The State of OWASP – Hacker Hotshot Web Show

The State of OWASP – Hacker Hotshot Web Show

Henry Dalziel | Hacker Hotshots | July 19, 2013

There are many reoccurring themes within our Hacker Hotshot information security web shows, and one of those is the mention of OWASP, the Open Web Application Security Project. Brief Summary of OWASP OWASP is awesome and if you are developer or programmer or working in the information security business, then you must join. OWASP is an open community with a focus on enabling organizations to ensure that their applications that can be trusted. The fundamental reason why we are advocates is because the community is very giving: indeed all OWASP tools, documents, and materials are available for free to anyone interested in improving application security. Many of our community, speakers, instructors and teachers are members of OWASP and we encourage you to join as well. There are many categories of membership which you can read about here. Worth quickly mentioning here that we have had a lot of web vulnerability speakers this year, here are a few: “Scylla and 1.0 Alpha” with Sergio ‘flacman’ Valderrama, “Sploitego” with Nadeem Douba “Auditing iPhone and iPad applications” with Ilja Van Sprundel, “IronWASP – Open Source Web Security Testing Platform” with Lavakumar Kuppan and “Secure Code Reviews Magic or Art?” with Sherif Koussa. About Michael Coates Not only are we delighted to have a web show dedicated to OWASP but we are also thrilled to have the Michael Coates, the current chair of OWASP present! Frankly there are few people as knowledgeable as Michael with regards to OWASP so, again, if you have even just the faintest interest in information security, particularly web application security then make sure you put August 14th 12 EST in your calendar! (Quick note! If you are reading this post August 14th, hit the same link to watch the recorded video). Michael is the Director of Security Assurance at Mozilla, which by the way is one of our favorite companies of all time. Michael was featured as one of SC Magazine’s 2012 Influential IT security minds, and is a frequent speaker at security events. As well as being the current chair of OWASP Michael is also the creator of OWASP AppSensor, which is a “Real Time Application Attack Detection and Response” project. What will Michael discuss? The title of the presentation is “The State of OWASP” which, as the title suggests, will be an overview of OWASP. We asked Michael to summarize his talk and here are the two learning objectives from this web show:

  • An introduction to OWASP
  • Learn about the OWASP mission of promoting awareness around application security – in over 120 countries worldwide!
  • Learn about free resources and tools from OWASP and how to get involved in the community

Few words on the OWASP Top 10 2013! You will often see reference to the ‘OWASP Top Ten’ which, for those that don’t know, is a chart that represents agreement within the community as to what the most critical web application security flaws currently are.


A1-Injection Injection flaws, such as SQL, OS, and LDAP injection occur when untrusted data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. The attacker’s hostile data can trick the interpreter into executing unintended commands or accessing data without proper authorization.
A2-Broken Authentication and Session Management Application functions related to authentication and session management are often not implemented correctly, allowing attackers to compromise passwords, keys, or session tokens, or to exploit other implementation flaws to assume other users’ identities.
A3-Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) XSS flaws occur whenever an application takes untrusted data and sends it to a web browser without proper validation or escaping. XSS allows attackers to execute scripts in the victim’s browser which can hijack user sessions, deface web sites, or redirect the user to malicious sites.
A4-Insecure Direct Object References A direct object reference occurs when a developer exposes a reference to an internal implementation object, such as a file, directory, or database key. Without an access control check or other protection, attackers can manipulate these references to access unauthorized data.
A5-Security Misconfiguration Good security requires having a secure configuration defined and deployed for the application, frameworks, application server, web server, database server, and platform. Secure settings should be defined, implemented, and maintained, as defaults are often insecure. Additionally, software should be kept up to date.
A6-Sensitive Data Exposure Many web applications do not properly protect sensitive data, such as credit cards, tax IDs, and authentication credentials. Attackers may steal or modify such weakly protected data to conduct credit card fraud, identity theft, or other crimes. Sensitive data deserves extra protection such as encryption at rest or in transit, as well as special precautions when exchanged with the browser.
A7-Missing Function Level Access Control Most web applications verify function level access rights before making that functionality visible in the UI. However, applications need to perform the same access control checks on the server when each function is accessed. If requests are not verified, attackers will be able to forge requests in order to access functionality without proper authorization.
A8-Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) A CSRF attack forces a logged-on victim’s browser to send a forged HTTP request, including the victim’s session cookie and any other automatically included authentication information, to a vulnerable web application. This allows the attacker to force the victim’s browser to generate requests the vulnerable application thinks are legitimate requests from the victim.
A9-Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities Components, such as libraries, frameworks, and other software modules, almost always run with full privileges. If a vulnerable component is exploited, such an attack can facilitate serious data loss or server takeover. Applications using components with known vulnerabilities may undermine application defenses and enable a range of possible attacks and impacts.
A10-Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards Web applications frequently redirect and forward users to other pages and websites, and use untrusted data to determine the destination pages. Without proper validation, attackers can redirect victims to phishing or malware sites, or use forwards to access unauthorized pages.


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