Feeds

UK.biz lax on web app security

SQL injection problems getting worse

Reducing security risks from open source software

Web application security among UK corporates is getting worse, according to audits carried out by CESG-accredited security consultancy NTA Monitor.

NTA Monitor reports a ten percentage point increase in the total number of web applications found to have at least one high-risk security issue. A quarter (27 per cent) of all web applications tested by the penetration testing firm harboured at least one high risk issue, compared to 17 per cent in the previous year.

Incidents of high-risk security flaws vary widely across industry sectors, with utilities and legal firms doing particularly well at avoiding high-risk vulnerabilities. NTA’s service sector and not-for-profit clients, by contrast, fared badly.

The service sector had the highest number of high risks per test compared to all other sectors.

The latest edition of the annual Web Application Security report identified three types of high risk flaws, defined as vulnerabilities that might allow unauthorised external users to obtain system access, as listed below:

  • SQL injection attacks, which allow attackers to modify the database queries initiated from an application.
  • Cross-site scripting attacks, which creates a means for third-party websites to cause potentially malicious code to be run in a user's browser.
  • Cross-request forgery attacks, a class of flaw that can allow a hostile website to make arbitrary HTTP requests to applications.

Roy Hills, technical director at NTA Monitor, explained: "All user-supplied data should be properly sanitised before returning it to the browser or storing it in a database. This reduces the threat of SQL injection, which is a consistently prevalent high risk throughout 2008 and 2009.

"SQL injection enables attackers to modify the database queries initiated from an application so users can delete, create or update database records."

NTA recommends three key steps that organisations can take to reduce security risks: sanitising user data before returning it to the browser or storing it in a database, switching from a persistent authentication method to a transient authentication method to help prevent cross-request forgery attacks, and applying an account lockout mechanism (to frustrate brute force attacks). ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
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.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.