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OWASP Periodic Table of Vulnerabilities - Insufficient Data Protection

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Insufficient Data Protection

Root Cause Summary

Sensitive data is not sufficiently protected against disclosure, modification or non-repudiation.

Browser / Standards Solution


Perimeter Solution


Generic Framework Solution

Provide a configuration-based suite of encryption utilities for all data security needs. This includes safeguards to prevent tampering (with Hash-based Message Authentication Code or HMAC) and eavesdropping (with symmetric or public key encryption).

The framework solution must be designed for ease of key rotation and transparent, simple substitution of more secure algorithms as cryptographic techniques improve.

Custom Framework Solution


Custom Code Solution

Identify which kinds of data need to be protected (e.g. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or authentication and identification data). Examples of PII are names, passport numbers, address information and personal characteristics.
Never store more information than is needed. Minimize the use, collection and retention of data.
Use a risk-based approach, order the data by impact level (for example low, moderate and high) if it is to be inappropriately accessed, used or disclosed.
Make sure that all applicable (eg. local, federal) laws are obeyed.

Discussion / Controversy

Data protection laws vary from country to country. Ensure that the correct mitigations and protections have been taken.


Top 10 2013-A6-Sensitive Data Exposure
Directive 95/46/EC (European Union)
Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (NIST)
Insufficient Data Protection (WASC)