What is OWASP?
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a non-profit organization which was launched in 2001. The foundation works to ensure state-of-the-art security for web applications. Their open-sourced projects provide the tools and resources necessary to achieve a secure software service.
Why need OWASP and software security?
The tech industry has led to a boom in the digitization of every kind of service including medicine, eCommerce, fin-tech, banking and currency etc. however, with the increase in the amount and value of private or commercial data and applications, it has also become more prone to security threats.
Organizations are constantly collecting data which is then used for several purposes such as targeted advertisements, content recommendation, training Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms.
Banking and finance web applications use passwords to verify users, similarly, eCommerce websites contain credit card information. In case someone is able to hack into this sort of data, they could have access to the user's finances which can be devastating for the customer and the businesses.
Confidential data has to be protected by access privilege. Applications have to make sure only authorized personnel are able to access certain categories of data to minimize vulnerabilities.
Hence, web security is imperative to enable the growth of any online application and the tech industry as a whole. OWASP’s strong community consists of tens of thousands of members and 200+ local chapters work to ensure the software security and spread awareness for these purposes.
What is OWASP?
OWASP’s projects are open-sourced, which means they are free for anyone to contribute and use in order to achieve better application security. According to OWASP:
“We are an open community dedicated to enabling organizations to conceive, develop, acquire, operate, and maintain applications that can be trusted. All of our projects, tools, documents, forums, and chapters are free and open to anyone interested in improving application security”
In short, OWASP’s tools and resources are available for anyone anywhere, which is one of their core values.
One of their most prominent projects is the OWASP top ten, a standard document which aims to spread awareness about the 10 most critical software security flaws which affect the worldwide web.
The following graphic shows how these 10 security threats have changed from 2017 to 2021:
Source: OWASP top ten
Similarly, SAMM (Software Assurance Maturity Model) allows organizations to formulate a strategy which targets security issues faced by them, specifically.
Juice Shop is a website which invites hackers with purpose-built hacking challenges, it can be used for security awareness and testing tools.
OWASP provides open-source tools and resources which can be used to improve the security of online applications. They also offer educational and training conferences. These tools are free to be used, improved and modified for educational or business objectives.