[WEB SECURITY] WASC Threat Classification vs. OWASP ASVS

robert at webappsec.org robert at webappsec.org
Mon Jul 13 16:01:35 EDT 2009

Hello Roger,

I lead the WASC TCv2 project and will be able to answer your questions, albeit with a bias towards the TC.
For starters I am not the best person to speak on behalf of the OWASP ASVS project (maybe they will respond?)
so I simply won't speak on it other than to say it appears to focus more on process and maturity levels. 

Second please take a peek at http://projects.webappsec.org/Using-the-Threat-Classification as it outlines 
ways people use the TC (myself included). Speaking on my own personal experience (and others that I know) 
I use the TC as 

A checklist: 
I use the TC as a checklist of potential security issues (the TC breaks this up into attacks and weaknesses) 
that my application/site is likely to be affected by. I evaluate which functionality my application offers from 
a business and technical perspective and map that functionality to possible weaknesses and attacks that will need 
to be evaluated during a security review. For example if my application uses XML and XQUERY I'd add XML Injection 
(http://projects.webappsec.org/XML-Injection) and XQuery Injection (http://projects.webappsec.org/XQuery-Injection) 
to a list of security concerns, effectively creating a minimum security test plan/threat model. I then ensure my 
security evaluations/testing is checking (at the least) for the attacks and weaknesses against this list. I've 
personally had a situation where I've used the TC on a pen test with a 3rd party and asked if they performed 'x' 
testing which they responded no. Shortly after they performed the testing and found an 'x' issue. In this situation 
I used the TC as a checklist and it resulted in a finding that may or may not have been discovered had I not asked. 

Reference Material
When I file a security defect I provide a URl to the appropriate TC section for additional reading by development 
and/or QA. This saves me time rewriting/explaining the issue and being to brief. The TCv2 sub sections are all group 
peer reviewed in multiple phases and once they are completed are locked (random website visitors cannot modify them 
as with a traditional wiki). 

Security Metrics
In particular the ability to flag defects with a certain attack or weakness flag allowing me to gain better insight into 
the more prevalent issues. This has been useful in developing better security training, enhancing security testing/finding 
gaps, and evaluating priority for security component development. 

Chances are you'd probably utilize both for different aspects in your security program. 
Based on your email I will likely write an in depth article on using the TC beyond the light wiki page above
as we near publication.

- Robert Auger
WASC Co Founder and Threat Classification v2 Project Leader

> I'm putting together a requirements list for black box web pen testing
> and want to include a standards requirement. I've looked intothe WASC
> Threat Classification and OWASP's ASVS. The former seems to focus on
> high level threats, while the latter on testing controls present in
> the app. With the release of version two of the threat classification,
> which standard is more appropriate to use for web app pen testing and
> why?
> Thanks,
>   Roger

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