[WEB SECURITY] 2009 Top 25 Programming Errors

Chris Eng ceng at Veracode.com
Wed Jan 14 15:51:56 EST 2009


You realize that the XSS description you quoted -- the one written in
2nd person with a casual tone -- is not the primary content?  If you
click on the CWE-79 link (http://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/79.html)
you get the technical, professional version that you probably expected
to see, complete with examples, etc.  I think the paragraph you quoted
is intended more to catch the developer's attention and get them to read
further.  The individual CWE pages are generally pretty well written,
and I don't think anyone expected that the one paragraph would be
sufficient to cover XSS.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: arian.evans at gmail.com [mailto:arian.evans at gmail.com] On Behalf
> Arian J. Evans
> Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 3:36 PM
> To: Andy Steingruebl
> Cc: websecurity at webappsec.org
> Subject: Re: [WEB SECURITY] 2009 Top 25 Programming Errors
> Andy,
> I am not in any way attacking or denigrating CWE
> or Mitre. CWE is a fine effort by the first rate minds
> over at Mitre.
> My comments are about this "Top 25" list.
> These are "standards" because they are being used as
> a "standards" banner for products, contracts, RFPs, etc.
> already and will continue to be like other Top SANS lists.
> As I've said to several folks: It is an amateur piece of
> work that will simply reinforce the amateur nature of most
> security professionals to business owners and seasoned
> software developers. Apology to anyone whose kid I'm
> calling ugly here, but your kid is ugly.
> The WASC TC is a better guideline of issues with web
> software and in most ares more effective for communication.
> I know there are those that dislike these "Top N" lists
> but the spirit of this Top 25 is fine in my book.
> I would like to see a more professional list published and
> maintained by OWASP or WASC.
> My main criticism of this Top 25 list is with the content
> and the descriptions. Fixable? Sure.
> The fact that this was released is such an unprofessional
> state solidifies in my mind that Mitre and SANS are not
> the folks to be maintaining this list.
> I do not want to deal with this document and the inevitable
> reality that will stem from it. I do not want to respond to
> RFPs that ask if you test for "Failure to Protect Web Pages"
> and I do not want to have to build reports that report on
> this list with this garbage content and I do not want to
> have to explain why the remediation language, costs, and
> confusing suggestions are inaccurate or misguided.
> Take the "Remediation Cost:" bucket. I used to use these
> in my reports all the time, and agree with the spirit of intent
> on including this in a "Top 25".
> However -- the implementation in the Top 25 is misguided
> and useless as a result and should be removed.
> Half of the list is marked "Low" and there are even items
> marked "Low to High". (? why bother)
> There is no explanation or justification for any of it other than
> letting people know "this stuff is easy to fix".
> The reality of the cost of remediation is contextual to software
> and a business capacity and situation. Any effort to communicate
> cost should clearly communicate these realities and give the
> reader some notion of context, what they need to consider
> when evaluating cost, or simply be removed. Statistically
> speaking, the more likely you are to have massive XSS issues
> the more likely you are to have a hard time fixing it (because
> you've got a mess of ASP classic spaghetti code that got
> you where you are today). But I digress.
> I could go on criticizing but I won't. I will recommend that
> WASC or OWASP make a new Top 10 or Top 25 list and
> that we tackle the same spirit of intent, understanding that
> it will instantly become a "standard".
> Barring that we are going to live with this document for
> a while, and I am voicing my discontent.
> Steven @ Mitre is a smart guy and I bet this will improve
> over time if he starts filtering whom he listens too and
> who is allowed to contribute content. Or provides a guideline
> for content copy. Given who will use this and how it will
> be used this should be a very professional business document,
> not security-nerd speak with Star Treck naming conventions.
> Folks who name their variables or servers R2D2 and C3PO
> are probably not gonna agree with me here.
> If I had seen this mess up for review before it was
> published I would have commented or contributed
> much earlier.
> ...
> Feel free to note that I am too unmotivated to start my
> own project to make a new Top N list.
> --
> --
> Arian Evans
> Anti-Gun/UN people: you should weep for
> Mumbai. Your actions leave defenseless dead.
> "Among the many misdeeds of the British
> rule in India, history will look upon the Act
> depriving a whole nation of arms, as the
> blackest." -- Mahatma Gandhi
> On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 11:17 AM, Andy Steingruebl
<steingra at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > On Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 10:20 AM, Arian J. Evans
> > <arian.evans at anachronic.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> For all of you ignoring this -- this is going to replace the OWASP
> >> 10 and WASC TC 1.0 or 2.0 etc. That is the goal/agenda of SANS &
> >> Begin press releases, beat the marketing campaign drums.
> >
> > How are any of these "Standards" anyway?  I'm not sure I understand
> > what you're getting at here.  Are you saying there ought to be some
> > standard that tells people what they have to check for and that
> > to be the TC2.0?  If so, I think that is misguided as well.
> >
> > In either case though people are looking for requirements to stick
> > into software purchase contracts to describe minimum security levels
> > for something.  None of these lists is particularly well suited to
> > that task, but at the same time the CC (Common Criteria) wasn't
> > exactly fitting that need either.  Maybe you'd like to write a
> > protection profile that your COTS software must meet?  Not me.
> >
> > So, while the language of the list of items might not be perfect, I
> > have a lot of respect for the CWE itself, as it does a pretty good
> > as a taxonomy.
> >
> > What are you looking to have produced to counter this?  How does the
> > TC fit into that at all?
> >
> > --
> > Andy Steingruebl
> > steingra at gmail.com
> >
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