OWASP Newsletter 1

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OWASP News – December 25th 2006 to December 31st 2006

Happy Holidays from all of us at OWASP!

I would like to take a moment to welcome you all to our first edition of the OWASP weekly newsletter and introduce myself. My name is Aaron Holmes and I have had the pleasure of maintaining the OWASP Autumn of Code 2006 Web Developer Project. It has been a rewarding and educational experience for myself, and I feel OWASP has benefited greatly by the many excellent projects which have been developed and advanced through the AoC 2006 program. With all this activity and excitement, we have decided that we should produce and distribute a weekly newsletter to keep everyone up to date on the direction of OWASP and our many great projects. We invite your feedback and news submissions which can be submitted to me directly by emailing aholmes@owasp.org. Enjoy!

As previously noted there has been an amazing amount of progress and work being finalized with the AoC 2006 winding down. We’ve seen new releases from both the OWASP Report Generator and the OWASP Site Generator Projects, having been made possible by the hard work of AoC 2006 participant Mike de Libero and project coordinator Dinis Cruz. Please see the progress page for a complete listing of new features and fixes as well as the main Report Generator and Site Generator project pages for complete project descriptions and resources.

Other projects seeing considerable development through the AoC 2006 program are Web Scarab (a web application security testing tool), Web Goat (online application security training environment), CAL9000 (a collection of web application security testing tools), Live CD (CD containing ready to use versions of application security analysis and testing tools), Pantera (Web Assessment Studio), Testing Guide (security testing procedures and guides), and the OWASP .NET Tools Project.

Phew, those are a lot of projects! In next week’s newsletter we will take a deeper look within a few of the aforementioned projects and explain how they can benefit you.

Until next week, happy coding!

Aaron M. Holmes OWASP Weekly Newsletter Editor and Website Developer


Featured Project - OWASP WebScarab Project

WebScarab is a Java based framework for analysing applications that communicate using the HTTP and HTTPS protocols. WebScarab has several modes of operation that are activated through plugins. By default WebScarab operates as an intercepting proxy that allows the user to review and modify requests created by the browser before they are sent to the server, and to review and modify responses returned from the server before they are received by the browser.


Latest Releases / Features

Nov 26 - OWASP Report Generator 0.88 Released

A tool for security consultants that supports the documentation and reporting of security vulnerabilities discovered during security.

Nov 26 - OWASP Site Generator v.70 Released

A tool that allows the creating of dynamic websites based on XML files and predefined vulnerabilities (some simple, some complex) for testing application security tools.


OWASP News Headlines

Nov 14 - Three great new OWASP projects

  • OWASP Encoding Project A nice encoding library that supports Java, .NET, PHP, Python, Perl, JavaScript, and Ajax.

Nov 12 - New OWASP App Security Search Engine

We're beta-testing a new Google-powered search engine for application security. The engine indexes the OWASP site and all the other sites dedicated to application security on the Internet.

Nov 7 - OWASP Hits Two-Million Page Views

Thank you all for your support! We serve approximately 1/2 million page views every month.


Application Security News

   Critical XSS flaw that is trivial to exploit here in all but the very latest browsers. Attackers simply have to add a script like #attack=javascript:alert(document.cookie); to ANY URL that ends in .pdf (or streams a PDF). Solution is to not use PDF's or for Adobe to patch the planet. 

Dec 16 - What IS security critical code?

   "It's likely that in most incidents of people being killed as a result of software bugs (or IT systems bugs), the software wasn't thought to be safety-critical at all. For example, a word-processor failing to recognize that a print request has failed, resulting in a patient not getting a letter giving a hospital appointment. Or someone committing suicide because of an incorrect bank statement." Michael Kay on the xml-dev list, 8/17/2005 

Dec 14 - JavaScript error handler leaks information

   An attacker can find out whether you're logged into your favorite website or not. They include a script tag where the src attribute doesn't point to a script, but instead to a page on your favorite websites. Based on the error the script parser generates when trying to parse the HTML of the page that's returned, the attacker can tell whether you're logged in or not. Should extend to access control easily. Protect yourself with CSRF protection. 

Dec 13 - UCLA spins massive breach

   Why not just say what measures you've really taken? Are all developers trained? Do you do code review and security testing? "Jim Davis, UCLA's chief information officer, said a computer trespasser used a program designed to exploit an undetected software flaw to bypass all security measures and gain access to the restricted database that contains information on about 800,000 current and former students, faculty and staff, as well as some student applicants and parents of students or applicants who applied for financial aid. 'In spite of our diligence, a sophisticated hacker found and exploited a subtle vulnerability in one of hundreds of applications,' Davis said in the statement." 

Dec 10 - MySpace and Apple mess

   MySpace and Apple show how NOT to handle security incidents (see also How Not to Distribute Security Patches) 

Dec 2 - Oracle blames security researchers

   "We do not credit security researchers who disclose the existence of vulnerabilities before a fix is available. We consider such practices, including disclosing 'zero day' exploits, to be irresponsible." So the question on everybody's mind - is the Oracle Software Security Assurance program real? Or are David Litchfield and Cesar Cerrudo right that Emperor has no clothes?