5 Common Coder Mistakes in Bug Bounty Hunting (with Code Fixes)

Here are some common mistakes coders make when doing bug bounty, along with code examples and tips for avoiding them:

1. Input Validation Errors:

Mistake: Failing to properly validate user input, leaving applications vulnerable to injection attacks like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and command injection.

Code Check:

# Vulnerable code:
username = request.GET['username']
query = "SELECT * FROM users WHERE username = '" + username + "'"

# Secure code:
username = request.GET.get('username')  # Use get() to handle missing values
query = "SELECT * FROM users WHERE username = %s"  # Use parameterized queries
cursor.execute(query, (username,))

2. Broken Authentication and Session Management:

Mistake: Improper authentication or session management, allowing attackers to hijack accounts, steal sensitive data, or perform unauthorized actions.

Code Check:

// Vulnerable code:
sessionStorage.setItem('authToken', token);  // Storing sensitive tokens in client-side storage

// Secure code:
const httpOnlyCookie = new Cookie('authToken', token, { httpOnly: true });  // Use HttpOnly cookies

3. Sensitive Data Exposure:

Mistake: Failing to protect sensitive data like passwords, credit card numbers, or personal information, leading to data breaches.

Code Check:

// Vulnerable code:
String password = request.getParameter("password");  // Storing password in plain text

// Secure code:
String password = request.getParameter("password");
MessageDigest digest = MessageDigest.getInstance("SHA-256");
byte[] hash = digest.digest(password.getBytes(StandardCharsets.UTF_8));  // Hash passwords before storage

4. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS):

Mistake: Allowing attackers to inject malicious scripts into web pages, compromising user security and stealing data.

Code Check:

// Vulnerable code:
document.getElementById("comment").innerHTML = commentText;  // Direct output of user input

// Secure code:
const safeComment = escapeHtml(commentText);  // Use HTML escaping to prevent XSS
document.getElementById("comment").textContent = safeComment;

5. Security Misconfigurations:

Mistake: Using default settings, unnecessary features, or outdated software, creating vulnerabilities.

Code Check:

  • Review application configuration for secure settings.
  • Disable unnecessary features and components.
  • Keep software and libraries up-to-date.

Additional Tips:

  • Use secure coding practices and libraries.
  • Follow OWASP Top 10 guidelines.
  • Conduct thorough testing and peer reviews.
  • Stay updated on security vulnerabilities and patches.
  • Employ automated security testing tools.
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