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
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-2014-4467
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3, does not properly determine scrollbar boundaries during the rendering of FRAME elements, which allows remote attackers to spoof the UI via a crafted web site.

CVE-2014-4476
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4477
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4479
Published: 2015-01-30
WebKit, as used in Apple iOS before 8.1.3; Apple Safari before 6.2.3, 7.x before 7.1.3, and 8.x before 8.0.3; and Apple TV before 7.0.3, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted web site, a different vulner...

CVE-2014-4480
Published: 2015-01-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in afc in AppleFileConduit in Apple iOS before 8.1.3 and Apple TV before 7.0.3 allows attackers to access unintended filesystem locations by creating a symlink.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.