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Jul 07 2021

Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is an open project that provides security for web applications.

The OWASP community includes corporations, educational organizations and individuals from all over the world. The community creates articles, tutorials, documentation, tools, and technologies that are free to use.


When experts talk about OWASP in the context of static code analysis, they don't usually mean the project or community—but rather the OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (OWASP ASVS). This document describes various attack vectors and security approaches.

OWASP ASVS is a list of security requirements for applications and tests. This list is intended to help software architects, developers, QA engineers, security specialists, and anyone who uses special tools to develop, build, test and verify protected applications. OWASP ASVS is not tied to any particular programming language.

OWASP Top 10

The OWASP community also compiled OWASP Top 10. This list presents the most dangerous security threats for Web applications. These dangerous vulnerabilities may cost companies a lot of money or damage their business reputation.

OWASP Top 10 changes over time. As of 2021—when we wrote this article—the list looked as follows:

  • A1:2017-Injection: Injection flaws, such as SQL, NoSQL, OS, and LDAP injection, occur when untrusted data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. The attacker's hostile data can trick the interpreter into executing unintended commands or accessing data without proper authorization.
  • A2:2017-Broken Authentication: Application functions related to authentication and session management are often implemented incorrectly, allowing attackers to compromise passwords, keys, or session tokens, or to exploit other implementation flaws to assume other users' identities temporarily or permanently.
  • A3:2017-Sensitive Data Exposure: Many web applications and APIs do not properly protect sensitive data, such as financial, healthcare, and PII. Attackers may steal or modify such weakly protected data to conduct credit card fraud, identity theft, or other crimes. Sensitive data may be compromised without extra protection, such as encryption at rest or in transit, and requires special precautions when exchanged with the browser.
  • A4:2017-XML External Entities (XXE): Many older or poorly configured XML processors evaluate external entity references within XML documents. External entities can be used to disclose internal files using the file URI handler, internal file shares, internal port scanning, remote code execution, and denial of service attacks.
  • A5:2017-Broken Access Control: Restrictions on what authenticated users are allowed to do are often not properly enforced. Attackers can exploit these flaws to access unauthorized functionality and/or data, such as access other users' accounts, view sensitive files, modify other users' data, change access rights, etc.
  • A6:2017-Security Misconfiguration: Security misconfiguration is the most commonly seen issue. This is commonly a result of insecure default configurations, incomplete or ad hoc configurations, open cloud storage, misconfigured HTTP headers, and verbose error messages containing sensitive information. Not only must all operating systems, frameworks, libraries, and applications be securely configured, but they must be patched/upgraded in a timely fashion.
  • A7:2017-Cross-Site Scripting XSS: XSS flaws occur whenever an application includes untrusted data in a new web page without proper validation or escaping, or updates an existing web page with user-supplied data using a browser API that can create HTML or JavaScript. XSS allows attackers to execute scripts in the victim's browser which can hijack user sessions, deface web sites, or redirect the user to malicious sites.
  • A8:2017-Insecure Deserialization: Insecure deserialization often leads to remote code execution. Even if deserialization flaws do not result in remote code execution, they can be used to perform attacks, including replay attacks, injection attacks, and privilege escalation attacks.
  • A9:2017-Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities: Components, such as libraries, frameworks, and other software modules, run with the same privileges as the application. If a vulnerable component is exploited, such an attack can facilitate serious data loss or server takeover. Applications and APIs using components with known vulnerabilities may undermine application defenses and enable various attacks and impacts.
  • A10:2017-Insufficient Logging & Monitoring: Insufficient logging and monitoring, coupled with missing or ineffective integration with incident response, allows attackers to further attack systems, maintain persistence, pivot to more systems, and tamper, extract, or destroy data. Most breach studies show time to detect a breach is over 200 days, typically detected by external parties rather than internal processes or monitoring.

OWASP ASVS and OWASP Top 10 Support in PVS-Studio Analyzer

Starting from 2019, the PVS-Studio tool has been growing not only as a classic static code analyzer, but also as a SAST solution. We've been developing diagnostics that support the following standards: SEI CERT, MISRA C, MISRA C++, AUTOSAR C++14, and OWASP ASVS. The analyzer also supports all types of diagnostic rules listed in the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) standard.

This is why, in 2020, the Forrester Research company included the PVS-Studio analyzer into its "Now Tech: Static Application Security Testing, Q3 2020" report as a SAST-specific solution. Click here for more details.

Tables that classify PVS-Studio diagnostics according to the OWASP ASVS standard and the OWASP Top 10 risks are available on our website:

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