Web 2.0 apps riddled with holes, warns SPI

Dynamic apps built using AJAX, SOAP, SOA and Flash pose possible security concerns for developers

New browser-based application technologies are opening new security holes, warned SPI Dynamics as it launched a re-engineered version of its SOA/Web 2.0 security testing software WebInspect this week.

Brian Cohen, SPI's CEO, said that older testing tools -- including his -- were fine for relatively static server-side applications, but are no good for modern dynamic apps built using the likes of AJAX, SOAP, SOA and Flash.

"These applications are not static, or even close to it," he said. "The underpinnings of the web have fundamentally changed. HTML and CGI applications were predictable, but now the environment is much more complicated to interpret - it is dynamic."

Cohen said that SPI had to completely redesign the platform that underlies the latest version of WebInspect so it can analyze Web 2.0 applications, looking at client-side security as well as server-side.

The danger is more widespread than users might think, said James Spooner, technical director of Lodoga Security, which beta-tested WebInspect 7.

"Proper corporate applications are using many of these features in quite subtle ways," he said. "For example, we've worked on a government application running single-sign on and data validation, all on web services and made up of 15 different applications.

"Traditional test tools look for menu systems and so on, but in AJAX, Javascript runs the show and you're handing over trust to the client - it's incredibly scary.

He continued, "Web developers are far too confident in the ability of their tools to protect them. The thing is, the existing toolkits are great for developing, but they don't do anything to stop you writing insecure code."

The risks are not just technical -- they also come from who's driving application development now and they come from later in the application lifecycle, Cohen added.

"Some aren't even written by engineers, they're being done by marketing," he said, noting that as applications evolve over time, it is all too easy for developers to code quick fixes onto the page without considering the security implications.

He said that as well as scanning for vulnerable application logic during development and testing apps before they go live, users need to regularly test them after they go live as well. "Most applications aren't AJAX, but most now use some element that uses AJAX," he warned.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Bryan Betts

Techworld.com
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?