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This OWASP cheat sheet for CISO is intended for an executive audience and for application security program assessors. It contains a list / taxonomy of application security program weaknesses that is intended to be built out over time, similar to MITRE's CWE for software weaknesses. This list of program not software weaknesses is called the Common Program Weakness Enumeration (CPWE) and spans topics having to do with (1)institutionalization of an application security program and also (2)systems development touch points. One example use case is an organization having a SAMM or BSIMM assessment done, with the findings are mapped to CPWE, in a similar fashion as one can generally configure software vulnerability assessment tools to map findings to CWE or Top Ten, so that one can compare apples to apples regardless of if SAMM or e.g. BSIMM or what have you are used. Long-term goals potentially include creating an OWASP CISO Top Ten project using the CPWE as inputs (i.e. that draws from the list), as a sort of brass ring for an OWASP CISO "guide".

Common Program Weakness Enumeration

The comprehensive CPWE dictionary is below. Its presentation builds upon conventions used in the MITRE CWE project for consistency.

CPWE-xx: Insufficient Program Resources


  • The software development organization or organizational unit has started an application security program, but the resources allocated to support the program (people, tools, or a combination thereof) are not sufficient, the initiative is either not funded or under-funded.

Modes of Introduction

  • This weakness typically occurs in situations where there is no executive-level application security evangelist.

Common Consequences

  • Prior to a Cyber Incident - Delayed program adoption
  • During and After a Cyber Incident - Unknown business risk; impaired incident response

CPWE-xx: ...

"Insufficient Program Resources - (##)"..... if you only put someone on this half time you'll continue limping along trying to start a secure software development program........

"Lack of Verification Capability - (##)"........ if you have for instance only a couple people to get some elements of the program going but not enough to have an enforcement/verification capability..........

Etc, .. initial, then e.g. (make a pass through sp) .....some top-level generic using sp, 5 generic, e.g. missing or inadequate implementation phase activities ... risky or dangerous vendor service .. risky or dangerous application or service integration ((split all these 'ors' into separate ones)) .. missing policy .. missing standards .. missing systems development activity .. missing systems development gate .. failure to track compliance activities .. failure to track security bugs .. failure to protect source code from theft ... missing or inadequate developer training .. no reusable common security control libraries .. no secure coding standards .. no minimum lifecycle activities .. failure to address implicit contractual or regulatory requirements .. failure to address explicit contractual or regulatory requirements .. inappropriate or inadequate secure development lifecycle activity .. portfolio posture blindness .. application posture blindness .. potentially material event (add ref to draft guidance)

CPWE-xx: ...

Authors and Primary Editors

Mike Boberski - boberski_michael [at] bah.com

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