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Defend Against Owasp’s Access Control Threats

By Tom Seest

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to OWASP Broken Access Control?

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Cybersecurity experts cite OWASP’s broken access control vulnerabilities as a leading cause of data breaches and leaks. These highly-rated vulnerabilities are rare but still have devastating repercussions.
Designing and managing access controls is a complex and dynamic task that integrates legal, organizational, and business logic into an application’s technology stack. This challenge becomes even more intricate as more modern security standards and best practices become prevalent.

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to OWASP Broken Access Control?

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to OWASP Broken Access Control?

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to Owasp Broken Access Control?

Broken access control is a security hole in web applications that enables an attacker to view sensitive information or resources without authorization. This can be accomplished through bypassing authentication, ineffective session management, and lack of access control checks on APIs.
OWASP recommends organizations conduct an assessment of their web application and implement proper security controls to protect against vulnerabilities. These measures include proper session management, strong authentication/access control, as well as secure coding practices.
One type of OWASP, broken access control vulnerability, is an IDOR (Insecure Direct Object Reference). This flaw occurs when an attacker can alter user input to access different parts of the application by altering a parameter within a URL, for instance.
Another OWASP-related broken access control vulnerability occurs when an application fails to properly restrict functions based on a user’s role. For example, a regular user shouldn’t have the ability to add new users to the system. Without such protections in place, an attacker could gain unauthorized access to your system by adding users and gaining administrator privileges.
This can lead to breaches in which hackers steal sensitive data, commit identity theft, or cause other harm. Therefore, it is critical to identify and address these vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious actors.
OWASP also recommends organizations perform crowdsourced penetration testing to detect these vulnerabilities. Synack offers this service to its customers, which is performed by experienced SRT members with access to Synack’s platform and tools.
In addition to OWASP’s broken access control vulnerabilities, hackers may exploit several other types of security flaws. These include misconfigurations, lack of security logging and monitoring processes, as well as injection vulnerabilities.
OWASP reports that 94% of applications tested by them contain some sort of security flaw that is easy to discover and exploit. This occurs because most access control schemes aren’t intentionally designed to guard against hackers; rather, they develop over time as the web application becomes increasingly used. In the end, these flaws can lead to significant security breaches, which have a detrimental impact on business operations as well as reputation.

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to Owasp Broken Access Control?

Are Your Systems Vulnerable to Owasp Broken Access Control?

Are You Protected? Exploring the Dangers of OWASP’s Top 10 Vulnerabilities

The OWASP Top 10 is a widely recognized and respected list of the most significant web application security risks. Businesses use it as a priority list to focus on pressing concerns first, helping them adhere to various regulatory frameworks and standards.
Since 2003, OWASP has been conducting its Top Ten surveys with survey data collected from several application security firms and industry experts. With hundreds of local chapters around the world and tens of thousands of members worldwide, OWASP truly is a global organization.
OWASP is a nonprofit foundation that promotes software security, integrity, and prioritization while mitigating risks in applications. Through community-led open-source projects, hundreds of local chapters worldwide, and leading educational and training conferences, OWASP provides developers and technologists with a safe haven to improve the security of their web applications.
The OWASP Top 10 lists the most serious and frequently encountered web application security risks, ranked by a community of experts using their OWASP Risk Rating Methodology. These rankings are based on an extensive database containing over 500,000 vulnerabilities in thousands of applications.
Injection attacks are a serious security threat and one of the most frequently identified vulnerabilities by OWASP. These flaws allow attackers to inject malicious code into a URL, bypassing application-level controls that restrict data access. Injections may be used for various purposes, such as data theft or exploiting servers to launch Denial of Service (DoS) attacks against websites.
Broken Access Control, the most popular entry in this year’s ranking, claimed the number one spot on OWASP Top 10. This vulnerability allows attackers to gain access to user accounts and use it for identity theft or other exploits.
Insecure Design has been added to the 2021 OWASP Top 10, which highlights security vulnerabilities related to web application architecture rather than implementation flaws. This category alone boasts 40 CWEs, illustrating just how poorly organizations are doing on this front today.
Another new category is Outdated Components, which refer to software components that may be overlooked as potential targets for exploitation. Organizations should ensure their vendors are always updating these elements and employing techniques to mitigate any threats that could arise from this potential weakness.

Are You Protected? Exploring the Dangers of OWASP's Top 10 Vulnerabilities

Are You Protected? Exploring the Dangers of OWASP’s Top 10 Vulnerabilities

Are You Vulnerable? The Consequences of Broken Access Control

Failure to implement and enforce strong access control policies within an organization could lead to data breaches and other security incidents. Furthermore, non-compliant access control may pose a compliance problem for organizations subject to regulatory requirements like HIPAA or PCI DSS.
Unrestricted access control occurs when an application or system does not adequately protect users’ permissions to utilize administrative functions. This could allow malicious actors to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and resources, alter or delete information, and even take control of the system as an administrator.
Many of these vulnerabilities can be avoided with robust authentication and authorization techniques, such as multi-factor authentication and biometric identification. These measures guarantee that users only access resources they are authorized to use.
Authentication is the process of verifying a user’s identity through their username and password, as well as checking on any data they attempt to access. After authentication has been successfully completed, the server performs authorization checks to determine whether or not they can access certain resources.
In many cases, unreliable access control is caused by an issue with how an application grants users access to resources. This may be due to a lack of input validation or failure to encode output data in an accessible format.
Access control issues can also be caused by an application’s insecure direct object reference (IDOR). An example of this vulnerability is when an attacker alters the URL for an application so it’s accessible to a different user than intended.
Another widespread access control flaw is an XSS (cross-site scripting) vulnerability. This flaw allows an attacker to gain unauthorized access to an organization’s web server by sending maliciously crafted HTTP requests.
This can be accomplished through various means, such as brute force attacks that attempt a large number of combinations to find the correct one. It could also be carried out by an experienced hacker with access to a database containing usernames and passwords.

Are You Vulnerable? The Consequences of Broken Access Control

Are You Vulnerable? The Consequences of Broken Access Control

Are You Vulnerable? Protecting Against OWASP Broken Access Control

Broken access control is a security vulnerability that allows attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information, potentially leading to data breaches or system compromises. As such, organizations must take proactive steps to guard against these potential breaches in their cybersecurity programs.
According to OWASP Top 10, Broken Access Control has become the most prevalent vulnerability in web applications, surpassing fifth place in 2017. This shift indicates that hackers are increasingly exploiting this flaw.
This vulnerability may be due to insecure coding or an incorrect implementation of authentication and authorization mechanisms. It could also be the result of insecure design or misconfigured security settings.
Organizations must conduct a security risk assessment and create an IT security policy, which should include a detailed list of allowed and restricted resources with roles and permissions. This should then be reviewed by IT personnel to confirm its correct implementation.
One way to safeguard against breaches in access control is the use of strong passwords and secure credentials. This will help thwart hackers from stealing passwords and using them to break into accounts.
Furthermore, an audit trail should be implemented that keeps track of all transactions on the application. This will help identify errors quickly and enable them to be rectified.
Finally, it is essential to update your software and remove any unused components. Doing so can reduce the risk of vulnerabilities and enhance performance.
The OWASP Top 10 list is an annual compilation of the most critical software vulnerabilities. As a nonprofit organization, OWASP publishes this list to increase public awareness about potential threats and promote security improvement initiatives.
As of 2021, Broken Access Control is ranked #1 in the OWASP Top 10, surpassing previous vulnerabilities such as SQL injection or cryptographic failures.
The causes of this sharp rise are numerous, but one thing is certain – organizations must do more to safeguard against cyber threats. After all, cybercrime is a leading source of data breaches and system compromises.

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