Feeds

UK.biz flunks app security tests

Risky business

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Weak encryption or cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities remain a big problem for UK firms. Tests on web application security by UK penetration testing firm NTA Monitor on its clients uncovered problems in three out of five cases.

Furthermore, more than three quarters (78 per cent) of websites tested contained one or more medium level risks that may enable external users to gain unauthorised access or disrupt service availability.

The findings form part of the latest edition of NTA’s Annual Web Application Security Report, which analysed data gathered from web application security tests performed for a wide range of industry sectors including finance, government, education, IT, law and retail.

Roy Hills, technical director at NTA Monitor, described web applications as the Achilles' heel of many organisations. "Web applications are commonly the most vulnerable part of an organisation's network, as they necessarily allow internet users to input and access data," Hills explained. "Content and design is frequently altered in order to keep up with the demand for new features and functionality, but even simple changes could produce a new vulnerability that may threaten confidential information."

Weak SSL encryption vulnerabilities may cause sessions to be compromised. Cross-site scripting allows attackers to bypass access controls, such as the same origin policy. Attacks based on the class on vulnerability typically allow malicious JavaScript from hackers, served up over the web, to execute in a computer's local zone.

NTA recommends three key procedures that organisations can follow to reduce their risk:

  • Apply a hardening and patching procedure to all Internet facing web servers.
  • Strong encryption (128 bit SSL) should be used for all sensitive details, such as credit card numbers and passwords.
  • All user-supplied data should be properly sanitised before returning it to the browser or storing it in a database.

®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.