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Web Security

Security is an increasingly important part of building modern web applications, but developers often fall victim to the pressure of tight deadlines. In this course, we’ll get hands on both from the attacking and defending standpoint, and learn how to keep the baddies out.

Module 1 Duration: 90 minutes

1 — State of Web App Security

Before we jump in, let’s talk about the current state of Web Application security in comparison to the ops and infrastructure security world. We’ll also look at the typical categories of attacks, and what we can do as developers to make sure we’re not easy targets ourselves!

State of Web App Security Duration: 10 minutes

We’ll make sure everyone is set up for the workshop, and go over the day’s agenda.

State of Web App Security Duration: 20 minutes
State of Web App Security

We’ll look at the role web security plays in the world, dissect the methodology behind some recent high-profile attacks, and discuss some shocking statistics regarding the vulnerability of web applications worldwide.

State of Web App Security Duration: 15 minutes
Categories of Attacks

We’ll look at a modern web application system as a whole, and point out several places where an attacker can probe, interfere with, or otherwise compromise it.

State of Web App Security Duration: 15 minutes
Protecting Developer Secrets

Developers are part of the system and can be targeted easily. We’ll go through the exercise of putting a password in front of a SSH key, encrypting a text file, and effectively managing file permissions on a POSIX-compliant operating system.

State of Web App Security Duration: 15 minutes
EXERCISE: Developer Lockdown

Using our newfound knowledge of developer security best practices, it is time to lock down your own machine.

State of Web App Security Duration: 15 minutes

Coffee Break

Module 2 Duration: 225 minutes

2 — Client-Side Vulnerabilities

The ability for users to inject content into web pages is the root cause of a broad class of vulnerabilities, which can affect the experience of other users, and leak potentially useful information out to an attacker. We’ll conduct some attacks in a controlled environment, and then learn how to defend against them in our own web applications.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) typically originates from failing to sufficiently sanitize user-generated content. We’ll look at how several types of seemingly benign user input can be used to inject some troublesome code into a web application.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
ATTACK: Cross-Site Scripting

Find a way to use a cross-site scripting attack to inject a malicious script into the example web application, such that the user’s username and password are sent to a RequestBin when they attempt to login. The operation of the application should not be obviously affected.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
DEFEND: Cross-Site Scripting

Use some content sanitization techniques to ensure that raw user-generated content isn’t used dangerously. This should result in your previous XSS attack being “disarmed”.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
Cross-Site Request Forgery Attacks (CSRF)

Cross-Site Request Forgery Attacks (CSRF) attacks force users to take unwanted actions in an application to which they’re currently authenticated. We’ll look at how this attack works, and what we can do to mitigate against it.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes

Stage a CSRF attack against the online banking example app to get users who click a particular link to transfer funds from their account to another one.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes

Use a CSRF token to defend against request forgery attacks. Your attack in the previous exercise should no longer work.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 45 minutes

Break for lunch

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
Clickjacking Attacks

Clickjacking involves carefully placing a transparent frame in a way that tricks the user into clicking a legitimate button, ultimately resulting in users performing an unintentional action in another web application.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
ATTACK: Clickjacking

Stage a clickjacking attack using the example web application, by positioning a transparent frame of the “Blue” web application over the “Red” web application.

Client-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
DEFEND: Clickjacking

Use the X-Frame-Options headers on the HTTP response for the “Blue” web application. This should disarm your previous Clickjacking attack.

Module 3 Duration: 115 minutes

3 — Server-Side Vulnerabilities

Attacks that cause a hosted application to operate in unexpected or unpredictable ways, can result in private data either leaking out through HTTP responses or logs.

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
SQL Injection

SQL injection attacks take advantage of improper sanitization of user input, to execute unplanned SQL statements against a database. This can result in leaking of private information, or potentially, total destruction of the database.

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
ATTACK: SQL Injection

Identify and exploit a SQL injection vulnerability in the online banking example app.

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
DEFEND: SQL Injection

Alter the online banking app so that user input is sanitized. Now, your SQL injection attack should no longer cause private data to be disclosed.

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 15 minutes

Coffee Break

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 10 minutes
Timing Attacks

Timing attacks, aim to get information out of a secure system by analyzing the time taken to perform certain operations – usually the time that’s related to the implementation of an encryption algorithm or other security measures.

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
ATTACK: Timing

Use a database of potential users, analyze login attempts to determine the users for which the password is actually evaluated, vs the users where the system doesn’t bother checking at all (i.e., non-user or disabled user).

Server-Side Vulnerabilities Duration: 10 minutes
DEFEND: Timing

Use a “dummy evaluation” to mitigate against a timing attack. Your solution to the previous exercise should have inconclusive results now.

Module 4 Duration: 65 minutes

4 — Network & Infrastructure Vulnerabilities

Even if you lock down your client and server side, it’s still our responsibility as developers to prevent users from getting into trouble when networks and certificates are tampered with.

Network & Infrastructure Vulnerabilities Duration: 30 minutes
Man-in-the-middle attacks, HTTPS and HSTS

There’s a good reason that the entire internet is moving toward HTTPS: it is exceedingly easy to observe and tamper with plain HTTP traffic. However, HTTPS is not enough! We’ll look at HTTP Strict Transport Security headers, and how we can save users from themselves.

Network & Infrastructure Vulnerabilities Duration: 20 minutes
Subresource Integrity (SRI)

What would happen if someone tampered with your CDN? Subresource Integrity (SRI) protects us from problems caused by tampered CDN, even when everything else fails. We’ll look at how an attack could be staged, and how SRI would save our users.

Network & Infrastructure Vulnerabilities Duration: 15 minutes
Wrap up and Recap

We’ll recap everything we’ve covered, and provide references for further reading and learning.

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