AppSec California 2020, January 21-24 at the Annenberg Beach House, Santa Monica, CA
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Thursday, January 23 • 11:55am - 12:45pm
[In]secure deserialization, and how [not] to do it

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Serialized data is neither new nor exciting. Serialization and deserialization have been in use by countless applications, services and frameworks for a long time. Many programming languages support serialization natively, and most people seem to understand it well. However, many of us don’t fully understand security implications of data deserialization, and in the last couple of years this topic got an increasing focus in the security community, up to the point that insecure deserialization made it to the list of OWASP Top 10 most critical web application security risks! Needless to say high-severity vulnerabilities in some well-known applications as well as popular frameworks such as Apache Struts and Apache Commons Collections raised awareness of this risk.

In this session, we’ll discuss how serialized data are used in software, talk about different serialization formats and the dangers of deserializing untrusted input. We will review some real life vulnerabilities and related exploits. The presentation will contain lots of code examples with live demos of bypassing security controls by exploiting deserialization vulnerabilities. We’ll forge a session cookie, elevate privileges, alter execution flow, and even perform a remote code execution - all via insecure deserialization! The demos will use native Java and .NET serialization, as well as JSON, XML, and other formats. Of course, we’ll also talk about how to deserialize in secure way!

Next time you develop your awesome web or mobile app or a microservice, keep in mind how a clever attacker could create and supply malicious data to your application, and thinking like a hacker you could write more secure code!

avatar for Alexei Kojenov

Alexei Kojenov

Lead Product Security Engineer, Salesforce
Alexei began his career as a software developer. A decade later, he realized that breaking code was way more fun than writing code, and decided to switch direction. He is now a full-time application security professional, with several years of assisting engineering teams in delivering... Read More →

Thursday January 23, 2020 11:55am - 12:45pm PST
Terrace Lounge