Top 25 OWASP Interview Questions and Answers 2024

Editorial Team

OWASP Interview Questions and Answers

OWASP stands for Open Web Application Security Project, an online community known for several tools, methodologies, articles, technologies, and many other publications that help in web application security. This article will look at some of the questions you should expect in an OWASP interview to help you land your desired job. Take a look at the following:

1. What is OWASP?

OWASP, or Open Web Application Security Project, is an organization/ online community that has significantly invested in secure software development. It, therefore, releases free publications, tools, software, methodologies, and technologies that aid in web application security. It was founded in 2001 by Mark Curphey and Dennis Groves.

2. How Can We Mitigate SQL Injection Risks?

Many procedures can mitigate SQL mitigation risks. First, one should always ensure that the SQL interpreter is better positioned to identify a code and data set, meaning that developers or web security experts should avoid using dynamic queries. Using prepared statements means that developers must define the SQL code before passing the parameters to the query. It can also be mitigated by using stored procedures, which are functions in C that a database administrator can call anytime. It helps prevent the generation of dynamic SQL. Other mitigation means include validating white list input, enforcing the least privilege, and escaping user-supplied inputs.

3. Have You Ever Countered Sensitive Data Exposure? How Can It be Mitigated?

There are several means of mitigating the risk of sensitive data exposure, which is a big concern in web security. The most straightforward and obvious one is encrypting data to protect it from cyber-attacks. Sensitive data shouldn’t be stored poorly or unnecessarily but instead discarded as fast as possible. Other ways include preparing a threat model for data security during transit and at test, storing passwords with an algorithm for password protection, and disabling auto-completion of forms that collect sensitive data.

4. Define Bug Bounty

A bug bounty is one of the most critical programs for developers. It was developed and run by several renowned organizations who, through the program, reward developers who identify any threat or security vulnerability and report to them. Once they have been fixed, the organizations will publish the vulnerabilities on different websites. Therefore, this program helps developers identify and resolve bugs before an application is released to the general public and definitely contributes to web application security.

5. Failure to Restrict URL Access Can Cause Breaches. Do You Know How to Prevent Them?

The best way of preventing breaches caused by unrestricted URL access is to use secure techniques to properly authenticate and authorize all the pages of a given web application. Other mitigation techniques that can work include basing the implementation of authentication and authorization on the role instead of a user, blocking all access and only permitting controls that a user needs, and lastly, observing highly configurable policies. These four ways will ensure that you don’t witness breaches occasioned by URL access restriction failure.

6. Can You Tell Us About the Basic Design of the OWASP ESAPI

OWASP ESAPI stands for Open Web Application Security Project Enterprise Security API. The OWASP community developed it to offer an open-source and freely accessible application security control library that helps developers come up with more secure web applications. It has a basic design due to its function, consisting of security control interfaces. Each security control has a reference implementation that one can quickly implement in accordance with organizational demands.

7. Do You Know How to Mitigate the Risks Occasioned by Weak Authentication and Session Management?

Many strong authentication and session management controls help mitigate such occurrences. First, an organization should use a simple interface for developers at all times. One should consider the ESAPI authenticated or the User APIS for use, emulation, or building. Secondly, it has been proven that using standard practices for securing session ID from cross-site scripting attacks works. Lastly, a developer should follow all the session management and authentication requirements detailed in this online community’s Application Security Verification Standard and V3, responsible for session management.

8. What Flaw Arises When Session Tokens Have Poor Randomness Across Given Values?

The common flaw that arises in such an instance is session hijacking. Here, a web user session is usually taken over after a hacker obtains the session ID and then passes as the authorized user. This is an issue related to A2: 2017, broken authentication. It can also be referred to as cookie hijacking. It brings about the possibility of exploitation of an ongoing and valid computer session or the session key and even permits unauthorized access to a system’s information or services. The best way to avoid it is to ensure that the session key does not have poor randomness.

9. Do You Know OWASP’s Top 10 2017?

OWASP has a top 10 list that details the most common vulnerabilities released by the platform to promote secure web applications. This is in line with this platform’s objective of spreading awareness for safe web application practices. The top 10 vulnerabilities for 2017 include Injection, Broken Authentication, Sensitive Data Exposure, XML External Entities, Broken Access Control, Security Misconfiguration, Cross-Site Scripting, Insecure Deserialization, Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities, and Insufficient Logging & Monitoring, in that particular order.

10. Tell Us More about Failure to Restrict URL Access

Failure to Restrict URL access can cause a security breach which users should best avoid. It was, however, removed from OWASP Top 10 2013, a list that detailed a number of OWASP vulnerabilities. It is closely related to forced browsing, which generally sees users forcibly accessing URLs that they shouldn’t access. This breach empowers an attacker to rightfully guess links and use several other techniques to access protected pages. Fortunately, we can safeguard force browsing by monitoring the access-control settings and ensuring that they are accurate and up to date.

11. Define WebGoat and WebScarab in OWASP

OWASP is committed to enhancing web security. Therefore, WebGoat is a voluntarily insecure web application designed to purposely teach web application security practices and lessons. It demonstrates a number of server-side application flaws and has exercises to teach people about application security and penetration techniques. On the other hand, WebScarab is a testing tool that intercepts and gives people the liberty to alter requests and server replies. It may also record traffic to be used for further reviews. The Open Web Application Security Project owns all these tools.

12. Do You Know the OWASP Application Security Verification Standard Project?

This project allows developers to test web application technical security controls. It also comes with a list of requirements that enhance secure development. It is generally used to build safe web applications confidently. Other provisions include information to security developers on what to build into the security controls that will meet application security requirements and a basis to specify application security verification requirements in many contracts. All in all, this project is mainly used as a metric to measure the degree of trust that developers should have in their web applications.

13. Mention the Top Security Flaws in OWASP

OWASP has ten main security flaws that it fights to prevent or avoid. These include injection, which refers to an attempt by the attacker to send data to an application in a means that manipulates commands sent to an interpreter; cross-site scripting where malicious scripts are injected in trusted websites and broken authentication and session management. Other vulnerabilities are restriction failure, insecure communications, malicious file executions, insecure direct object reference, insecure cryptographic storage, URL access failure, and information leakage. This community also largely focuses on error handling.

14. Can You Tell Us More about XXS

XXS, also known as Cross-Site Scripting, is a type of code injection in the client-side that permits the injection of malicious scripts in a web browser by an attacker. It can easily compromise cookies, session tokens, and lots of sensitive information. There are three main types of XXS: reflected, stored, and DOM. In reflected XXS, the malicious script comes from the current HTTPS request and is not stored in the database, unlike in the stored XXS. In the DOM XXS, fully known as the Document Object Model XXS, the threats are found in the client-side code and not the server code.

15. Tell Us about the Intrusion Detection System Types

There are four main types of Intrusion Detection Systems. The network intrusion Detection System, abbreviated as NIDS, monitors and analyzes incoming traffic networks while a Host-based Intrusion Detection System or HIDS monitors operating system files. The other two types are subsets. We have the signature-based and anomaly-based intrusion Detection System types. The former monitors and identifies threats after analyzing given patterns, including network traffic byte sequences, while the latter uses a machine learning approach that detects and adapts to vague threats.

16. What Can You Tell Us about SSL Sessions and SSL Connections?

SSL, which refers to a Secured Socket Layer connection, is the basis for communicating with peer to peer links. It has a connection that maintains the SSL session. The SSL session symbolizes the security contract, consisting of a key and algorithm agreement. It is worth noting that one SSL session can have several SSL Connections. I should mention that an SSL connection is basically a transient peer to peer communications link.

17. What Do You Know about SQL Injection?

SQL injection is a common type of injection attack. These attacks result from a lack of strict separation between different program instructions and external inputs. Therefore, an attacker can easily inject a compromised code into a given set of data. In SQL injection, the hacker injects a compromised SQL statement. The good news is that a number of measures can prevent it. These include stored procedures, input validation such as whitelist and blacklist validation, prepared statements with parameterized queries, and using the principle of the least privilege, which prevents a hacker from accessing the database.

18. Can You Differentiate Authentication From Authorization?

Authentication verifies the identity of a user, entity, or website. It ascertains that someone is whoever they claim to be. On the other hand, authorization refers to the rules determining the powers granted to given parties. It can also be defined as the process of determining whether a client is permitted to access a given file or use a resource. Authentication is, therefore, all about verification, while authorization focuses more on permissions. Also, you will need to log in and key your password for authentication, whereas you must have the proper clearance for authorization.

19. What Do You Understand by Security Testing?

Security testing is one of the most critical types of software testing. It must be done before an application is released to the general public. This type of testing identifies the vulnerabilities in software, whether net or networking-based applications. Therefore, it protects data from attacks and intruders. Security testing ensures that any confidential information in an application is protected against leakage. It is also worth noting that just like any other type of software testing, an organization or developer must do it regularly to identify and solve different threats.

20. Tell Us about the Different Methodologies in Security Testing

There are three primary methodologies in security testing: White box, black box, and grey box. White box testing is usually used to ascertain if the code implementation has followed the right design. It also validates security functionalities and shows some of the existing vulnerabilities. In this type of testing, the testers are furnished with all kinds of information. In black-box testing, the defenses, security controls, and application designs are tested with little or no existing knowledge on how the application works. Lastly, testers in grey box testing are given only partial information. They have to figure the rest by themselves.

21. You Have Mentioned Vulnerability a Number of Times. Please Define What is it?

As used in OWASP, a vulnerability refers to a weakness in a given application that an attacker can take advantage of and inflict harm to a client’s application. It can either be a design flaw or an implementation bug that makes a system susceptible to attacks and weak. These can be easily identified and corrected through rigorous security testing. Other known and proven means include fixes and occasional patches.

22. Tell Us More about DDOS Attacks

There are a number of attacks occasioned by system or web application vulnerabilities. DDOS attacks, fully known as denial of service attacks, refer to an attempt by hackers to block intended users from given computer resources. This is usually done by bagging the resource or machine with several unnecessary requests that usually overload them and prevent authorized access. These requests typically come from various sources, making it hard to diagnose or block them. Therefore, a developer or a site administrator cannot simply stop the attack by only dealing with a single source.

23. Define a Botnet.

A Botnet is a collection of internet-connected devices that run one or more bots. These can be several private computers having malicious or compromised software that are controlled remotely without the owner’s knowledge. Therefore, in a botnet attack, a device is infected by malware after being hacked. The malware then connects the system back to the primary or central botnet server. Botnets are mainly used to steal data, send spam, allow a hacker to access a given device and its connections, and conduct several distributed denial of service attacks that lock out authorized users from several resources.

24. Define Intrusion Detection

Intrusion Detection uses a system or set of systems that determine threats or possible attacks and find ways of dealing with them. This process, therefore, collects information from different sources and systems before analyzing it and coming up with means of stopping these attacks. Some of the essential things that intrusion detection must check are abnormal activities and possible attacks. It also audits the system data and analyzes those obtained from different sources. Therefore, it is essential for web application security, which OWASP greatly champions.

25. Define Penetration Testing

There are different types of testing in OWASP. Penetration testing is a type of security testing that helps developers identify a system’s vulnerabilities. It evaluates a system’s security through a set of manual and automated techniques. Once one vulnerability has been identified, the tester will dwell on it to locate even more vulnerabilities. It, therefore, prevents a given system from any external attacks.

This type of testing is usually done through white-box testing and black-box testing, which differ in the scope of information given to the testers. It is crucial since it bridges the system breaches and loopholes and protects data from hackers and unauthorized access. This explains why developers must conduct penetration testing before every release.


This marks the end of our article. Look out for these 25 questions since they are common in OWASP interviews. We wish you well in your interview and don’t forget to also focus on your posture, first impression, and other necessities of a successful interview.