Proactive Controls for Developing Secure Web Applications


It’s highly likely that access control requirements take shape throughout many layers of your application. For example, when pulling data from the database in a multi-tenant SaaS application, where you need to ensure that data isn’t accidentally exposed for different users. Another example is the question of who is authorized to hit APIs that your web application provides. The OWASP Top Ten is a standard awareness document for developers and web application security. It represents a broad consensus about the most critical security risks to web applications. As we unravel the OWASP Top 10, it becomes clear that addressing vulnerabilities in application security is only part of the challenge.

owasp top 10 proactive controls

Equally critical is the management of software supply chains – a complex task, given the extensive use of open source software used in contemporary application development. As a non-profit organization, OWASP stays dedicated to bolstering the safety of web applications on a global scale. With a commitment to accessibility, the organization provides freely available materials, including tools, methodologies, and guidelines, allowing users to enhance their web application security.

#4 Insecure design

When evaluating access control capability of software frameworks, ensure that your access control functionality will allow for customization for your specific access control feature need. Secure access to databases can help thwart injection attacks, which are on the OWASP Top 10 list, and weak server-side control flaws, which are on the OWASP Mobile Top 10 list of vulnerabilities. Developers writing an app from scratch often don’t have the time, knowledge, or budget to implement security properly. Using secure coding libraries and software frameworks can help address the security goals of a project. First, you need to find and choose the requirements for your software.

  • Arising from flawed code, malware infections, or inside threats, the repercussions range from corrupted databases to compromised application functionality.
  • This can be a very difficult task and developers are often set up for failure.
  • Be wary of systems that do not provide granular access control configuration capabilities.
  • Throughout the session, you will get a good overview of common security issues.
  • The risks are always used as a baseline to test against when conducting any vulnerability or penetration tests.
  • For example, don’t log sensitive information such as passwords, session IDs, credit cards, and Social Security numbers.

A component, in this case, was added at some point in the past, and the developers do not have a mechanism to check for security problems and update their software components. Sometimes developers unwittingly download parts that come built-in with known security issues. An injection is when input not validated properly is sent to a command interpreter. The input is interpreted as a command, processed, and performs an action at the attacker’s control.

A02:2021 – Cryptographic Failures¶

The Proactive Controls are a well established list of security controls, first published in 2014so considering these controls can be seen as best practice. Completing the list of OWASP’s top concerns, SSRF exploits can lead to full server takeovers in specific scenarios, depending on permissions and functionalities exposed. The risk lies in the server making requests on behalf of the attacker, accessing internal resources usually shielded from external actors. Critical to ensuring data accuracy, consistency, and unaltered states during its lifecycle, software and data integrity failures occur when these measures falter. Situated at number 8 in the OWASP Top 10, these failures signify tampering with data, either inadvertently due to bugs or deliberately by malicious entities. Whatever story you come up with to stick the image onto the location works as long as it is memorable.

  • REV-ing up imagery to make mnemonic representations of information requires some practice.
  • Attribute or feature-based access control checks of this nature are the starting point to building well-designed and feature-rich access control systems.
  • Addressing these OWASP-identified failures is paramount, as robust logging and proactive monitoring are foundational to effectively understanding and counteracting cyber threats.
  • With an extensive community of contributors along with committees and working groups, OWASP aims to create a more secure web for everyone.

Sometimes though, secure defaults can be bypassed by developers on purpose. So, I’ll also show you how to use invariant enforcement to make sure that there are no unjustified deviations from such defaults across the full scope of your projects. Authentication is used to verify that a user is who they claim to be.

Validate all the things: improve your security with input validation!

The OWASP Top 10 Proactive Controls is similar to the OWASP Top 10 but is focused on defensive techniques and controls as opposed to risks. Each technique or control in this document will map to one or more items in the risk based OWASP Top 10. This mapping information is included at the end of each control description. However, development managers, product owners, Q/A professionals, program managers, and anyone involved in building software can also benefit from this document. OWASP Top 10 Proactive Controls describes the most important control and control categories that every architect and developer should absolutely, 100% include in every project.

  • A failure is when either of these actions is not performed correctly.
  • The following “positive” access control design requirements should be considered at the initial stages of application development.
  • OWASP Top 10 Proactive Controls contains security techniques that should be included in every software development project.
  • Secure access to databases can help thwart injection attacks, which are on the OWASP Top 10 list, and weak server-side control flaws, which are on the OWASP Mobile Top 10 list of vulnerabilities.
  • The list goes on from injection attacks protection to authentication, secure cryptographic APIs, storing sensitive data, and so on.

He works at a crossroads of technical writing, developer advocacy, software development, and open source. He aims to get developers and non-technical collaborators to work well together via experimentation, feedback, and iteration so they can build the right software. Moreover, the Sonatype Platform seamlessly integrates these solutions, offering comprehensive software supply chain management. It provides a unified approach to manage open source risks, ensuring that your SDLC remains secure, compliant, and efficient.

Write more secure code with the OWASP Top 10 Proactive Controls

As a seasoned educator in security, Jim teaches software developers how to write secure code, and has provided developer training for SANS and WhiteHat Security among others. A prominent OWASP project named Application Security Verification Standard—often referred to as OWASP ASVS for short—provides over two-hundred different requirements for building secure web application software. As software becomes the foundation of our digital—and sometimes even physical—lives, owasp top 10 proactive controls software security is increasingly important. But developers have a lot on their plates and asking them to become familiar with every single vulnerability category under the sun isn’t always feasible. Even for security practitioners, it’s overwhelming to keep up with every new vulnerability, attack vector, technique, and mitigation bypass. Developers are already wielding new languages and libraries at the speed of DevOps, agility, and CI/CD.


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