only informs us about the vulnerabilities but also explains how we can avoid them.


From broken access control to server-side request forgery, OWASP not only informs you about web application vulnerabilities but also gives you words to collaborate and communicate with the cyber security team. Let's look at the top 10 vulnerabilities listed by OWASP. 


Why is the OWASP Top 10 Important?


While dealing extensively with all the vulnerabilities, cybersecurity experts find it daunting and impossible as the list of vulnerabilities can be very long. They will also realise that testing for all vulnerabilities is not feasible. The cyber security vulnerability testing tools like OpenVas and Nessus or Insight VM can test all of them, but explaining each is next to impossible manually. The reports can be generated through tools, but discussing all vulnerabilities can be challenging. Yes, it's essential to test for each vulnerability, but it's wise to test for the top 10 first when it comes to manual penetration testing, as most attacks are likely due to one out of these. Also, as mentioned, meetings and discussions cannot cover all vulnerabilities. Hence, the top list reduces the burden while conducting penetration testing or management-level discussions. Here are some of the advantages that OWASP's top 10 list ensures:


  1. Reduces the number of vulnerabilities to be tested The National Vulnerability Database shows the vulnerability list is hundreds of thousands of rows long. However, the OWASP top 10 list reduces vulnerability to only 10. While the tools, as discussed, can test for all vulnerabilities, organisations still have to execute manual testing processes like penetration testing. Hence, we can focus on the most critical vulnerabilities. It can be a gigantic and cumbersome task for the vulnerability analyst and the penetration tester if they sit back and test for all these vulnerabilities. While the tools will list the possible threats, the OWASP also lists the potential vulnerabilities that can result in the attack through the web applications, eventually increasing the effort required to ensure the organisation's security.

  2. Common Framework The OWASP top 10 list provides a common framework for collaboration and communication between developers and analysts. The framework provides developers with the vocabulary to communicate appropriately with cybersecurity experts.

  3. Promotes  risk awareness OWASP Top 10 can also help in raising security risk awareness. People learn about the risks involved in web applications. Each vulnerability has a risk attached to it, determining the chances of the vulnerability occurring and how much harm it can do. 


OWASP Top 10 Web Application Security Vulnerabilities in 2024

 

1.    Broken Access control


Broken access control is the type of vulnerability where the hacker takes advantage of the weak access control policy or non-implementation of the access control to get hold of access to the data or asset that they should otherwise not have access to. Failure can lead to unauthorised modification, complete data destruction, or business functions outside the permissions. It can be as simple as violating the principle of least privileges or as complex as CORS misconfiguration that allows access for unauthorised and untrusted origins.

 

2.    Cryptographic failure


This vulnerability was previously known as sensitive data exposure. Things like lack of encryption and gaps in security due to weak cryptography algorithms are included in this category. Protocols like HTTP, FTP, or SMTP transfer the data in clear text during transit and lack encryption. Sometimes, the server certificates need to be correctly validated. Sometimes, the initialisation vectors need to be generated sufficiently and are ignored or reused for the cryptographic mode of operation. Sometimes, an insecure mode of operation like ECB is used. The ECB and others mentioned above can lead to cryptographic failure. 


3.    Injection Vulnerabilities


In this kind of vulnerability, the hackers inject the malicious codes into the application controls like text boxes and relay the malicious code through the application to get access to the other system for malicious activities. The user's data must be validated, filtered, or sanitised. Hostile data can be used in ORM search parameters to extract additional, sensitive data. As mentioned, injection vulnerabilities happen with SQL, NOSQL, LDAP, Expression Language, OS command, or the ORM. Data inputs like headers, SOAP, XML, JSON, URL or cookies must be tested. SAST (static application security testing), DAST (Dynamic application security testing) and IAST(Interactive application security testing) should be employed so that the injection flaws are identified before the application is deployed.

   

4.    Insecure Design


These occur during the design phase, where developers must follow a standard pattern, such as not including input validation. However, things are more challenging than this. The design flaws can be due to architectural flaws, a lack of security controls, or a failure to follow best practices.

 

5.    Security misconfiguration


This vulnerability can occur if an application or the system is not configured correctly, as we do not update the default settings. Such vulnerabilities are described under the security misconfiguration. The category is as complex as configuration management in computer science. The system and the application configuration should be reviewed regularly and updated so that they do not lead to any cyber-attacks.


6.    Vulnerable and Outdated components


Sometimes, third-party software or components can become vulnerable as the developers no longer support them and must be updated. Such components pose a severe threat and can lead to cyber-attacks. Lack of updating and upgrading can lead to these kinds of vulnerabilities.

 

7.    Identification and Authentication


This generally occurs when the system cannot identify and authenticate the users correctly and allows malicious users to enter the system. Things like credential stuffing, where common passwords can be collected, or weakly hashed passwords can lead to these vulnerabilities.

 

8.    Software and data integrity failure


We will mention that we have an infrastructure or software that allows the modification or alteration of data without authorisation. Things like downloading code without integrity checks, including functionality from the untrusted control sphere, or deserialising untrusted data can lead to security risks. By deserialising untrusted data, we mean converting serialised objects into their original form, which can lead to security risks. All of these can lead to integrity violations. Various applications have an auto-update option, and updates can be migrated without an integrity violation, which leads to these kinds of vulnerabilities. 


9.    Security logging and monitoring failures


These vulnerabilities occur when a system or application cannot log or monitor security events correctly. Insufficient logging, detection, and monitoring of active response can lead to these kinds of vulnerabilities. Moreover, leakage of logging and alerting events to the attackers can also result in vulnerabilities in this category.


10.  Server-side request forgery


These security exploits let an attacker abuse the server functionality to access or modify the resources. These occur when a remote resource is fetched without validating the user-supplied URL. Modern web applications provide convenient methods for fetching URLs. Hence, the incidence of SSRF is increasing. The complexity of architecture and the increasing dominance of cloud services are leading to an even further increase in the probability of SSRF.  


Conclusion


The list of top 10 vulnerabilities can reduce the burden on an organisation’s security team. While there are more than 100,000 vulnerabilities, the above list narrows it down to merely a group of the top 10 vulnerabilities, which saves not only time but also helps analysts quickly find the reason for the cyber attacks. While vulnerability testing tools can test all vulnerabilities, even now, in modern times, organisations conduct manual penetration testing to check the cybersecurity of their network, and this process helps find vulnerabilities that sometimes automated testing cannot see. That makes listings like OWASP top 10 essential. At Syngis Software Development, we implement SAST, DAST, and IAST in our coding process and consider OWASP top 10 seriously, making our final product cyber secure. We understand even a single loophole can be costly, and we believe in respecting the security requirements of our clients. Contact us today for a 100% secure web application for your esteemed business.

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