Security is our priority. Engagment Squared is built upon the secure web2py framework

The Open Web Application Security Project[owasp] (OWASP) is a free and open worldwide community focused on improving the security of application software.

OWASP has listed the top ten security issues that put web applications at risk. That list is reproduced here, along with a description of how each issue is addressed by web2py:

  • cross site scripting
    "Cross Site Scripting (XSS): XSS flaws occur whenever an application takes user supplied data and sends it to a web browser without first validating or encoding that content. XSS allows attackers to execute scripts in the victim's browser which can hijack user sessions, deface web sites, possibly introduce worms, etc." web2py, by default, escapes all variables rendered in the view, preventing XSS.
  • injection flaws
    "Injection Flaws: Injection flaws, particularly SQL injection, are common in web applications. Injection occurs when user-supplied data is sent to an interpreter as part of a command or query. The attacker's hostile data tricks the interpreter into executing unintended commands or changing data." web2py includes a Database Abstraction Layer that makes SQL injection impossible. Normally, SQL statements are not written by the developer. Instead, SQL is generated dynamically by the DAL, ensuring that all inserted data is properly escaped.
  • malicious file execution
    "Malicious File Execution: Code vulnerable to remote file inclusion (RFI) allows attackers to include hostile code and data, resulting in devastating attacks, such as total server compromise." web2py allows only exposed functions to be executed, preventing malicious file execution. Imported functions are never exposed; only actions are exposed. web2py uses a Web-based administration interface which makes it very easy to keep track of what is exposed and what is not.
  • insecure object reference
    "Insecure Direct Object Reference: A direct object reference occurs when a developer exposes a reference to an internal implementation object, such as a file, directory, database record, or key, as a URL or form parameter. Attackers can manipulate those references to access other objects without authorization." web2py does not expose any internal objects; moreover, web2py validates all URLs, thus preventing directory traversal attacks. web2py also provides a simple mechanism to create forms that automatically validate all input values.
  • CSRF
    "Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF): A CSRF attack forces a logged-on victim's browser to send a pre-authenticated request to a vulnerable web application, which then forces the victim's browser to perform a hostile action to the benefit of the attacker. CSRF can be as powerful as the web application that it attacks." web2py prevents CSRF as well as accidental double submission of forms by assigning a one-time random token to each form. Moreover web2py uses UUID for session cookie.
  • information leakage
    improper error handling
    "Information Leakage and Improper Error Handling: Applications can unintentionally leak information about their configuration, internal workings, or violate privacy through a variety of application problems. Attackers use this weakness to steal sensitive data, or conduct more serious attacks." web2py includes a ticketing system. No error can result in code being exposed to the users. All errors are logged and a ticket is issued to the user that allows error tracking. But errors and source code are accessible only to the administrator.
  • "Broken Authentication and Session Management: Account credentials and session tokens are often not properly protected. Attackers compromise passwords, keys, or authentication tokens to assume other users' identities." web2py provides a built-in mechanism for administrator authentication, and it manages sessions independently for each application. The administrative interface also forces the use of secure session cookies when the client is not "localhost". For applications, it includes a powerful Role Based Access Control API.
  • cryptographic store
    "Insecure Cryptographic Storage: Web applications rarely use cryptographic functions properly to protect data and credentials. Attackers use weakly protected data to conduct identity theft and other crimes, such as credit card fraud." web2py uses the MD5 or the HMAC+SHA-512 hash algorithms to protect stored passwords. Other algorithms are also available.
  • secure communications
    "Insecure Communications: Applications frequently fail to encrypt network traffic when it is necessary to protect sensitive communications." web2py includes the SSL-enabled[ssl] Rocket WSGI server, but it can also use Apache or Lighttpd and mod_ssl to provide SSL encryption of communications.
  • access restriction
    "Failure to Restrict URL Access: Frequently an application only protects sensitive functionality by preventing the display of links or URLs to unauthorized users. Attackers can use this weakness to access and perform unauthorized operations by accessing those URLs directly." web2py maps URL requests to Python modules and functions. web2py provides a mechanism for declaring which functions are public and which require authentication and authorization. The included Role Based Access Control API allow developers to restrict access to any function based on login, group membership or group based permissions. The permissions are very granular and can be combined with database filters to allow, for example, to give access to specific tables and/or records. web2py also allows digitally signed URL and provides API to digitally sign Ajax callbacks.

web2py was reviewed for security and you can find the result of the review in ref.[pythonsecurity].