Where to draw the line between your application and the IT environment

From OWASP
Revision as of 13:26, 16 January 2009 by Mike.boberski (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

If you are performing an application security verification according to the OWASP Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS) verification requirements, you will need to figure out where your application ends and the IT environment begins.


The red line in the logical interface diagram above is an example of where one might draw the line between an application and the IT environment.

OWASP ASVS is not intended to be used to perform security assessments of any nature of IT environment components such as application servers, web servers, and operating systems. That said, the line between your application and the IT environment is not quite as straightforward as it might appear.


If your application calls an IT environment component to perform a security function, either performing a security check (e.g. access control check) or resulting in a security effect (e.g. audit record generation), you will need to examine this functionality according to OWASP ASVS detailed verification requirements. For example, let us say that an authentication server in the IT environment is being relied on by your application. If you are performing an ASVS Level 2B or higher verification, to pass requirement V2.6 (“Verify that all authentication decisions are logged”), you will need to examine the authentication server to the extent it can be determined that all authentication decisions are logged. Examining administrative documentation can provide insight in these types of situations. Obtaining source code for IT environment components in these situations is not typically necessary.


Similarly, if no management interfaces were built into your application, and administrators must use IT environment components to manage your application’s security functions, you will need to examine this functionality according to OWASP ASVS detailed verification requirements. For example, let us say that no management interfaces were built into your application. If you are performing an ASVS Level 4 verification, to pass requirement V12.4 (“Verify that the configuration store can be output in a human-readable format to facilitate audit”), you will need to examine application server, web server, and/or operating system management interfaces to the extent it can be determined that your application’s configuration store can be output in a human-readable format. Examining administrative documentation can provide insight in these types of situations. Obtaining source code for IT environment components in these situations is not typically necessary.


Helpful hints: