The third annual Web Application Vulnerability Report from Context Information Security shows that despite increased awareness and understanding of web application security, the level of vulnerabilities in web apps remains largely unchanged. On average, the number of security issues affecting each web application increased from approximately 12.5 in 2010 to 13.5 in 2011, before declining to 12.1 in 2012.
However, the report does highlight that not all sectors have faired the same. Web apps for the Government and Media & Advertising sectors contained the highest number of vulnerabilities in 2010 and 2011, but Insurance & Law came out on top in 2012 with an average of almost 16 vulnerabilities per app. When it comes to the types of vulnerabilities, server misconfiguration and information-leakage have been top of the list for three years, while input validation weaknesses such as Cross-Site Scripting and SQL Injections are in slow decline.
The Context report is based on penetration test analysis drawn from nearly 12,000 confirmed vulnerabilities found in almost 900 pre-release and production web applications between January 2010 and December 2012. Because the dataset has been generated from manual penetration tests and not automated vulnerability scanners, the results provide a credible and high-quality view of web application security.