OWASP Top 10 Series – Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

In these series, I will try to explain each one of the security risks in the OWASP Top 10 (2021) list in the simplest way possible. Hopefully this can help myself and other’s to recall these concepts quickly.

Understanding OWASP Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

OWASP Security Logging and Monitoring Failures pertain to vulnerabilities arising from the improper implementation of security event logging and monitoring practices. These failures can hamper the timely detection of security incidents, making it easier for attackers to infiltrate systems undetected. Addressing these vulnerabilities is crucial as effective logging and monitoring are instrumental in maintaining a robust security posture.

Examples and Risks of Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

  1. Insufficient Logging: Inadequate logging can result in the failure to capture crucial security events, making it difficult to trace and respond to attacks.
  2. Lack of Real-time Monitoring: Failing to monitor security events in real time can delay the identification and mitigation of ongoing security breaches.
  3. Inadequate Log Analysis: Neglecting to perform regular log analysis can lead to missed opportunities to identify patterns or anomalies indicative of potential attacks.

Real-world Example: Exploiting Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

Consider an online banking application that experiences a series of failed login attempts from different IP addresses within a short timeframe. However, the application’s monitoring system doesn’t send alerts for multiple failed login attempts. As a result, an attacker systematically tries various credentials until gaining unauthorized access to multiple user accounts. The absence of real-time alerts delays the detection of this attack, allowing the attacker more time to cause damage.

Prevention Strategies and Best Practices

  1. Comprehensive Logging: Implement comprehensive logging to capture all relevant security events, including login attempts, access to sensitive data, and system changes.
  2. Real-time Monitoring: Set up real-time monitoring of logs to detect security incidents as they occur. Configure alerts for suspicious activities or patterns.
  3. Log Retention: Maintain logs for an appropriate period as dictated by regulations or business requirements. This facilitates post-incident analysis.
  4. Regular Log Analysis: Regularly analyze logs to identify patterns and anomalies that could indicate potential security breaches.
  5. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) Systems: Implement SIEM systems that aggregate and analyze logs from various sources, providing a centralized view of security events.