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Web application security


Your web application works as intended, so you are done, right? But did you consider feeding in incorrect values? 16 Gbs of data? A null? An apostrophe? Negative numbers, or specifically -1 or -231? Because that’s what the bad guys will do – and the list is far from complete.

Handling security needs a healthy level of paranoia, and this is what this course provides: a strong emotional engagement by lots of hands on labs and stories from real life, all to substantially improve code hygiene. Mistakes, consequences, and best practices are our blood, sweat and tears.

The curriculum goes through the common Web application security issues following the OWASP Top Ten but goes far beyond it both in coverage and the details.All this is put in the context of Java, and extended by core programming issues, discussing security pitfalls of the Java language and framework.

So that you are prepared for the forces of the dark side.

So that nothing unexpected happens.


Training formats



3 days


2250 €


Developers working on Web applications

Contents of Web application security

The course is a remote course. To make participation easier and to give you time to digest all that is learned, the course is organised on 5 consecutive days from 9 to 13.

Session 1

Cyber security basics

What is security?

Threat and risk

Cyber security threat types

Consequences of insecure software

  • Constraints and the market
  • The dark side

The OWASP Top Ten

OWASP Top 10 – 2017

A1 - Injection

  • Injection principles
  • Injection attacks
  • SQL injection: SQL injection basics, Lab – SQL injection, Attack techniques, Content-based blind SQL injection, Time-based blind SQL injection
  • SQL injection best practices: Input validation, Parameterized queries, Additional considerations, Lab – Using prepared statements, Case study – Hacking Fortnite accounts

Session 2

The OWASP Top Ten

A1 - Injection (continued)

  • Code injection
  • OS command injection: OS command injection best practices, Case study – Shellshock, Lab - Shellshock, Case study – Command injection via ping

A2 - Broken Authentication

  • Authentication basics
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Authentication weaknesses - spoofing
  • Spoofing on the Web
  • Case study – PayPal 2FA bypass
  • User interface best practices
  • Lab – On-line password brute forcing
  • Password management
  • Inbound password management: Storing account passwords, Password in transit, Lab – Is just hashing passwords enough?, Dictionary attacks and brute forcing, Salting, Adaptive hash functions for password storage, Password policy, NIST authenticator requirements for memorized secrets, Password length, Password hardening, Using passphrases, Lab – Applying a password policy, Password change, Forgotten passwords, Lab – Password reset weakness, Case study – The Ashley Madison data breach, The dictionary attack, The ultimate crack, Exploitation and the lessons learned, Password database migration, (Mis)handling passwords

Session 3

The OWASP Top Ten

A2 - Broken Authentication (continued)

  • Session management: Session management essentials, Session ID best practices, Why do we protect session IDs – Session hijacking, Session fixation, Cross-site Request Forgery (CSRF) (Lab – Cross-site Request Forgery, CSRF best practices, CSRF defense in depth,  Lab – CSRF protection with tokens)
  • Cookie security: Cookie security best practices, Cookie attributes

A3 - Sensitive Data Exposure

  • Information exposure
  • Exposure through extracted data and aggregation
  • Case study – Strava data exposure
  • System information leakage: Leaking system information
  • Information exposure best practices

A4 - XML External Entities (XXE)

  • DTD and the entities
  • Entity expansion
  • External Entity Attack (XXE): File inclusion with external entities, Server-Side Request Forgery with external entities, Lab – External entity attack, Case study – XXE vulnerability in SAP Store, Lab – Prohibiting DTD expansion

A5 - Broken Access Control

  • Access control basics
  • Failure to restrict URL access
  • Lab – Failure to restrict URL access
  • Confused deputy: Insecure direct object reference (IDOR), Lab – Insecure Direct Object Reference, Authorization bypass through user-controlled keys, Case study – Authorization bypass on Facebook, Lab – Horizontal authorization, Server-side Request Forgery (SSRF)
  • File upload: Unrestricted file upload, Good practices, Lab – Unrestricted file upload

A6 - Security Misconfiguration

  • Configuration principles
  • Configuration management
  • Server misconfiguration

Session 4

The OWASP Top Ten

A7 - Cross-site Scripting (XSS)

  • Cross-site scripting basics
  • Cross-site scripting types: Persistent cross-site scripting, Reflected cross-site scripting,  Client-side (DOM-based) cross-site scripting, Case study – XSS in Fortnite accounts
  • XSS protection best practices
  • o Protection principles - escaping: Lab – XSS fix / stored, Lab – XSS fix / reflected, Additional protection layers, Client-side protection principles

A8 - Insecure Deserialization

  • Serialization and deserialization challenges
  • Deserializing untrusted streams
  • Deserialization best practices
  • Lab – Creating a POP payload
  • Lab – Using the POP payload

A9 - Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

  • Using vulnerable components
  • Assessing the environment
  • Hardening
  • Untrusted functionality import
  • Importing JavaScript
  • Case study – The British Airways data breach
  • Vulnerability management: Patch management, Vulnerability management, Vulnerability databases

A10 - Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

  • Logging and monitoring principles
  • Insufficient logging
  • Case study – Plaintext passwords at Facebook
  • Logging best practices

XML security

XML validation

XML injection

  • Lab – XML injection
  • XPath injection
  • Blind XPath injection

XML signature

  • XML signature wrapping
  • Case study – signature wrapping in single sign-on solutions

JSON security

JSON injection

Dangers of JSONP

JSON/JavaScript hijacking

Best practices

Case study – ReactJS vulnerability in HackerOne

Session 5

The OWASP Top Ten

Web application security beyond the Top Ten

  • Client-side security
  • Lab – Client-side security
  • Same Origin Policy: Relaxing the Same Origin Policy, Relaxing with Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS), Simple request, Preflight request, Tabnabbing, Lab – Reverse tabnabbing
  • Frame sandboxing: Cross-Frame Scripting (XFS) attack, Lab - Clickjacking, Clickjacking beyond hijacking a click, Clickjacking protection best practices, Lab – Using CSP to prevent clickjacking
  • Some further best practices: HTML5 security best practices, CSS security best practices, Ajax security best practices

Denial of service

Denial of Service

Resource exhaustion

Cash overflow


Sustained client engagement

Infinite loop

Algorithm complexity issues

  • Regular expression denial of service (ReDoS): Dealing with ReDoS, Hashtable collision (How hashtables work?, Hash collision in case of hashtables)

Security testing

Security testing techniques and tools

  • Code analysis: Security aspects of code review, Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
  • Dynamic analysis: Security testing at runtime, Penetration testing, Stress testing, Dynamic analysis tools (Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), Web vulnerability scanners, SQL injection tools, Proxy servers)
  • Fuzzing

Wrap up

Secure coding principles

  • Principles of robust programming by Matt Bishop
  • Secure design principles of Saltzer and Schröder

And now what?

  • Software security sources and further reading


The course is organised on 5 consecutive days from 9 to 13.

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