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BLOG: OWASP's top 10 web app security risks

Jonathan Lampe | Aug. 13, 2013
Compared to the 2010 list, cross-site scripting and cross-site request forgery have dropped in importance, due to wider use of safer scripting libraries.

A7: Missing Function Level Access Control—Virtually all 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 unauthorised functionality.

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—Vulnerable components, such as libraries, frameworks, and other software modules almost always run with full privilege. So, if exploited, they can cause serious data loss or server takeover. Applications using these vulnerable components may undermine their defences 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, malware sites or use forwards to access unauthorised pages.

This is the fourth edition of a list that comes out every three years, and with the limited changes between 2010 and 2013 it is fair to say that OWASP's popular Top Ten list has matured. In addition to the Top 10 list, OWASP sponsors more than a dozen other mature security projects, including the OWASP Enterprise Security API (a.k.a., the "ESAPI" security library), the OWASP WebGoat Project (used as a honeypot or training target), and the OWASP Secure Coding Practices—Quick Reference Guide.

OWASP is also investing in the development of a new lists and resources, such as the OWASP Top 10 Mobile Risks, a new list which is expected to be released soon. 

Jonathan Lampe works with the Infosec Institute.


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