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Tracing web applications exploitability through code review and taint analysis involves examining the application’s source code for potential security vulnerabilities and analyzing how user input is handled throughout the application’s code base.
Code review involves reviewing the application’s source code line by line to identify any security flows, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), or command injection. It is essential to identify any areas where user input is accepted and processed, as these areas are often the source of security vulnerabilities.
Taint analysis is a technique that tracks the flow of user input throughout the application's codebase. Taint analysis helps to identify potential vulnerabilities by tracing how user input is propagated and used within the application’s code. For example, if user input is used to construct a SQL query, taint analysis can be used to determine whether the input is properly sanitized before being used in the query. If not, the application may be vulnerable to SQL injection.
By combining code review and taint analysis, you can identify potential security vulnerabilities in web applications and determine the exploitability of those vulnerabilities. Once vulnerabilities are identified, they can be prioritized based on their potential impact and likelihood of exploitation. This Information can be then used to develop a plan to address the vulnerabilities, which may include code changes, additional security controls, or other mitigations.
Dana Epp spent decades as a security architect focusing on helping secure software, data and infrastructure. You might say he’s been on and led Blue and Red Teams well before it was even a thing. He built and sold several software companies focused on securing the ever changing landscape of IT, both on-premises and in the cloud. He is the founder and CTO of small startups with a handful of developers all the way to managing teams with hundreds of developers from all around the world.
Through all of that, what drives me is making sure information and information resources are kept secure. No matter what the size of the organization. Nor who is ultimately responsible for managing it. As both a Microsoft Regional Director and a Microsoft Security MVP for over 17 years, Dana spent a great deal of time on security (de)engineering in the cloud.
Lately, he’s on Purple team (A purple team is a group of cyber security professionals who simulate malicious attacks and penetration testing in order to identify security vulnerabilities and recommend radiation strategies for an organization’s IT infrastructure), shifting more on his offensive tradecraft to help developers and IT administrators see the demonstrable impact of exploitation on vulnerabilities in their work.
As the world of hybrid computing shifts more IT resources away from the office, it's clear more effort is needed to educate both administrators and developers on how to build safe, decoupled systems in the cloud. He helps people find and fix vulnerabilities in their apps and architecture before their adversaries do.
Code review is the process of examining software source code to identify defects, security vulnerabilities, and opportunities for improvement. It involves reviewing the code line by line, looking for issues such as syntax errors, logical errors, and code that may not follow best practices.
Code review is an important aspect of software development because it can help to improve the quality and security of the software being developed. Specifically, code review offers the following benefits:
In summary, code review is an important process in software development that can improve the quality of the software.
For a comprehensive code review guide, a helpful source from OWASP(Open Worldwide Application Security Project) can be found here.
In the context of software security, “source” and “sink” refer to the origin and destination of data that flows through a program.
A source is a point in the program where data is generated or received, such as user input from a form or data read from a file. Sources can be either trusted or untrusted, depending on the context. For example, data entered by a user may be considered an untrusted source because it can potentially contain malicious input.
A sink is a point in the program where data is consumed or output, such as database query or an HTTP response. Sinks can also be either trusted or untrusted, depending on the context. For example, a sink that performs database queries may be considered a trusted sink if it properly sanitizes input or prevents SQL injection attacks.
The flow of data between sources and sinks is known as a data flow. Data flows are important to understand in the context of software security because they can be used to identify potential vulnerabilities. For example, if untrusted user input flows directly into a trusted sink without proper validation or sanitation, it may be possible for an attacker to manipulate the input and execute a malicious payload.
To prevent these types of vulnerabilities, it is important to identify all sources and sinks in a program and implement appropriate security measures to ensure that data flows are properly validated, sanitized, and controlled. This may involve input validation, output encoding, access control, and secure communication, among other measures.
In the context of software security, a “source” is a piece of code that provides input to a system or application, while a “sink” is a place of code that receives input from a source and potentially exposes a security vulnerability.
While reviewing code for security vulnerabilities, it’s important to look for any potential source and sinks, and to consider how they interact with each other. Here are some key things to look for:
Overall, when reviewing code for security vulnerabilities, it is important to consider how source and sinks interact with each other, and to look for any potential vulnerabilities that could be introduced as a result of that interaction.
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) is a type of code analysis that is used to identify security vulnerabilities in software applications. It involves analyzing the source code of an application of potential vulnerabilities, without actually executing the code.
SAST code review tools analyze code line by line, looking for patterns that indicate security vulnerabilities. These tools can detect vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows, SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other security vulnerabilities that can leave an application open to attack.
Some potential benefit of SAST code review include:
Some potential limitations of SAST code review include:
Overall, SAST code review is an important part of a comprehensive software security program. It can help to identify security vulnerabilities early in the development process, and can provide a consistent set of security standards for all code. However, it should be used in conjunction with other other types of testing, such as penetration testing and dynamic application security testing, for the best results.
Just because a source may contain potentially malicious input, does not necessarily mean it can be exploited. . It depends on how the tainted input is processed and how it interacts with other parts of the application.
For example, if the application properly sanitizes the tainted input before using it in sensitive operations such as database queries or systems commands, it may not be possible for an attacker to exploit the tainted input. Similarly, if the application correctly validates the input to ensure that it conforms to expected formats and ranges, it may not be vulnerable to attacks that rely on malformed or out-of-range input.
However, if the application does not properly sanitize or validate the tainted input, it could potentially be vulnerable to various types of attacks, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), or command injection. In these cases, an attacker may be able to inject malicious input that bypasses the application’s security mechanisms and allows them to execute unauthorized actions or access sensitive data.
Therefore, it’s important to treat tainted input as a potential security risk and to take appropriate measures to mitigate that risk, such as proper sanitization, validation, and parameterization of user input.
Semgrep is a free and open source static analysis tool that is designed to help developers find and fix security issues and programming errors in their source code. It is a modern and easy-to-use tool that can be integrated into the software development lifecycle (SDLC) to provide continuous security feedback and improve code quality.
Burp Suite is a popular and widely used web application security testing tool that is designed to help security professionals test the security of web applications. It is developed by PortSwigger, a company that specializes in web application security tools.
Burp Suite provides range of features and capabilities for testing web applications, including:
Overall, Burp Suite is a powerful and versatile web application security testing tool that can be used by security professionals of all levels of expertise. Its range of features and ease of use make it a popular choice for web application security testing.