Web Application Vulnerabilities 2013 – Context Information Security

Pierluigi Paganini July 24, 2013

Context Information Security  issued the report “Web Application Vulnerability Statistics 2013” that provides statistic on Web Application Vulnerabilities based on data gathered from a range of IT security activities and consultancy engagements during last three years.

The number of data breaches is increasing in concerning way also thanks to numerous cyber attacks that exploited Web Application Vulnerabilities in many web services. Surfing on the web I found an interesting report titled “Web Application Vulnerability Statistics 2013” based on gathered statistics from a range of IT security activities and consultancy engagements during last three, especially on penetration testing, conducted by researchers at Context Information Security. Context Information Security is an independent security consultancy specializing in both technical security and information assurance services.

This document provides the state of web application security, “presenting penetration test analysis drawn from a dataset containing nearly 12,000 confirmed vulnerabilities, found in almost 900 prerelease and production web applications during the period between January 2010 and December 2012”.

The authors proposed results obtained by manually-guided penetration tests to provide a high quality analysis of web application vulnerabilities discovered. The security experts observed a global decrease in Web Application Vulnerabilities related to input validation processes.

Web Application Vulnerabilities categories

On average, the number of security flaws affecting web application examined is increased from approximately 12.5 in 2010 to 13.5 in 2011 before declining to 12.1 in 2012.

“Web applications within the Government and Media/Advertising sectors were found to contain the highest or second highest number of vulnerabilities in two out of the three years from 2010 to 2012. By contrast, the Technology/Telecoms and Healthcare sectors were among the three least vulnerable sectors for two of the three years, with Healthcare being the least vulnerable discrete sector twice”

Web Application Vulnerabilities identified 2010-2012

Cross-Site Scripting for example is passed from 69% of applications affected in 2010 to 56% in 2012, a similar argument for SQL Injection flaws that affected around 17% of applications in 2010 and 2011 and 15% of applications in 2012. This data is the demonstration of increased awareness of cyber threats and related risks that led customers to build more robust web solutions.

Server misconfiguration and information-leakage vulnerabilities are primary causes of incidents to Web Application during the entire period of observation, the observation raises the necessity to adopt a robust process for deployment of web solutions into production environments.

Considering the OWASP Top 10 Web Application Vulnerabilities in 2012 the experts remarked the predominance for “Broken Authentication and Session Management”, a very large category of vulnerabilities that impacted on the overall security of Web applications. Despite the increased level of awareness on security issues the number of Web Application Vulnerabilities remained roughly consistent.

Web Application Vulnerabilities categories data


The second part of the report proposes an interesting analysis on Web Application Vulnerabilities found in each category per year in each sector. The authors concluded that the average of a number of Web Application Vulnerabilities has remained relatively stable during the three years and the prevalence of the categories in relation to each other has also experienced little movement.

Cyber security for Web Applications is a crucial aspect for Security Landscape and reports like this one could give to company management very precise information on the evolution of cyber threats … That’s why I suggest its reading.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Web Application Vulnerabilities)


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