List of top 25 most dangerous programming errors published

The SANS and MITRE Institutes recently published the “2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors” , a survey of todays most dangerous errors in software development. The study was conducted by the institutes and 30 leading companies in software security. It should be considered as a general guideline on how to prevent security issues, containing educational advices as well as best practices.

According to the list, the most common security pitfalls are:

  • Cross-site Scripting
  • SQL Injection
  • Classic Buffer Overflow
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery
  • Improper Access Control

The page provides a description of every security flaw with examples, countermeasures and detection methods. The publication describes the errors found to be the most common in todays software develoment in detail, provides detection pattern and gives advice on prevention and mitigation.

The errors were classiefied inthese categories:

  1. Insecure interaction between components
  2. Risky resource management
  3. Porous Defenses, meaning weak implementation of common security mechanisms

Software developers may be interested not only in the listing of the 25 errors itself, but also in the provided additional information. So, for example, the study contains a comparison of the languages C/C++, Java, PHP and Perl and their adherence to security weakneses, though most of them are considered language independent. The study also provides profiles ranking weaknesses from the perspective of different stakeholders like software customers or software designers.

The 25 most dangerous programming errors according to the study are:

[1] Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure (‘Cross-site Scripting’)
[2] Improper Sanitization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command (‘SQL Injection’)
[3] Buffer Copy without Checking Size of Input (‘Classic Buffer Overflow’)
[4] Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
[5] Improper Access Control (Authorization)
[6] Reliance on Untrusted Inputs in a Security Decision
[7] Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory (‘Path Traversal’)
[8] Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type
[9] Improper Sanitization of Special Elements used in an OS Command (‘OS Command Injection’)
[10] Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
[11] Use of Hard-coded Credentials
[12] Buffer Access with Incorrect Length Value
[13] Improper Control of Filename for Include/Require Statement in PHP Program (‘PHP File Inclusion’)
[14] Improper Validation of Array Index
[15] Improper Check for Unusual or Exceptional Conditions
[16] Information Exposure Through an Error Message
[17] Integer Overflow or Wraparound
[18] Incorrect Calculation of Buffer Size
[19] Missing Authentication for Critical Function
[20] Download of Code Without Integrity Check
[21] Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
[22] Allocation of Resources Without Limits or Throttling
[23] URL Redirection to Untrusted Site (‘Open Redirect’)
[24] Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm
[25] Race Condition

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