API Security OWASP, API Security, Vulnerabilities

A04:2021 – Insecure Design Owasp: Know Everything

A04:2021 – Insecure Design Owasp: Know Everything

Anyone involved in application design and development understands the worth of flawless designs. Any existing design flow serves as a staircase for hackers/attackers to reach the core of the application/software and cause unimaginable hassles.

OWASP Top 10 2021 list is now out and is gaining the attention of many API security experts. The fourth vulnerability in the list covers the risk raised due to design malfunctioning at length.

Before it makes its place in OWASP Top 10 2022 too, let us help you understand and suppress it.

Learning Objectives

What is Insecure Design and its impact?

An extensive vulnerability featuring more than 40 CWE, Insecure Design covers vulnerabilities that came into being because of known/unknown flaws at the application/software architectural level. It forces developers to grow above the shift-left approach during the coding process and adopt pre-code activities, approved by Secure by Design principles. 

Insecure Design vulnerability is broad and explains multiple weaknesses as absent and unproductive control design. While one tries to comprehend its meaning, it is crucial to grasp the fact that insecure designing is way too different from insecure implementation.

A secure design can still feature insecure implementation incidents. Similarly, a secure implementation can lead to vulnerabilities because the design wasn’t secure or flawless.

One can’t fix an issue, incurred by insecure designing, by correcting the implementation process, or vice-versa. Talking about the impact of this vulnerability, hackers can i-use the critical data, manipulate crucial configurations, and even compromise the application/software security. Depending upon the intensity of the attack, attackers can gain admin-like control over the application/software as well.

Threat modeling and Insecure Design

Threat modeling is used widely as a defense mechanism against Insecure Design vulnerability. The approach should come into force at the refinement level and deals with looking for data flow changes and alteration of key security operations. One must carefully analyze the failure flow assumptions and conditions.

Examples of attacks 

Consider these insecure design examples that might cause your application’s exploitation or an attack on it:

Situation #1 - Let’s assume that a multiplex permits group booking and provides discounts when up to 20 bookings are done at a time. A skilled attack can alter the flow working behind this condition and can make 100 bookings at subsided cost, causing huge capital loss to the multiplex.

Situation #2 - If a “question and answers” based credential recovery workflow is used then it’s a design flaw as Questions & Answers are not acceptable identity proof and attackers can use this opportunity to exploit the recovery workflow.

Situation #3 - If an e-commerce website lacks defense against bots, it creates a design flaw and allows attackers to exploit the application.

Here are the prevention measures that the OWASP recommends

Any kind of design imperfection, if not addressed properly, can put tons of things at risk. This is why a proactive preventive approach must be adopted early. Expert-recommended defensive measures are as follows. 

  • Take the help of a skilled AppSec expert to deploy an utterly secured application/software development cycle. It will reduce the odds of design flaws and improve performance.
  • Always use design components from the secure design pattern library.
  • Threat modeling is impressively effective when it comes to access control, key flows, authentication, and business logic-related vulnerabilities. 
  • Security languages must integrate well into consumer stories. 
  • To make sure that judicious flows feature great resistance against threat modeling, use unit, and integration tests. 
  • Resource consumption per user or per service should be within limits. Over-consumption leads to resource exhaustion and higher risks of design flaws. 
  • Segregation of tier layers and tenants should be done as per the ultimate protection required and exposure that an application experiences. 

How can Wallarm help with Insecure Design?

Wallarm, being a trusted and comprehensive API security platform, offers a wide range of solutions to reduce the risk of Insecure Design vulnerability. As all of its solutions are automated and provide end-to-end assistance, it’s possible to enjoy high-end API security in the least possible hassles. Here are the consider-worthy offerings of Wallarm in this respect.

  • An automated Cloud WAF

Wallarm offers a highly inventive Cloud WAF to keep tons of vulnerabilities at bay. The WAF is competent to protect resources like serverless workload, API, and microservices in any ecosystem. As all the leading API protocols are supported, one enjoys extensive assistance. 

The tools become active after mere setting alterations, i.e. changing the DNS settings. Hence, it’s here to help everyone. It comes with nearly zero false-positive results that promise better and more accurate detection. 

The use of cutting-edge libDetection and core signature attack detection technology that Wallarm has used in the WAF has made it more impactful. Presently, it’s the only WAF in the market that can perform end-to-end automated incident analysis. All in all, one enjoys the best API security with this tool.

  • GoTestWAF

GoTestWAF is another technical marvel created and offered by Wallarm for AppSec experts. The tools create an API and OWASP threat detection simulation so that early vulnerability detection can happen. The tool lets developers create purpose-based malicious code for testing. It’s a great way to spot the design flaws before the hackers and fix them.

  • The API Security Platform

Starting from detection to testing, Wallarm is here to assist API security professionals at every front. The pre-designed and fully-integrated API security tool can help developers to track the design changes incurred in APIs, microservices, and apps. If any vulnerabilities are spotted, developers can design a defense mechanism as well. In short, Wallarm will help you keep all sorts of hassles at bay.

Hope you have learned it all about what A04:2021 Insecure Design OWASP 2021 vulnerability is and its impact. By following the preventive measures suggested by OWASP and by our experts, you will be able to stay safe against it.

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