Sep 28 2022

How Can WAF Prevent OWASP Top 10?

Category: next generation firewall,Web SecurityDISC @ 9:11 am

The OWASP Top 10 security risks point out the common vulnerabilities seen in web applications. But it does not list the set of attack vectors that WAFs (Web Application Firewalls) can simply block. This is but a myth often propagated by many a security vendor. OWASP Top 10 protection is the joint responsibility of the security vendor and the application developers.

There is a lot that an effective security solution and WAF can do to secure OWASP vulnerabilities. But in some cases, the security solution may not be able to give complete coverage against it and requires the developers/ organizations to take preventive action. 

In this article, we help you understand how a comprehensive, intelligent, and fully managed WAF can augment OWASP Top 10 protection. 

A Quick Introduction to WAF 

WAF is the first line of defense between the web application and the web traffic, filtering out malicious requests and bad traffic at the network edge. The best WAFs are part of larger security solutions that combine deep, intelligent scanning, bot management, API protection, etc., with OWASP protection. They also leverage self-learning AI, behavioral and pattern analysis, security analytics, global threat feeds, and cloud computing in combination with human expertise. 

WAFs and OWASP Top 10 Protection

Broken Access Control 

To effectively prevent this OWASP vulnerability, organizations must fix their access control model. WAFs can help organizations by 

  • Proactively identify attack vectors leveraged by attackers to exploit vulnerabilities such as design flaws, bugs, default passwords, vulnerable components, etc. 
  • Testing for the insecure direct object reference, local file inclusions, and directory traversals
  • Providing visibility into the security posture, including access control violations
  • Implementing custom rate limiting and geo limiting policies.

Cryptographic Failures

The encryption of everything, in rest and transit, is necessary for OWASP Top 10 protection against cryptographic failures. WAFs, augment protection by testing for weak SSL/TLS ciphers, insufficient transport layer protection, crypto agility, sensitive information sent via unencrypted channels, credentials transmitted over encrypted channels, etc. Organizations can then fix any issues that are identified. 


User input sanitization, validation, and parameterized queries are critical to prevent this risk. For OWASP protection against injections, WAFs use a combination of whitelist and blacklist models to identify all types of injection – command, SQL, code, etc. 

WAFs leverage behavior, pattern, and heuristic analytics and client reputation monitoring to proactively detect anomalous behavior and prevent malicious requests from reaching and being executed by servers. They use virtual patching to instantly secure injection flaws and prevent attackers’ exploitation. 

Also, Download Your Copy of OWASP Top 10 2022 Playbook

Insecure Design 

By integrating the WAF and the security solution right into the early stages of software development, organizations can continuously monitor and test for security weaknesses. For instance, organizations can identify insecure codes, components with known vulnerabilities, flawed business logic, etc., in the early SDLC stages by deploying a WAF and fixing them. This helps build secure-by-design websites and apps.  

Security Misconfigurations 

For OWASP Top 10 protection against security misconfigurations, WAFs use a combination of fingerprinting analysis and testing. They fingerprint web servers, web frameworks, and the application itself and test error codes, HTTP methods, stack traces, and RIA cross-domain policies to look for security misconfigurations. 

WAFs use automated workflows to intelligently detect misconfigurations, including default passwords, configurations, unused features, verbose error messages, etc. They virtually patch these misconfigurations to prevent exploitation by threat actors. They offer real-time visibility into the security posture and insightful reports, enabling organizations to keep hardening their security posture. 

Vulnerable and Outdated Components 

The intelligent scanning capabilities of WAFs enable organizations to continuously detect vulnerable and outdated components. Here, again instantaneous virtual patching helps secure these OWASP vulnerabilities until fixed by developers. 

Identification and Authentication Failures

Organizations must implement effective session management policies, strong password policies, and multi-factor authentication for OWASP Top 10 protection against identification and authentication failures. Intelligent WAFs leverage their strong technological capabilities to accurately identify these failures. 

They leverage their bot detection capabilities – workflow validation, fingerprinting, and behavioral analysis – to prevent brute force attacks, credential stuffing, and other bot attacks resulting from the exploitation of broken authentication and session management. 

Software and Data Integrity Failures

WAFs are equipped to detect these OWASP security risks effectively using their continuous scanning and pen-testing capabilities. They use a combination of negative and positive security models to prevent this risk. 

Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

The best WAFs offer ongoing logging and monitoring features and complete visibility into the security posture. They offer cohesive dashboards that can be used to generate customizable and visual reports, gain critical insights and recommendations to improve security, etc. 

Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

For protection against SSRF, implementation of positive rules, user input validation, etc., by the organizations is critical. WAFs, on their end, can be configured to block unwanted website traffic by default, encrypting responses, preventing HTTP redirections, etc. 

OWASP Top 10 security risks

Web Application Firewall WAF A Complete Guide

Tags: Next-Gen WAF protection, OWASP Top 10, WAF

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