Vulnerability management has become a huge challenge in today’s malicious cyberspace. SQL Injections, Cross Site Scripting and DDoS Attacks are arguably the most commonly exploited vulnerabilities, constantly appearing in OWASP research reports. Injection flaws took the first place in the 2013 OWASP Top-10.
SQL Injections (SQLi)
SQL Injections are basically unsanitized user input vulnerabilities. The most common exploitation is in log-in fields of unprotected applications. Since all modern web/mobile applications use databases to deliver and render data, such hacking opportunities exist in virtually all leading ecommerce, social and financial websites and applications.
SQLi are SQL commands that are maliciously injected via an unsanitized field. This is how the hackers illegally communicate with the application’s databases, harvesting sensitive information and assuming control of the database for their personal benefit. This is a huge security challenge as error based SQLi are tough to trap, let alone track and investigate.
Cross Site Scripting (XSS)
This is another commonly-used method to exploit application-layer vulnerability. XSS Attacks are performed with the injection of malicious scripts into well-known and popular websites. Unsuspecting users are tricked into entering personal details or clicking on malicious links, eventually compromising their computers and even putting entire networks at risk.
Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
More and more hacktivists and commercial concerns are adopting this technique. Random users are infected with malware, which is usually distributed with traditional phishing techniques. The contaminated computers (bots) become a part of a net, called botnet. The botnet then attacks and crashes the target website’s servers, eventually throwing it offline.
How can these vulnerabilities be eliminated and minimized?
Conventional security solutions such as anti-viruses, firewalls and malware blockers are useful in minimizing risks, but they don’t provide complete application layer coverage. The best way to really secure apps, e-commerce platforms, databases, websites and other software is to produce them in a secure System Development Life-Cycle (SDLC).
The advantages in secure development environments are many. The product is released fast due to the early location of vulnerabilities, especially when methods like Source Code Analysis (SCA) are implemented. The production costs also are reduced, with lesser wastage of resources. Additionally, the whole testing process can be automated with full integration.
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There has been an exponential rise in cybercrime over the last few years. While security solutions and products are evolving and providing better coverage, there seems to be only one complete solution to fight cyberattacks. Software developed in a secure SDLC is the only way to ensure and create a safe cyberspace. It’s time to adopt the proactive approach.
This article was contributed by Sharon Solomon, content manager at Checkmarx, a leading provider of SCA solutions for the IT industry.