Jun 3, 2021
4 min read

Preventing OWASP Top 10 with Zero Trust

OWASP Top 10 is a guiding document by the OWASP community, detailing the top 10 web application risks. These include injections, broken authentication and sensitive data exposure. Zero trust can help businesses protect themselves from these security risks. Let’s see how.

What is OWASP?

OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) is a non-profit, online community that is dedicated to improving web application security. OWASP operates as an open community that creates, shares and participates in articles, events, videos, discussions, methodologies, tools, technologies, documentation, open source projects, and more. Their resources are available to everyone on their website.

The OWASP Top 10

One of the most notable community projects created by OWASP is “OWASP Top 10”. OWASP Top 10 is a guiding document of web application risks, and is considered an industry consensus for awareness. Every few years, the top ten web application risks are ranked, together with in-depth explanations and remediation suggestions. The list is ranked based on prevalence.

Why is OWASP Top 10 Important?

The OWASP top 10 can help engineering and security leaders as well as developers check to make sure their applications do not pose any risk to the organization. The list is an actionable checklist, and can also be used as a benchmark for organizations to see where they stand, security-wise. With so many new security tools and vulnerabilities, OWASP top 10 is a simple plan to follow, with an immediate impact.

Top 10 Web Application Security Risks, by OWASP:

  1. Injection - SQL, NoSQL, OS and LDAP injections. Read more here.

  2. Broken Authentication - Incorrect implementation of authentication methods

  3. Sensitive Data Exposure - Sensitive data that is not properly protected

  4. XML External Entities - Disclosure of internal files by external entities in XML processors

  5. Broken Access Control - Access control to data and functions that isn’t enforced

  6. Security Misconfiguration - Configurations that are outdated, incomplete or misconfigured

  7. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) - Flaws due to data not being validated

  8. Insecure Deserialization - Flaws leading to remote code execution, injection attacks, and more.

  9. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities - Running vulnerable components that have application-level privileges.

  10. Insufficient Logging and Monitoring - Lack of auditing and incident response tools.

How Zero Trust Can Help with OWASP Top 10

Zero trust is a security architecture and model that authenticates and verifies every user and device before providing them with access to network apps and assets. Zero trust is all about eliminating transitive trust and continuously authenticating before providing access, instead of granting access based on inherited parameters like network origin or domain membership. In addition, zero trust cloaks the network to prevent internal user visibility.

Zero trust can help prevent attacks based on the OWASP Top 10. First and foremost, when the zero trust framework is enforced, attackers will have no visibility into potential OWASP applicative vulnerabilities. While perimeter-based solutions provide users with visibility into the network and sometimes even tunnel users in, as in the case with VPNs, zero trust hides applications and network components from users until they are authenticated. Thus, adversaries cannot know where vulnerabilities may lie.

In addition, zero trust enables adding security controls, which act as an additional security layer to reduce the attack surface and protect from OWASP security risks. These include:

  • WAFs (Web Application Firewalls) - WAFs filter, monitor and block traffic to applications. They can help protect from injections (1), XML external entities (4), cross-site scripting XSS (7), insecure deserialization (8) and using vulnerable components (9).

  • SSO - (Single Sign-On) - SSO, an authentication method that enables logging in with one set of credentials, helps prevent authentication errors (2)

  • RBAC - Role-based access control restricts system access to unauthorized users and helps prevent broken access control (5). Coupled with virtual patching, it also prevents sensitive data exposure (3) and security misconfiguration (6)

  • Auditing and logging - Zero trust monitors, audits and records user actions in the network. This provides visibility, enables tracing suspicious actions and remediating issues to prevent insufficient logging and monitoring (10). 

How to Choose a Zero Trust Provider

When choosing a zero trust provider, it’s important to find a zero trust solution that can provide you with the business flexibility you need, while abiding by the Zero Trust principles of trusting no one. Cyolo is the only zero trust provider that gives you end-to-end protection by letting you and only you keep your keys, passwords, and policies. With Cyolo, you get external and internal network protection, with multiple security controls and measures, all based on the premise of trusting no one.

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