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Published on April 9th, 2011 | by NJ Ouchn

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2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors v1.08 Released

The 2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors is a list of the most widespread and critical programming errors that can lead to serious software vulnerabilities. They are often easy to find, and easy to exploit. They are dangerous because they will frequently allow attackers to completely take over the software, steal data, or prevent the software from working at all.

The Top 25 list is a tool for education and awareness to help programmers to prevent the kinds of vulnerabilities that plague the software industry, by identifying and avoiding all-too-common mistakes that occur before software is even shipped. Software customers can use the same list to help them to ask for more secure software. Researchers in software security can use the Top 25 to focus on a narrow but important subset of all known security weaknesses. Finally, software managers and CIOs can use the Top 25 list as a measuring stick of progress in their efforts to secure their software.

The list is the result of collaboration between the SANS Institute, MITRE, and many top software security experts in the US and Europe. It leverages experiences in the development of the SANS Top 20 attack vectors (http://www.sans.org/top20/) and MITRE’s Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) (http://cwe.mitre.org/). MITRE maintains the CWE web site, with the support of the US Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division, presenting detailed descriptions of the top 25 programming errors along with authoritative guidance for mitigating and avoiding them. The CWE site contains data on more than 800 programming errors, design errors, and architecture errors that can lead to exploitable vulnerabilities.

The 2010 Top 25 makes substantial improvements to the 2009 list, but the spirit and goals remain the same. The structure of the list has been modified to distinguish mitigations and general secure programming principles from more concrete weaknesses. This year’s Top 25 entries are prioritized using inputs from over 20 different organizations, who evaluated each weakness based on prevalence and importance. The new version introduces focus profiles that allow developers and other users to select the parts of the Top 25 that are most relevant to their concerns. The new list also adds a small set of the most effective “Monster Mitigations,” which help developers to reduce or eliminate entire groups of the Top 25 weaknesses, as well as many of the other 800 weaknesses that are documented by CWE. Finally, many high-level weaknesses from the 2009 list have been replaced with lower-level variants that are more actionable.

The following list identifies each Top Ten category along with its associated CWE entries.

OWASP Top Ten 2010 RC1 2010 Top 25
A1 – Injection CWE-89 (SQL injection), CWE-78 (OS Command injection)
A2 – Cross Site Scripting (XSS) CWE-79 (Cross-site scripting)
A3 – Broken Authentication and Session Management CWE-306, CWE-307, CWE-798
A4 – Insecure Direct Object References CWE-285
A5 – Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) CWE-352
A6 – Security Misconfiguration No direct mappings; CWE-209 is frequently the result of misconfiguration.
A7 – Failure to Restrict URL Access CWE-285
A8 – Unvalidated Redirects and Forwards CWE-601
A9 – Insecure Cryptographic Storage CWE-327, CWE-311
A10 – Insufficient Transport Layer Protection CWE-311

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