Top 10 Software Vulnerabilities and Vulnerabilities Definition
July 27, 2020

Vulnerabilities Definition: Top 10 Software Vulnerabilities

Security & Compliance
Static Analysis

Software vulnerabilities must be identified and prevented, which requires you to have an understanding of the vulnerabilities definition. Here, we go over vulnerabilities definitions and provide a list of the top 10 software vulnerabilities and tips on how to prevent software vulnerabilities.

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Vulnerabilities Definition

Software vulnerabilities are weaknesses or flaws present in your code.

Unfortunately, testing and manual code reviews cannot always find every vulnerability. Left alone, vulnerabilities can impact the performance and security of your software. They could even allow untrustworthy agents to exploit or gain access to your products and data. So, you need to know the top 10 most common vulnerabilities.

▶️ Related On-Demand Webinar:How Dynamic and Static Code Analysis helps ensure secure software development.


What Causes Software Vulnerabilities?

Software vulnerabilities are often caused by a glitch, flaw, or weakness present in the software.

The most effective way to prevent software vulnerabilities is to use secure coding standards to enforce security standards.

📕 Related Resource: Learn more about secure coding practices.


Top 10 Most Common Software Vulnerabilities

According to the OWASP Top 10 2021, here are the most common vulnerabilities:

1. Broken Access Control

User restrictions must be properly enforced. If they are broken, it can create a software vulnerability. Untrustworthy agents can exploit that vulnerability.

2. Cryptographic Failures

Sensitive data — such as addresses, passwords, and account numbers — must be properly protected. If it isn't, untrustworthy agents take advantage of the vulnerabilities to gain access.

3. Injection

Injection flaws occur when untrusted data is sent as part of a command or query. The attack can then trick the targeted system into executing unintended commands. An attack can also provide untrustworthy agents access to protected data.

4. Insecure Design

Insecure design refers to risks related to design flaws, which often includes the lack of at least one of the following:

  • Threat modeling
  • Secure design patterns
  • Secure design principles
  • Reference architecture

5. Security Misconfiguration

Security misconfigurations are often the result of:

  • Insecure default configurations.
  • Incomplete or impromptu configurations.
  • Open Cloud storage.
  • Misconfigured HTTP headers.
  • Wordy error messages that contain sensitive information.

6. Vulnerable and Outdated Components

Components are made up of libraries, frameworks, and other software modules. Often, the components run on the same privileges as your application. If a component is vulnerable, it can be exploited by an untrustworthy agent. This causes serious data loss or server takeover.

7. Identification and Authentication Failures

Authentication and session management application functions need to be implemented correctly. If they aren't, it creates a software vulnerability that can be exploited by untrustworthy agents to gain access to personal information.

8. Software and Data Integrity Failures

Software and data integrity failures refer to assumptions made about software updates, critical data, and CI/CD pipelines without verifying integrity. In addition, deserialization flaws often result in remote code execution. This enables untrustworthy agents to perform replay, injection, and privilege escalation attacks.

9. Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

Insufficient logging and monitoring processes are dangerous. This leaves your data vulnerable to tampering, extraction, or even destruction.

10. Server-Side Request Forgery

Server-side request forgery refers to data that shows a relatively low incidence rate with above average testing coverage, and an above-average rating for Exploit and Impact potential.

📕 Related Resource: Learn more about cybersecurity vulnerabilities.


How to Prevent Software Vulnerabilities

Here are the three most efficient and effective practices to prevent software vulnerabilities.

1. Establish Software Design Requirements

Establish software design requirements. Define and enforce secure coding principles. This should include using a secure coding standard. This will also inform how to effectively write, test, inspect, analyze, and demonstrate your code.

2. Use a Coding Standard

Coding standards — such as OWASP, CWE, and CERT — enable you to better prevent, detect, and eliminate vulnerabilities. Enforcing a coding standard is easy when you use a SAST tool — like Klocwork. Klocwork identifies security defects and vulnerabilities while the code is being written.

📕 Related Resource: Review the SAST tutorial for additional resources.


3. Test Your Software

It is essential that you test your software as early and often as possible. This helps to ensure that vulnerabilities are found and eliminated as soon as possible. One of the most effective ways to do this is by using a static code analyzer — like Klocwork — as part of your software testing process.

As part of your development pipeline, static analysis complements your testing efforts. Tests can be run during CI/CD integration as well as nightly integration testing.

Static code analyzers automatically inspect your code as it’s being written to identify any errors, weaknesses, or bugs. You can even apply any software vulnerability definition that would be applicable.

📕 Related Resource: The best practices for how to prevent cybersecurity threats.


How Klocwork Prevents Software Vulnerabilities

Klocwork for C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, and Kotlin identifies security, quality, and reliability issues. This helps you enforce compliance with coding standards. And it ensures that your code is safeguarded against vulnerabilities.

By using Klocwork, you will also receive the following benefits:

  • Detect code vulnerabilities, compliance issues, vulnerabilities definitions, and rule violations earlier in development. This helps to accelerate code reviews as well as manual testing efforts.
  • Enforce of industry and coding standards, including CWE, CERT, PA DSS, OWASP, and DISA STIG.
  • Report on security compliance over time and across product versions.

See how Klocwork can safeguard against vulnerabilities, register for a free trial.

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