Web application vulnerability scanning involves setting up a program that communicates with your system’s web application via the website’s front end. This scanner program will then interact with the back-end databases and other resources. The goal of this program is to determine if there any vulnerabilities in the web application or architecture. Identifying these vulnerabilities before an issue occurs can save the business money and its reputation.
Major Types of Vulnerabilities
There are 10 major web application security vulnerabilities as defined by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). Many businesses are not protected against these vulnerabilities.
- Injection: An injection flaw allows hackers to send untrusted data or code to an interpreter. This code can fool the interpreter into believing that it’s a real system call. If allowed through, the attacker can access private data or even execute commands.
- Broken Authentication and Session Management: This is a catch-all category that incorporates a variety of security threats that focuses on determining and maintaining a user’s identity.
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): An XSS flaw happens when an application captures and sends untrusted data to a browser without first validating it.
- Insecure Direct Object References: This flaw occurs when a developer unknowingly exposes references to internal implementation objects. Attackers can use this information to access unauthorized data in files, directories or database keys.
- Security Misconfiguration: Poorly configured security controls can allow attackers to access private data, change files or even manipulate your website.
- Sensitive Data Exposure: Failure to properly protect extremely sensitive data like social security numbers, credit cards or credentials could allow attackers to steal or change this information.
- Missing Function Level Access Control: Not all users are supposed to see certain links, buttons or pages. If control checks on the server are not put in place, however, attackers will be able to access these UI functions without proper authorization.
- Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): A CSRF is an attack where a malicious website sends a request to a web application in which a user is already logged into. The attacker can then generate requests, and the application thinks it’s from the authorized user.
- Using Known Vulnerable Components: If a component like a framework or library is not run with full privileges, then attackers can use this vulnerability to access sensitive data.
- Unvalidated Redirects/Forwards: Web applications may redirect or forward users to different pages or websites. If these redirects or forwards are not properly validated, attackers can redirect or forward users to a malicious website or page.
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