With nearly every business sector relying on the internet and digital tools to function, it is no surprise that cybersecurity is the second-fastest growing industry. Hackers don’t care how large or small your company is. They will target all sizes in an all-out effort to steal data, access confidential or classified information, cause mayhem, and hurt the organization's reputation.
Fortunately, not all hackers have nefarious intentions. The open source community is full with experts who are looking to warn people about threats and find the most effective ways to keep data safe. Many of those experts are a part of the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).
In this article, we'll cover the basics of OWASP and the critical role this work plays in the everyday operation of computers, servers, and other forms of modern technology. Topics covered include:
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OWASP was originally founded in 2001 by Mark Curphey and is run as a not-for-profit organization in the United States. The bulk of its contributors are pulled from the open-source community. Today, more than 32,000 people volunteer as part of OWASP's efforts, with much of their communication coming through message boards or email distribution lists.
The organization is designed to be an unbiased group focused on the best interests of the technology world as a whole. They will not promote specific vendor products or solutions. Instead, OWASP aims to provide practical information to organizations all across the world, with the goal of offering helpful security advice to bring about more informed decisions.
Where OWASP becomes particularly valuable is too small and medium-sized businesses that may not have a large IT budget and lack expertise when it comes to cybersecurity. Thanks to the documentation that OWASP creates, these types of organizations can gain a better understanding of where their systems are vulnerable and how to protect themselves better.
If you’ve heard of OWASP, it’s likely been in conjunction with a report they update every few years known as the OWASP Top 10. The list covers the most relevant cybersecurity threats facing the global community. Later in this article, we'll dive into some of the specifics referenced in the Top 10.