Analysis of Field Data on Web Security Vulnerabilities



Most web applications have critical bugs (faults) affecting their security, which makes them vulnerable to attacks by hackers and organized crime. To prevent these security problems from occurring it is of utmost importance to understand the typical software faults. This paper contributes to this body of knowledge by presenting a field study on two of the most widely spread and critical web application vulnerabilities: SQL Injection and XSS. It analyzes the source code of security patches of widely used web applications written in weak and strong typed languages. Results show that only a small subset of software fault types, affecting a restricted collection of statements, is related to security. In order to understand how these vulnerabilities are really exploited by hackers, this paper also presents an analysis of the source code of the scripts used to attack them. The outcomes of this study can be used to train software developers and code inspectors in the detection of such faults, and are also the foundation for the research of realistic vulnerability and attack injectors that can be used to assess security mechanisms, like intrusion detection systems, vulnerability scanners, and static code analyzers.


IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing, Vol. 11, #2, IEEE 2014

Cited by

No citations found