WhiteHat: 90% Websites Have Vulnerabilities

WhiteHat Security issues latest Website security statistics report

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

October 15, 2007

3 Min Read

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- WhiteHat Security, the leading provider of website vulnerability management services, today announced the availability of the third WhiteHat Website Security Statistics Report, which highlights the top 10 vulnerabilities currently affecting organizations. Attacks on websites are on the rise, placing intellectual property, customer data, and brand integrity at risk. Published quarterly beginning in November 2006, the report presents a statistical picture of current website vulnerabilities, accompanied by WhiteHat expert analysis and recommendations. Based on more than a year of data, this is the industry’s only report focused solely on previously unknown vulnerabilities on publicly facing websites.

The WhiteHat Security Statistics Report shows that nine out of 10 websites have serious vulnerabilities that make them targets for malicious online attacks. Cross-site Scripting (XSS) remains the top vulnerability class, appearing in approximately three quarters of websites, while Information Leakage is the top vulnerability class of the overall population. New attack techniques such as XSS-phishing, Intranet Hacking and Web worms may force enterprises to re-evaluate the criticality of XSS on a case-by-case basis. A new addition to WhiteHat’s report includes a comparison of vulnerabilities across vertical markets, including a review of websites from Retail, Healthcare, Financial Services, IT and Insurance industries.

The report statistics were gathered through the deployment of WhiteHat’s Sentinel Service, an outsourced service providing website vulnerability assessments on an ongoing basis. With more than six hundred sites under management, including many of the Fortune 500, WhiteHat has access to an unparalleled amount of security data, which allows the Company to accurately identify which issues are the most prevalent and also trend across major vertical markets. WhiteHat Security uses the Web Application Security Consortium (WASC) Threat Classification as a baseline for classifying vulnerabilities.

Since the last report in April 2007, there has been a noticeable increase in several technical vulnerabilities including XSS, Information Leakage, SQL Injection and HTTP Response Splitting, which can be directly attributed to the discovery of new attack techniques and the improvement in vulnerability identification technology. The report revealed that HTTP Response Splitting has proven to be a hugely misunderstood and underestimated issue, evading most scanning technology since its discovery several years ago. The overall results are startling both in the prevalence and potential consequences of HTTP Response Splitting exploits.

WhiteHat Security also examined the ways in which website vulnerabilities are plaguing various vertical markets, finding that while website security remains generally weak, the retail sector has been performing better than other markets. XSS tops the list of vulnerability classes by vertical, followed closely by Information Leakage. WhiteHat found that while the security posture of some industries is stronger than others, the difference is insignificant when it comes to a website being compromised since hackers only need to exploit a single vulnerability to cause damage.

“We are excited to release our third quarterly risk report and to provide a deeper look into the current state of website security,” said Jeremiah Grossman, founder and chief technology officer at WhiteHat Security. “These statistics continue to reveal recurring and emerging issues that are affecting websites across industries. As increasing amounts of sensitive data are stored online, WhiteHat remains vigilant about alerting companies to common attack methods and emphasizing the importance of website vulnerability management as part of their overall security posture.”

WhiteHat Security

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

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