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OWASP Issues Top 10 Web Application Security Risks List

Final version of Top 10, published today, focuses on actual risks versus vulnerabilities
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) today issued the final version of its new Top 10 list of application security risks.

The list, which was first unveiled in November at the OWASP conference, is a departure from OWASP's previous lists, which ranked the most commonly found weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Web applications. OWASP's new list features the most exploitable and likely security risks found in these apps.

OWASP reworked the list to provide developers with more of a reality check and understanding of the real threats, OWASP members say. "This is putting it into perspective...looking at the things that are most likely to be exploited and how useful [this flaw or weakness] would be for an attacker to get access to an application or sensitive information," says Josh Abraham, a member of OWASP who worked on the list and is a security researcher with Rapid7.

The OWASP Top 10 list for 2010 comprises:

    1. injection 2. cross-site scripting (XSS) 3. broken authentication and session management 4. insecure direct object references 5. cross-site request forgery (CSRF) 6. security misconfiguration 7. insecure cryptographic storage 8. failure to restrict URL access 9. insufficient transport layer protection 10. unvalidated redirects and forwards

New to the list are security misconfiguration and unvalidated redirects and forwards, all of which are prevalent today. Web redirects typically steer users to other pages and sites, and when the data for the destination pages isn't properly validated, users can be redirected to phishing or malware sites by attackers.

OWASP's Abraham says security misconfiguration in Web applications is becoming more common because there are so many more configuration options for developers. "If they are left vulnerable, then the attacker can go after weaknesses in the framework," he says.

And he's seeing more unvalidated redirects and forwards in apps. "That affects a lot of different organizations. I'm happy to see that in the list this year," Abraham says.

Dropped from previous OWASP lists are malicious file execution and information leakage/improper error-handling. Malicious file execution is still a problem, but now that PHP ships with default security, it's less of a risk, according to OWASP. And while information leakage/improper error-handling remain rampant vulnerabilities, the impact of them isn't usually as critical.

The OWASP Top 10 report -- available for download here -- also includes how to assess the possibility that your Web application could be at risk of these types of Web attacks, as well as mitigation tips.

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