OWASP Top 10 is an industry-standard risk assessment standard for web applications. It helps identify potential security risks and controls in software. However, while it’s great at identifying known vulnerabilities and risks, it doesn’t always account for the new attack vectors and risk factors that are becoming more common in modern web applications.
Additionally, OWASP only covers a small portion of the security risks that you need to be aware of as a developer. That’s why you should also use other tools such as static code analysis to supplement your OWASP testing. You might even want to combine them into one security testing suite so you can get the most out of both tools. Let’s take a look at some of the limitations of OWASP top 10 assessment and how you can use it most effectively.
OWASP is Light on Content Security Management (CMS)
One of the most important topics that OWASP doesn’t cover is content security management. This is the process of managing and controlling the distribution and access of content through the CMS. If a CMS doesn’t have some level of security built in, then it’s pretty much useless when it comes to handling sensitive data or protecting your customers.
We’ve seen this happen quite a lot in the past decade. Companies get a CMS installed and start publishing content, but there’s no security built into the system. There are no mechanisms to protect against malicious users and no controls in place to make sure the right people can access the right information. This is a significant oversight from OWASP and one that could be solved through more CMS-focused guidelines and recommendations.
It Doesn’t Identify All SQL Injection Vulnerabilities
No matter how skilled you are at identifying and avoiding SQL injection, it’s an inevitable reality that you will eventually end up with an injection in your code. It’s less of a question of “if” and more of a question of “when”. That’s why it’s crucial that you know what to do if and when it happens. Unfortunately, OWASP doesn’t catch all SQL injection vulnerabilities.
It’s great at identifying some of the most common types of SQL injection, but it’s dangerous to assume that it catches all of the possible vulnerabilities that could exist in your code. That’s why you need to make sure your security testing suite checks for all SQL injection vulnerabilities. You should also use static code analysis to ensure that you don’t forget any crucial vulnerabilities that are more difficult to detect.
You Don’t Catch Infrastructure Vulnerabilities
If you’ve been in security for a while, you can’t help but notice how much emphasis is put on web application security. It’s understandable since web applications are the primary entry point for many attackers, but it’s important to realize that there are other attack vectors that need your attention. In particular, you need to be aware of the vulnerabilities that may exist in your infrastructure.
These are things like misconfigurations, default credentials, and other weaknesses that may exist in your network or hardware. If you don’t have proper tools and mechanisms to monitor your network, then you won’t even know if there’s a problem in the first place. That’s why you need tools that can check your network for vulnerabilities.
Understanding the Limitations of OWASP Top 10 Assessment
It’s important to understand the limitations of OWASP top 10 assessment so that you can use it in the most effective way possible. This will allow you to make the most out of your security testing, avoid false positives and prioritizing vulnerability mitigation. The best way to do this is to use OWASP top 10 assessment as a first step, in combination with other types of security testing.
This will help you identify more serious vulnerabilities that you might otherwise miss. For example, you can use OWASP to identify potential SQL injection vulnerabilities and use static code analysis to check for the actual SQL injection vulnerabilities. In this way, you can cover more ground than either OWASP or static code analysis alone.
There are a few limitations of OWASP top 10 assessment that you need to be aware of. This includes not covering content security management, not identifying all SQL injection vulnerabilities, not catching all XSS vulnerabilities, not catching broken links and not catching all infrastructure vulnerabilities. Regardless, it remains a valuable standard for web application testing and risk assessment. You just need to make sure you supplement it with other types of security testing as well. Ideally, perform a due diligence on your technology stack and choose only software provider that ensure secure coding best practices.