Top Takeaways from the OWASP 2024 Report

ATTACHMENT DETAILS Top-Takeaways-from-the-OWASP-Report 2024

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) recently released its 2024 report highlighting the biggest security vulnerabilities in web applications. Cybersecurity is a major concern for businesses of all sizes, so the OWASP report provides important insights that all organizations should be aware of. 

Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Hackers Can Still Easily Break In: For 6 years in a row, the most common and dangerous security risk is when hackers exploit weaknesses in how web applications handle user inputs. This allows them to gain unauthorized access to systems and data. 
  1. Authentication is a Growing Headache: As more business moves online and to mobile apps, properly managing user logins and sessions has become extremely challenging. Vulnerabilities here make it easier for attackers to compromise user accounts.
  1. APIs Have Security Blind Spots: Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are everywhere, but they often have security gaps that expose sensitive data or allow unauthorized access.
  1. Malicious Scripts Keep Slipping Through: Despite awareness, vulnerabilities that let hackers inject malicious scripts into web pages remain stubbornly common. Developers have to stay very vigilant about sanitizing all user inputs.
  1. Sloppy Configuration Gives Easy Entrance: Poorly set up systems, software, and cloud services continue to provide easy ways for attackers to gain a foothold in applications and networks. 
  1. Sensitive Data Remains Widely Exposed: Many applications still fail to properly protect critical information like login credentials, payment details, and personal data, leaving it vulnerable to theft and misuse.

The OWASP report makes it clear that web security requires ongoing effort and vigilance from developers, security teams, and business leaders. By understanding these top risks, companies can focus their security efforts on the most urgent problem areas.

Valkyrie CEO Charlie Burgoyne speaking on the critical topic of governance and accountability in AI

Valkyrie CEO Charlie Burgoyne speaking on the critical topic of governance and accountability in AI

The Crucial Need for Secure, Governed AI Solutions

Safe, governed, and trustworthy outcomes are crucial to unlocking scaled AI rollouts. From prompt injections that can manipulate model outputs to reveal sensitive information, to data poisoning skewing large language model (LLM) behavior—each risk points to the need for securing your data and prompts. 

For example, a single insecure output could execute harmful code through a seemingly benign LLM-generated email. A compromised plugin could open floodgates to unauthorized actions, potentially upending organizational security. And unchecked usage of LLMs can spread misinformation, propagate bias, and pose significant legal quandaries.

The OWASP Top 10 report dives into these AI-specific risks in detail:

  1. Prompt Injections: Malicious inputs can manipulate LLM outputs, potentially leaking data or executing unauthorized actions. For instance, a crafted prompt could trick an LLM into revealing sensitive information.
  1. Insecure Output Handling: When systems blindly trust LLM outputs without verification, it could lead to security threats like XSS or CSRF attacks. An example includes an LLM-generated email executing harmful code.
  1. Data Poisoning: Maliciously altered training data can skew LLM behavior, spreading misinformation. If unchecked, this could bias LLM outputs, promoting harmful narratives.

The list goes on to highlight the critical need to secure AI-powered systems with robust data governance, prompt management, plugin validation, and a deep understanding of the unique risks.

By addressing these vulnerabilities, organizations can unlock the transformative potential of AI while ensuring safe, trustworthy, and compliant outcomes. Pursuing custom, enterprise-grade AI solutions built on a foundation of security and governance is essential for businesses looking to scale AI with confidence.

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Valkyrie is an applied science firm that builds industry-defining AI and ML models through our services, product, impact, and investment arms. We specialize in taking the latest advancements in AI research and applying it to solve our client’s challenges through model development or product deployment. Our work can be found across industry from SiriusXM, Activision, Chubb Insurance, and the Department of Defense, to name a few.

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