Web Application Security—Past, Present, and Future

  • Yao-Wen Huang
  • D. T. Lee


Web application security remains a major roadblock to universal acceptance of the Web for many kinds of online transactions, especially since the recent sharp increase in remotely exploitable vulnerabilities has been attributed to Web application bugs. In software engineering, software testing is an established and well-researched process for improving software quality. Recently, formal verification tools have also shown success in discovering vulnerabilities in C programs. In this chapter we shall discuss how to apply software testing and verification algorithms to Web applications and improve their security attributes. Two of the most common Web application vulnerabilities that are known to date are script injection, e.g., SQL injection, and cross-site scripting (XSS). We will formalize these vulnerabilities as problems related to information flow security—a conventional topic in security research. Using this formalization, we then present two tools, WAVES (Web Application Vulnerability and Error Scanner) and Web-SSARI (Web Application Security via Static Analysis and Runtime Inspection), which respectively utilize software testing and verification to deal in particular with script injection and XSS and address in general the Web application security problems. Finally we will present some results obtained by applying these tools to real-world Web applications that are in use today, and give some suggestions about the future research direction in this area.


Web application security software testing software verification 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yao-Wen Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. T. Lee
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Information ScienceTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Electrical EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Computer Science and Information EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaiwan

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