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Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors

If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it- Peter Drucker

Here is a RSS feed/website  for all security incidents

http://www.us-cert.gov/current/ and http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/techalerts/

You can also see http://www.onguardonline.gov/tools/overview.aspx for tools to be secure online.

But the new measuring system is http://cwe.mitre.org/cwss/ to help being secure. It basically creates a score or an anlytical approach for measuring vulnerabilities.

Common Weakness Scoring System (CWSS)

The Common Weakness Scoring System (CWSS) provides a mechanism for scoring weaknesses in a consistent, flexible, open manner while accommodating context for the various business domains. It is a collaborative, community-based effort that is addressing the needs of itsstakeholders across government, academia, and industry. CWSS is a part of the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) project, co-sponsored by the Software Assurance program in the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


  • provides a common framework for prioritizing security errors (“weaknesses”) that are discovered in software applications
  • provides a quantitative measurement of the unfixed weaknesses that are present within a software application
  • can be used by developers to prioritize unfixed weaknesses within their own software
  • in conjunction with the Common Weakness Risk Analysis Framework (CWRAF), can be used by consumers to identify the most important weaknesses for their business domains, in order to inform their acquisition and protection activities as one part of the larger process of achieving software assurance.

and the top 25 errors in software are



Rank Score ID Name
[1] 93.8 CWE-89 Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an SQL Command (‘SQL Injection’)
[2] 83.3 CWE-78 Improper Neutralization of Special Elements used in an OS Command (‘OS Command Injection’)
[3] 79.0 CWE-120 Buffer Copy without Checking Size of Input (‘Classic Buffer Overflow’)
[4] 77.7 CWE-79 Improper Neutralization of Input During Web Page Generation (‘Cross-site Scripting’)
[5] 76.9 CWE-306 Missing Authentication for Critical Function
[6] 76.8 CWE-862 Missing Authorization
[7] 75.0 CWE-798 Use of Hard-coded Credentials
[8] 75.0 CWE-311 Missing Encryption of Sensitive Data
[9] 74.0 CWE-434 Unrestricted Upload of File with Dangerous Type
[10] 73.8 CWE-807 Reliance on Untrusted Inputs in a Security Decision
[11] 73.1 CWE-250 Execution with Unnecessary Privileges
[12] 70.1 CWE-352 Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
[13] 69.3 CWE-22 Improper Limitation of a Pathname to a Restricted Directory (‘Path Traversal’)
[14] 68.5 CWE-494 Download of Code Without Integrity Check
[15] 67.8 CWE-863 Incorrect Authorization
[16] 66.0 CWE-829 Inclusion of Functionality from Untrusted Control Sphere
[17] 65.5 CWE-732 Incorrect Permission Assignment for Critical Resource
[18] 64.6 CWE-676 Use of Potentially Dangerous Function
[19] 64.1 CWE-327 Use of a Broken or Risky Cryptographic Algorithm
[20] 62.4 CWE-131 Incorrect Calculation of Buffer Size
[21] 61.5 CWE-307 Improper Restriction of Excessive Authentication Attempts
[22] 61.1 CWE-601 URL Redirection to Untrusted Site (‘Open Redirect’)
[23] 61.0 CWE-134 Uncontrolled Format String
[24] 60.3 CWE-190 Integer Overflow or Wraparound
[25] 59.9 CWE-759 Use of a One-Way Hash without a Salt


You can use the list at http://cwe.mitre.org/top25/index.html and check your own corporate vulnerabilities. It is better to sweat in cyber peace than bleed in cyber war, huh.





R Apache – The next frontier of R Computing

I am currently playing/ trying out RApache- one more excellent R product from Vanderbilt’s excellent Dept of Biostatistics and it’s prodigious coder Jeff Horner.

The big ninja himself

I really liked the virtual machine idea- you can download a virtual image of Rapache and play with it- .vmx is easy to create and great to share-


Basically using R Apache (with an EC2 on backend) can help you create customized dashboards, BI apps, etc all using R’s graphical and statistical capabilities.

What’s R Apache?

As  per


Rapache embeds the R interpreter inside the Apache 2 web server. By doing this, Rapache realizes the full potential of R and its facilities over the web. R programmers configure appache by mapping Universal Resource Locaters (URL’s) to either R scripts or R functions. The R code relies on CGI variables to read a client request and R’s input/output facilities to write the response.

One advantage to Rapache’s architecture is robust multi-process management by Apache. In contrast to Rserve and RSOAP, Rapache is a pre-fork server utilizing HTTP as the communications protocol. Another advantage is a clear separation, a loose coupling, of R code from client code. With Rserve and RSOAP, the client must send data and R commands to be executed on the server. With Rapache the only client requirements are the ability to communicate via HTTP. Additionally, Rapache gains significant authentication, authorization, and encryption mechanism by virtue of being embedded in Apache.

Existing Demos of Architechture based on R Apache-

  1. http://rweb.stat.ucla.edu/ggplot2/ An interactive web dashboard for plotting graphics based on csv or Google Spreadsheet Data
  2. http://labs.dataspora.com/gameday/ A demo visualization of a web based dashboard system of baseball pitches by pitcher by player 








3. http://data.vanderbilt.edu/rapache/bbplot For baseball results – a demo of a query based web dashboard system- very good BI feel.

Whats coming next in R Apache?

You can  download version 1.1.10 of rApache now. There
are only two significant changes and you don’t have to edit your
apache config or change any code (just recompile rApache and

1) Error reporting should be more informative. both when you
accidentally introduce errors in the Apache config, and when your code
introduces warnings and errors from web requests.

I’ve struggled with this one for awhile, not really knowing what
strategy would be best. Basically, rApache hooks into the R I/O layer
at such a low level that it’s hard to capture all warnings and errors
as they occur and introduce them to the user in a sane manner. In
prior releases, when ROutputErrors was in effect (either the apache
directive or the R function) one would typically see a bunch of grey
boxes with a red outline with a title of RApache Warning/Error!!!.
Unfortunately those grey boxes could contain empty lines, one line of
error, or a few that relate to the lines in previously displayed
boxes. Really a big uninformative mess.

The new approach is to print just one warning box with the title
“”Oops!!! <b>rApache</b> has something to tell you. View source and
read the HTML comments at the end.” and then as the title implies you
can read the HTML comment located at the end of the file… after the
closing html. That way, you’re actually reading how R would present
the warnings and errors to you as if you executed the code at the R
command prompt. And if you don’t use ROutputErrors, the warning/error
messages are printed in the Apache log file, just as they were before,
but nicer ;)

2) Code dispatching has changed so please let me know if I’ve
introduced any strange behavior.

This was necessary to enhance error reporting. Prior to this release,
rApache would use R’s C API exclusively to build up the call to your
code that is then passed to R’s evaluation engine. The advantage to
this approach is that it’s much more efficient as there is no parsing
involved, however all information about parse errors, files which
produced errors, etc. were lost. The new approach uses R’s built-in
parse function to build up the call and then passes it of to R. A
slight overhead, but it should be negligible. So, if you feel that
this approach is too slow OR I’ve introduced bugs or strange behavior,
please let me know.


I’m gaining more experience building Debian/Ubuntu packages each day,
so hopefully by some time in 2011 you can rely on binary releases for
these distributions and not install rApache from source! Fingers

Development on the rApache 1.1 branch will be winding down (save bug
fix releases) as I transition to the 1.2 branch. This will involve
taking out a small chunk of code that defines the rApache development
environment (all the CGI variables and the functions such as
setHeader, setCookie, etc) and placing it in its own R package…
unnamed as of yet. This is to facilitate my development of the ralite
R package, a small single user cross-platform web server.

The goal for ralite is to speed up development of R web applications,
take out a bit of friction in the development process by not having to
run the full rApache server. Plus it would allow users to develop in
the rApache enronment while on windows and later deploy on more
capable server environments. The secondary goal for ralite is it’s use
in other web server environments (nginx and IIS come to mind) as a
persistent per-client process.

And finally, wiki.rapache.net will be the new www.rapache.net once I
translate the manual over… any day now.

From -http://biostat.mc.vanderbilt.edu/wiki/Main/JeffreyHorner



Not convinced ?- try the demos above.

Easy Ways to Secure Network Data

 Easy ways to secure network data without letting your IT team into fooling you in more servers  or certifications than you need.

1 User login passwords can be cracked and even the encryption will eventually need a password too. Most people use rather easy to crack passwords anyways.

2  you can use or even insist on the password feature within office documents , and within zip documents, and within outlook pst files.

The actual practicality is that people rarely keep track of multiple document passwords, and once a password is known /guessed , it compromises the whole system ..say for an ex employee,keyboard loggers, other ways to read data directly from the hard disk etc.

That cant happen for encryption.

So I would first implement a strong password policy , which is the first step for any company. This means using special characters, characters,numbers and automatic changing of passwords after 1 month.

3 Also laptops should have desk locks provided and compulsory before going away from the desk.

4 The next layer is encryption for data using private key/public keys and for login to the desktop/laptop .An inexpensive encryption solution is to use PGP (Pretty Good Privacy ) for encryption. You can also have open source free encryption softwares .

5 Another layer is have closed circuit cameras or motion trigger alarms in the office activated after say 6 pm or after office hours.

6 Implement multiple solutions using a test control approach on various PCs and then evaluate usage for 1 month before deciding with the big contract.

7 ISO 27001 or BS7799 and certifications help make clients comfortable, but do not enhance data security in any special way given the huge costs.

8 Have training videos for social networking used by hackers or people breaking in to system. Eg. Calling Board numbers for cell phone numbers

9 Try and eliminate as much paper as possible. Printouts, faxes etc. A compnay I know replaced all paper with blue paper just to impress clients. Same principles applied when guards were checking senior management bags. No searches etc.

This is also good for environment too (Use that for impressing clients !), and its better to buy bigger monitors or have an encrypted wireless lan than  have tonnes  of paper too.

All systems can and will be broken given time and resources to deviants. Using these steps reduces the ease and probability of laptop loss escalated to data loss in wrong hands.


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