OWASP Web Application Security Accessibility Project/Roadmap

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  • What does security mean? The origin of the word "security“ refers to the Latin word securitas (sine cura + tutus); the word in English means also freedom from danger, safeguard, protection, certainty, doubtlessness.
    • Objective security,
    • Subjective security.
  • What does security of a web application mean?From a web application user´s point of view, the security of web application is a complex of relations constituting the user´s interest protection; i.e. a factual status of how these relations are protected including the admissible amount of threats.
  • What is meant by accessibility? Accessibility is a state under which an object of usage does not interpose any barriers to the user. Accessibility means without barriers.
  • What is the concept of web application security accessibility? It is a state under which a complex of relations designed to protect user´s interests is maintained regardless of user´s disabilities, capabilities, knowledge, experience, visualisation capacities.
  • Examples of inaccessible security of web applications

John is a blind user of online banking. He is transferring money to another account. He is about to transfer an amount of EUR 27 and introduces three zeros by mistake. A verification of data is processed before the final dispatch. In fact, EUR 27 000 is displayed (27 000 consists of a gap between 27 and 000). However, John´s screen reader identifies only EUR 27 because zeros are either ignored or read as zero – zero – zero. John is not aware of the fact that he is making a payment of EUR 27000 instead of 27.
Helen is sightless. During the population census Helen is about to complete a web-based form and finds out that a code provided by the postman is required at the beginning. Yet she does not see the code. Therefore, she asks someone else to read it for her. A form is displayed in a format that screen readers are unable to read. Helen is completely dependent on the help of others.
José is able to communicate in Spanish only. He tips through an online casino. Someone tried to crack his authentication – the hacker introduced an incorrect pass code three times and the account got blocked. José received instruction via e-mail in English how to proceed for unblocking his account. However, José does not understand the English text and has no clue how to react.
Anna is dumb. She has arranged for an electronic health records (online). For security reasons, the access to her electronic health records was blocked. Web-based instructions redirect her to a telephone operator, who is supposed to help her out with unblocking the account. Helen is, though, unable to speak and is dependent on someone else´s help.

  • What are the project goals?

The practice points out to the fact that a seemingly secure web application does, in reality, protect interests of only a specific group of users. Interests of a great number of users are protected only partially or by no means. This is why I decided to focus extensively on the issue of web application security accessibility. This topic is conceded as a project within OWASP – a globally renowned organization and community, which I appreciate a lot for its high expertness, positive social respect and for successful free share of voice in the field of concepts regarding security of web applications.

  • During the project we will focus mainly on the following areas:
    • Research and study of web application security accessibility (WASA)
    • WASA situation monitoring
      • WASA user testing
      • WASA legal implementation
      • Discussion with providers of web application security
    • Recommendations for providing an accessible security of web applications