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The OWASP Top 10: A Comprehensive Guide to Web Application Security

By Luke Turvey

Last updated 21 June 2024

The OWASP Top 10 is a critical resource for developers, security professionals, and organizations aiming to enhance their web application security.

This list, curated by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), highlights the most prevalent and severe security risks facing web applications today.

In this blog, we will delve into some of the OWASP Top 10 projects, exploring the OWASP API Top 10, the OWASP Top 10 for LLM applications, and the OWASP Mobile Top 10.

Understanding the OWASP Top 10 2021

The OWASP Top 10 is a list of the most critical security risks to web applications. It is updated periodically to reflect the evolving threat landscape.

The latest version, OWASP Top 10 2021, includes:

  1. Broken Access Control

  2. Cryptographic Failures

  3. Injection

  4. Insecure Design

  5. Security Misconfiguration

  6. Vulnerable and Outdated Components

  7. Identification and Authentication Failures

  8. Software and Data Integrity Failures

  9. Security Logging and Monitoring Failures

  10. Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

Key Tips for Mitigating OWASP Top 10 Risks

  • Implement Access Controls: Ensure that access controls are properly configured and enforced to prevent unauthorized access.

  • Use Strong Cryptography: Employ robust encryption algorithms and manage keys securely.

  • Validate Inputs: Always validate and sanitize user inputs to prevent injection attacks.

  • Design Securely: Incorporate security best practices during the design phase of application development.

  • Regular Updates: Keep all components, including libraries and frameworks, up to date.

  • Monitor and Log: Implement comprehensive logging and monitoring to detect and respond to security incidents promptly.

OWASP API Top 10 2023

APIs are increasingly becoming a target for attackers due to their widespread use in modern applications.

The OWASP Top 10 2023 highlights the most critical API security risks:

  1. Broken Object Level Authorization

  2. Broken Authentication

  3. Broken Object Property Level Authorization

  4. Unrestricted Resource Consumption

  5. Broken Function Level Authorization

  6. Unrestricted Access to Sensitive Business Flows

  7. Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

  8. Security Misconfiguration

  9. Improper Inventory Management

  10. Unsafe Consumption of APIs

Practical Tips for Securing APIs

  • Enforce Object-Level Authorization: Ensure that every API endpoint enforces proper authorization checks.

  • Secure Authentication Mechanisms: Use strong authentication methods and protect authentication tokens.

  • Limit Resource Consumption: Implement rate limiting and resource quotas to prevent abuse.

  • Monitor API Usage: Continuously monitor API traffic for unusual patterns that may indicate an attack.

OWASP Top 10 for LLM Applications

Large Language Models (LLMs) present unique security challenges.

The OWASP Top 10 for LLM Applications addresses these specific risks:

  1. Prompt Injection

  2. Insecure Output Handling

  3. Training Data Poisoning

  4. Model Denial of Service

  5. Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

  6. Sensitive Information Disclosure

  7. Insecure Plugin Design

  8. Excessive Agency

  9. Overreliance

  10. Model Theft

Tips for Securing LLM Applications

  • Validate Outputs:Ensure that outputs from LLMs are validated before use.

  • Protect Training Data: Secure the integrity of training data to prevent poisoning.

  • Limit Model Access:Restrict access to LLMs to prevent unauthorized use and potential theft.

  • Monitor for Abuse: Implement monitoring to detect and respond to prompt injection and other attacks.

OWASP Mobile Top 10

Mobile applications face distinct security challenges.

The OWASP Mobile Top 10 2024 identifies the top risks for mobile apps:

  1. Improper Credential Usage

  2. Inadequate Supply Chain Security

  3. Insecure Authentication/Authorization

  4. Insufficient Input/Output Validation

  5. Insecure Communication

  6. Inadequate Privacy Controls

  7. Insufficient Binary Protections

  8. Security Misconfiguration

  9. Insecure Data Storage

  10. Insufficient Cryptography

Tips for Securing Mobile Applications

  • Secure Credentials: Avoid hardcoding credentials and ensure they are stored securely.

  • Validate Inputs: Implement robust input validation to prevent injection attacks.

  • Encrypt Communication: Use strong encryption for data in transit to protect against interception.

  • Protect Data Storage: Ensure that sensitive data is stored securely and encrypted.


The OWASP Top 10 2021, along with the OWASP Top 10 2023 (API), OWASP Top 10 for LLM, and OWASP Mobile Top 10, provide invaluable guidance for securing various types of applications.

By understanding and addressing these top security risks, developers and organizations can significantly enhance their security posture and protect their applications from common threats.

Stay informed, implement best practices, and continuously monitor and update your security measures to stay ahead of potential attackers.

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