“Our list of the Top 20 vulnerabilities exemplifies the most important cyber security risks – the ones that throughout the year have had the highest profile of damage to individuals, corporations and government agencies,” says Alan Paller, director of research, SANS Institute. “We are enormously appreciative of Qualys, both for its contributions to the Top 20 research, and for making a free testing tool available that indicates whether systems are vulnerable to the Top 20.”
In its seventh year in issuing the Top 20 Internet Security Risks, this year’s SANS list reveals a continued shift from server-side to client-side vulnerabilities, as illustrated by numerous zero-day threats in popular end user applications such as Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player and Adobe. Another rising trend in 2007 is an increase in vulnerabilities relating to Web applications such as wikis, portals or those that provide access to backend databases and banking applications. This is due in part to the fact that developing Web applications is an intricate process, and the combined complexity and flexibility of Web development tools, such as Java, .Net, Perl, PHP, Ruby, and others, make it easy for development mistakes to become exploitable security holes. Attackers have increasingly used techniques such as cross-site scripting to exploit not only the information stored within the Web application itself, but as a launch pad to internal network segments and servers, and even end user systems.
“The SANS Top 20 list is an effective tool in helping businesses prioritize their efforts to address the most current and pervasive security vulnerabilities,” said Amol Sarwate, manager of the vulnerability research lab at Qualys and a returning contributing member to the SANS Top 20. “As a service to our customers and the security community as a whole, Qualys supports the SANS Institute and we are glad to share our research in vulnerability management to help organizations address the increasing threats in client-side and Web application vulnerabilities and overall prevention of the most criminal and harmful attacks.”
Sarwate, along with forty-three security experts from government, industry and academia in a half dozen countries cooperated to produce the consensus. Their names are listed in the Top 20 which is available online at www.sans.org/top20.
Qualys’ on demand model provides customers with immediate vulnerability updates, such as the Top 20 listing, without the need for installing software or building out additional infrastructure. In addition to the free scan, the QualysGuard service detects new exposures in the SANS Top 20.