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Thursday, 02 February 2012 12:48

Web software is pants

Written by Nick Farrell



Two thirds has security holes


Nearly two thirds of web applications tested by security consultants at Context Information Security in 2011 were found to be at risk from cross-site scripting.

According to the new Context Web Application Vulnerability report published today nearly one in five applications risked attacks by experienced SQL injections. Applications developed for government, financial services and law and insurance sectors had the greatest increase in vulnerabilities. The findings come from penetration tests carried out on almost 600 hundred custom-built web applications.

In total, Context discovered some 8,000 vulnerabilities, reflecting an increase in the average number of different security issues affecting each application from 12.5 to 13.5 between 2010 and 2011. Server misconfiguration and information-leakage topped the list of vulnerability categories that also included authentication, session management and authorisation weaknesses along with encryption vulnerabilities. The only exception to the upward trend was input validation weaknesses, most likely due to the increased use of frameworks that offer built-in input validation security features.

Michael Jordon, research and development manager at Context said that while the number  of vulnerabilities identified in applications from 2010 and 2011 has not increased greatly, it does indicate that developers are continuing to make the same mistakes and are still not addressing web app security sufficiently.

Web apps for financial services sector had one of the lowest counts in 2010, but in 2011 with an average increase of roughly 1.5 vulnerabilities per web application tested.  The law and insurance sector also saw similar results, seeing an average increase of roughly 2.5 vulnerabilities per web application penetration test in the same period.

Nick Farrell

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