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Top 10 OWASP Cyber Security Principles : Protect your Business

In this article, we'll look at the Open Web Application Security Project's (OWASP) top ten security principles. Has your company implemented them?

Cyber security is becoming an increasingly important issue for businesses and individuals alike. As more of our personal and professional lives are spent online, the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches continues to rise. To protect ourselves from these threats, it is important to understand the principles of cybersecurity! And take appropriate steps to protect our systems and data.

One of the primary frameworks for understanding cybersecurity is the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). OWASP is a global community of security experts working together to develop and promote best practices in web application security. As part of this effort, OWASP has compiled a list of the top 10 web application security risks.

Let’s start examining the 10 core principles of OWASP and how they can be applied to improve your organization’s cybersecurity:

1. Injection

Injection attacks are one of the most common and dangerous types of cyberattacks. They occur when an attacker manages to inject malicious code into a web application, which can then be executed by the application and cause damage.

Some examples of injection attacks include SQL and XML injections, where an attacker injects malicious code into a web application.

Therefore, to protect against injection attacks, it is important to validate and process input.

2. Broken Authentication and Session Management

Broken authentication and session management refers to vulnerabilities in the way a web application handles user authentication and session management.

These vulnerabilities allow attackers to gain access to confidential information or impersonate legitimate users.

Examples of inadequate authentication and session management include weak passwords, unencrypted session tokens and the use of default or predefined session identifiers.

To protect against these vulnerabilities, it is important to use strong, unique passwords, store all session tokens in encrypted form, and use secure, random session IDs.

3. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

XSS is a type of injection attack that inserts malicious JavaScript code into a web application. XSS attacks can be used to steal sensitive information, manipulate web pages, or launch other attacks.

To protect against XSS attacks, validating and sanitizing input and encrypting output is essential. This includes validating all user input to ensure it is safe. You also want to encrypt potentially dangerous characters and all output to prevent malicious code execution

4. Insecure Direct Object References

Insecure direct object references occur when a web application exposes sensitive data or resources by referencing them directly in the application code. This can allow attackers to gain access to this data or resources even if they are not authorized to do so.

Examples of insecure direct object references are the use of hard-coded database keys or the use of URL parameters to access sensitive data or resources.

To protect against insecure direct object references, it is important to use access control and permissions and avoid exposing sensitive data or resources directly in the application code.

5. Security Misconfiguration

Security misconfiguration refers to vulnerabilities in the way a web application is configured. These vulnerabilities can allow attackers to access sensitive information or compromise the security of the application.

Examples of improper security configuration include the use of default or weak passwords, failure to update the underlying application or operating system, and lack of proper access controls.

To avoid security misconfiguration, it is important to use strong and unique passwords, update the application and operating system, and implement appropriate access controls.

6. Sensitive Data Exposure

Exposure of sensitive data refers to the improper protection of sensitive data, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal information. This can allow attackers to steal or manipulate this data and use it for their own purposes.

Examples of sensitive data exposure include using unencrypted data, storing sensitive data in plain text, or lack of access controls for sensitive data.

7. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

CSRF is a type of attack that involves manipulating a user’s web browser to perform actions on a web application on the user’s behalf. This can allow attackers to access sensitive information, or manipulate the application in ways that are not intentional.

Examples of CSRF attacks include submitting unauthorized transactions or requests, or manipulating user accounts.

8. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

The use of components with known vulnerabilities refers to the use of software or libraries with known security problems. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by attackers to gain access to sensitive information, or to compromise Web application security.

Examples of components with known vulnerabilities include open-source software or libraries that have not been updated to fix known vulnerabilities, or proprietary software that has not been properly tested or patched.

To protect against the use of components with known vulnerabilities, it is essential to keep all software and libraries up-to-date, and to carefully evaluate and test all third-party components before using them in a Web application.

9. Inadequate Logging and Monitoring

To guard against inadequate recording and monitoring, it is important to put in place robust recording and monitoring systems and ensure that these systems are regularly reviewed and maintained.

10. Failure to Restrict URL Access

To protect against failure to restrict URL access, it is important to implement access controls and permissions and ensure that only authorised users can access sensitive pages or resources.

This may involve the use of authentication and authorisation mechanisms and the application of strict access control policies.

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