Mastering software vulnerabilities: Mitigation essentials

  • Attackers can compromise systems through vulnerabilities by injecting malicious code through applications, exploiting third-party programs through shell commands, OS calls, and SQL injections.
  • Software vulnerabilities allow unauthorised access by impersonating legitimate users, posing significant risks to sensitive data, network files, and operating systems.

Software vulnerabilities represent critical weaknesses in programmes that, if left unaddressed, can be exploited by malicious actors to compromise computer systems. These flaws can manifest at any stage of development, varying in severity and potential impact depending on their origin. As such, software developers dedicate substantial effort to identifying, mitigating, and patching vulnerabilities to bolster the security of their programmes and mitigate the risk of exploitation. This blog sets the stage for understanding the importance of proactive vulnerability management in maintaining robust cybersecurity practices.

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What is software vulnerability?

A software vulnerability refers to a flaw in a programme that, if not corrected, can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorised access, manipulate data, or compromise a computer system. These vulnerabilities may arise at various stages of development and can differ widely in their severity, scope, and potential attack methods depending on their origin. Consequently, software developers invest significant time and resources in identifying, addressing, and patching vulnerabilities to strengthen their software’s security and prevent malicious exploitation of unintended programme behaviours.

Top software vulnerabilities

Injection flaws

Injection flaws enable attackers to compromise systems by sending malicious code through applications. They are among the most prevalent types of software vulnerabilities. These threats involve exploiting third-party programmes via shell commands, calls to the operating system, and SQL injections.

Broken authentication

Broken authentication allows malicious actors to gain unauthorised access by impersonating legitimate users. This vulnerability poses significant risks to sensitive data, network files, and operational systems.

Sensitive data exposure

Inadequately secured databases expose sensitive data, making it easy for attackers to exploit. This vulnerability is critical as it leaves crucial information unprotected and accessible to unauthorised parties.

Broken access control

When access control policies fail, it can lead to data tampering, information leaks, and system disruptions. Properly functioning access control is essential for maintaining system integrity and protecting sensitive information.

Security misconfiguration

Security misconfiguration occurs when security controls are improperly implemented in software, making it vulnerable to exploitation. These vulnerabilities are attractive to attackers due to their ease of detection and exploitation, often resulting in significant data breaches.

Cross-site scripting (XSS)

Cross-Site Scripting flaws allow attackers to inject malicious scripts into web applications, compromising user data and application integrity. Exploiting XSS vulnerabilities can lead to unauthorised access and manipulation of sensitive information.

Insecure direct object references

Insecure direct object references occur when applications expose references to internal implementation objects, allowing unauthorised access to sensitive data. This vulnerability is particularly critical in sectors handling sensitive user information, such as healthcare and finance.

Cross-site request forgery (CSRF)

CSRF attacks trick users into unintentionally executing malicious actions on applications they are authenticated to use. Such attacks can lead to unauthorised transactions, changes in user credentials, and other malicious activities.

Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
Incorporating components with known vulnerabilities into software increases the risk of exploitation by malicious actors. It is crucial to use verified, secure third-party software to mitigate these risks and protect network integrity.

Insufficient logging & monitoring

Inadequate logging and monitoring of system activities hinder timely detection and response to security breaches. This gap allows attackers to operate undetected for extended periods, potentially causing severe damage to systems and data.

These vulnerabilities highlight the importance of robust cybersecurity practices and proactive measures to protect against potential threats and breaches.


After identifying and prioritising vulnerabilities in your software, the next step is remediation. Remediation involves correcting and eliminating CVEs (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) from your software. By referencing a CVE ID, you can consult sources like the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) for advisories on how to address specific vulnerabilities. Typically, this process includes updating dependencies to patched versions recommended in the advisories.

Once you have implemented the necessary fixes, it is crucial to conduct another round of scanning to verify that the vulnerabilities have been properly remediated. However, it’s important to note that not all identified vulnerabilities may be immediately remediable. In some cases, patches may not yet be available, or applying updates could potentially disrupt your software’s functionality. In such scenarios, prioritise remediation efforts based on available


Sissy Li

Sissy Li, a news reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech and Blockchain. She graduated from Macau University of Technology and Science. Send tips to

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