Types of Attacks for Web Applications


The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is an open-source application security project. The OWASP community includes corporations, educational organizations, and individuals from around the world. This community works to create freely-available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies. They are an excellent resource for web application security and information.

OWASP - Type of Attacks for Web Applications

Most Common Attack Vectors:

OWASP - Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-Site Scripting attacks are a type of injection problem, in which malicious scripts are injected into the otherwise benign and trusted web sites. Cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks occur when an attacker uses a web application to send malicious code, generally in the form of a browser side script, to a different end user. Flaws that allow these attacks to succeed are quite widespread and occur anywhere a web application uses input from a user in the output it generates without validating or encoding it.

An attacker can use XSS to send a malicious script to an unsuspecting user. The end user’s browser has no way to know that the script should not be trusted, and will execute the script. Because it thinks the script came from a trusted source, the malicious script can access any cookies, session tokens, or other sensitive information retained by your browser and used with that site. These scripts can even rewrite the content of the HTML page.

How to Avoid Cross-site scripting Vulnerabilities

See the XSS (Cross Site Scripting) Prevention Cheat Sheet

See the Abridged XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet

See the DOM based XSS Prevention Cheat Sheet

See the OWASP Development Guide article on Phishing.

See the OWASP Development Guide article on Data Validation.

How to Review Code for Cross-site scripting Vulnerabilities

See the OWASP Code Review Guide article on Reviewing Code for Cross-site scripting Vulnerabilities.

How to Test for Cross-site scripting Vulnerabilities

See the latest OWASP Testing Guide article on how to test for the various kinds of XSS vulnerabilities.


OWASP - SQL Injection

A SQL injection attack consists of insertion or "injection" of a SQL query via the input data from the client to the application. A successful SQL injection exploit can read sensitive data from the database, modify database data (Insert/Update/Delete), execute administration operations on the database (such as shutdown the DBMS), recover the content of a given file present on the DBMS file system and in some cases issue commands to the operating system. SQL injection attacks are a type of injection attack, in which SQL commands are injected into data-plane input in order to effect the execution of predefined SQL commands.


OWASP - Blind SQL Injection

When an attacker executes SQL Injection attacks, sometimes the server responds with error messages from the database server complaining that the SQL Query's syntax is incorrect. Blind SQL injection is identical to normal SQL Injection except that when an attacker attempts to exploit an application, rather then getting a useful error message, they get a generic page specified by the developer instead. This makes exploiting a potential SQL Injection attack more difficult but not impossible. An attacker can still steal data by asking a series of True and False questions through SQL statements.

How to Avoid SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

See the OWASP Development Guide article on how to Avoid SQL Injection Vulnerabilities. 
See the OWASP SQL Injection Prevention Cheat Sheet

How to Review Code for SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

See the OWASP Code Review Guide article on how to Review Code for SQL Injection Vulnerabilities.

How to Test for SQL Injection Vulnerabilities

See the OWASP Testing Guide article on how to Test for SQL Injection Vulnerabilities.


OWASP - Server Side Includes (SSI)

SSIs are directives present on Web applications used to feed an HTML page with dynamic contents. They are similar to CGIs, except that SSIs are used to execute some actions before the current page is loaded or while the page is being visualized. In order to do so, the web server analyzes SSI before supplying the page to the user.

The Server-Side Includes attack allows the exploitation of a web application by injecting scripts in HTML pages or executing arbitrary codes remotely. It can be exploited through manipulation of SSI in use in the application or force its use through user input fields.