Software security is always evolving and it can be daunting to try and keep up. However, keeping a keen eye on the latest and greatest threats will enable you to guard your computer and personal information to the best of your ability. Below is a list of some of the latest, most pressing software security vulnerabilities to arm yourself against.
Vulnerability to SQL injection is a prevalent software vulnerability despite its notoriety. SQL injection involves hijacking user input fields to run scripts, typically to query databases for user data or administrative access. SQL injection can be prevented by instituting input field cleaning functions.
Buffer attacks are extremely common. Buffers are spaces for temporary data storage. To cause software to malfunction, an attacker will ‘overflow’ the buffer with more data than it can handle. Another rampant buffer vulnerability is a buffer over-read, in which a read/write function oversteps the buffer’s bounds and runs in other memory systems. Be especially cautious of buffer vulnerabilities if you are using C/C++. Bounds checking, fuzz testing, or using languages with built in protections (like Java) can defend against buffer attacks.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) can be wildly dangerous and destructive. Similar to SQL injection, an XSS attack utilises a user input box to inject and run a script via the HTML script tag. Webpages without XSS filtering treat HTML tags as functional, causing code written in an input bar to run on the webpage. XSS is used to harvest passwords, redirect users, alter the client-side webpage, and even install malware. Every input box on a site must be protected against XSS, or the entire page is vulnerable. This can be done by escaping, validating, and sanitizing user inputs.
Directory traversal attacks occur when an attack takes advantage of the browser bar to access files that wouldn’t ordinarily be accessible from a webpage. Directory traversal attacks can be especially devastating if sensitive data, such as passwords, is not being stored correctly. To protect against directory traversal attacks, sanitize filenames and ensure that sensitive data is being stored behind a strong, up-to-date encryption.
These are just some of the most common software vulnerabilities. You can use these as a jumping off point to begin tightening up your web security and ensuring a safe, protected, and lasting digital presence.