Perimeter
11/30/2012
05:09 PM
Gunnar Peterson
Gunnar Peterson
Commentary
50%
50%

IAM: The Reason Why OWASP Top 10 Doesn't Change

OWASP's AppSec conference is easily one of the best in the infosec industry. Where will it be held this year? Why not Punxsutawney?

OWASP's AppSec conference is easily one of the best in the infosec industry. Where will it be held this year? Why not Punxsutawney?

Some years ago, Chris Hoff asked why the OWASP Top 10 doesn't change. Yes, Appsec feels like Groundhog Day, but it's not because the people at OWASP are sitting on their hands. The OWASP Top 10 catalogs the top Web vulnerabilities that all applications face, and it's reviewed and updated on a regular basis. But Hoff is right: It mostly does not change.

To refresh your memory, here is the OWASP Top 10 for 2010:

    1. Injection (e.g. SQL Injection)
    2. Cross-Site Scripting
    3. Broken Authentication and Session Management
    4. Insecure Direct Object Reference
    5. Cross-Site Request Forgery
    6. Security Misconfiguration
    7. Insecure Cryptographic Storage
    8. Failure to Restrict URL Access
    9. Insufficient Transport Layer Protection
    10. Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards
After pondering this, I think I have come on a reason why, fundamentally, it does not change. The top two issues, injection (like SQL Injection) and XSS, both have to do with defensive programming. Developers are simply not trained and, consequently, do not know how to avoid these errors. There are fixes available, but they often go unimplemented.

But those are two of the top 10. What about the other eight? Here it's clear that poor identity and access management patterns and practice are a leading factor.

Broken Authentication, Session Management, and Insufficient Transport Layer Protection have been in the OWASP Top 10 for the past decade: They are all examples of authentication vulnerabilities.

Likewise, Insecure Direct Object Reference, Cross-Site Request Forgery, and Failure to Restrict URL Access -- all authorization vulnerabilities -- have spent the past decade in the OWASP Top 10. The 2010 edition of the Top 10 added another authorization vulnerability, Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards.

Where does this leave us? The majority of issues (six of 10) in the OWASP Top 10 are a direct result of identity and access management failures. If you want to escape AppSec Groundhog Day, then you have to change your focus. Addressing IAM architecture, strengthening authentication, and ensuring authorization coverage are not compliance issues or just architecture issues. They are core security concerns that need need your attention.

Gunnar Peterson is a Managing Principal at Arctec Group Gunnar Peterson (@oneraindrop) works on AppSec - Cloud, Mobile and Identity. He maintains a blog at http://1raindrop.typepad.com. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, January 2015
To find and fix exploits aimed directly at your business, stop waiting for alerts and become a proactive hunter.
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7402
Published: 2014-12-17
Multiple unspecified vulnerabilities in request.c in c-icap 0.2.x allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via a crafted ICAP request.

CVE-2014-5437
Published: 2014-12-17
Multiple cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerabilities in ARRIS Touchstone TG862G/CT Telephony Gateway with firmware 7.6.59S.CT and earlier allow remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that (1) enable remote management via a request to remote_management.php,...

CVE-2014-5438
Published: 2014-12-17
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in ARRIS Touchstone TG862G/CT Telephony Gateway with firmware 7.6.59S.CT and earlier allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the computer_name parameter to connected_devices_computers_edit.php.

CVE-2014-7170
Published: 2014-12-17
Race condition in Puppet Server 0.2.0 allows local users to obtain sensitive information by accessing it in between package installation or upgrade and the start of the service.

CVE-2014-7285
Published: 2014-12-17
The management console on the Symantec Web Gateway (SWG) appliance before 5.2.2 allows remote authenticated users to execute arbitrary OS commands by injecting command strings into unspecified PHP scripts.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.