[Owasp-leaders] Owasp Source Code Flaws Top 10 Project

Calderon, Juan Carlos (GE, Corporate, consultant) juan.calderon at ge.com
Mon Dec 15 11:31:43 EST 2008

2 comments on Documentation Weakness I agree, that is not the issues, but "Sensitive Information Disclosure via comments" 
Anyway, regardless of the name, What about OWASP created a tool that take off all the comments in source code and leave IDs on their place?. You can run it just before deploying your code. At the same time this process could be reversed by simply replacing back the comments in case you need them back for further modification of the source code. It would be ideal if this could be a plug-in for Eclipse where you can see the comments in place but the actual code do not contain them. Also many other interpreter-based tech will benefit as well, like PHP, Perl and Classic ASP.
Anyone interested on running the project, it shouldn't be that much :) ?
Juan Carlos Calderon
Application Security Program
Project Leader


From: owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org [mailto:owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org] On Behalf Of Erlend Oftedal
Sent: Lunes, 15 de Diciembre de 2008 09:25 a.m.
To: owasp-leaders at lists.owasp.org
Subject: Re: [Owasp-leaders] Owasp Source Code Flaws Top 10 Project

Hi Paolo


This is an interesting project, which I hope will be successful.


I have some comments:

"C3 - Missing input validation" - I would call this "Missing input validation and output encoding". It's not always possible to filter out dangerous characters from the input. Consider the name O'Brian. It contains a quote (') which might be considered dangerous (SQL-injection) and filtered out. However it's actually a part of the name, and we should thus store it. So the correct way to handle this character would be to encode it when sending the data to the SQL-server. Best practices here would be to use parameterized queries or in the case of missing language support, escape it yourself. However this is not a part of input validation. It's something developers should do where they create the SQL-statement.

The same logic can be used for XSS. 

Please not that I'm not saying input validation is useless. I just think both are necessary.


 "C9 - Documentation weakness" - I don't think that documentation is the issue here. In my opinion, writing maintainable code is not about documenting your code, but about writing code that others can read. If you look to coding gurus like Robert C. Martin (author of books such as "Clean Code"), he says "Obviously, there are times when you must write a comment but I want those times to be few and far between and if I find myself writing a comment because I've got no other option, I kick myself. It's a failure of my ability to express myself well in code."

The idea  is to use short methods (easy to get an overview), good method and variable naming, and good object oriented design (using design principles like the Single-Responsibility-Principle) to reduce the complexity of the code.

Documentation and comments has a tendency to lie, because when developers are short on time (which they often are because of management or customer pressure), they tend to fix the code without updating the comments. In this case the documentation will lie, which is a lot worse than no documentation at all. However the code does not lie. The best documentation you can have, is in the form of unit tests and integration tests, because the documentation/specification is then executable. So my suggestion for C9 would be: "C9 - Readability" or "C9 - Unreadable code". 

While on the subject of testing, "CX - Untested code" could be another item in you list. 



Best regards

Erlend Oftedal

OWASP Norway



Fra: owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org [mailto:owasp-leaders-bounces at lists.owasp.org] På vegne av Paolo Perego
Sendt: 15. desember 2008 15:11
Til: Owasp leaders
Emne: [Owasp-leaders] Owasp Source Code Flaws Top 10 Project


Hello leaders, I'm really happy to announce a new documentation project I started today. Our Top 10 most critical web app vulnerabilities is the standard de facto when trying to summarize findings when you assess a web application. And it is great.


Looking at source code assessment (or code review, or static analysis, or whatever the name you want to use :-)), nothing like this exists. Gary McGraw introduced the 7 kingdoms as taxonomy. I started looking at this great job extending it to meet Owasp Top 10 like template.

I also used categories that I found useful to gather security code review findings in.


That's why I started this Top 10 project. The goal is to provide something useful in Owasp Code Review Guide while trying to organize security issues and the second goal is to use it as Owasp Orizon default library cookbooks in order to have a "fil rouge" from Code review guide and the implementing tool. The Source code flaws Top 10 will be that fil rouge.


I really hope that everyone interested will subscribe to mailing list and give some contributions to this document I'd like to release as beta quality project in the next AppSec Europe 2009 in Cracow.


Link: http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Source_Code_Flaws_Top_10_Project
Roadmap: http://www.owasp.org/index.php/Category:OWASP_Source_Code_Flaws_Top_10_Project_Roadmap

Mailinglist subscription page: https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-source-code-flaws-top-10



"stay hungry, stay foolish"

OWASP Orizon project, http://orizon.sourceforge.net
"enjoy your code review experience"

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