Hacking Web Apps - Book Review

Hacking Web Apps - Detecting and Preventing Web Application Security Problems - by Mike Shema is a contemporary guide on web application security. Mike's labor of love, as he likes to call this book, contains very relevant and distilled information on modern day web application attacks. The book is different from your garden variety web-application-top-n-style verbose texts with template vulnerabilities and hello-world solutions; Hacking web apps is a book with strong personality which shows in the eight chapters covering diverse topics from HTML5 security, XSS, CSRF, platform weaknesses to browser and privacy attacks.



Starting with HTML5, author discussed security issues surrounding "new" DOM, CORS, web sockets, web storage, web workers in a concise and concrete manner. This first chapter, however brief, makes this book quite unique since very few books in my knowledge have dealt with security issues pertaining to HTML5. The book provides a nice knowledge upgrade to exploits and vulnerabilities when it comes to web 2.0 technologies. Packed with tips, epic failures and notes providing security anecdotes from the real-world, this text keeps you involved and entertained throughout. Going beyond usual CWE-SANS/OWASP top x vulnerabilities, author elaborates on design issues and draw parallels on how to apply these issues to other similar problems. The text tends to be language agnostic and code samples are in multiple languages (python, php etc) but I do miss the examples with specifics of libraries such as AntiForgeryToken in ASP.NET MVC.

Since I have not read any of Mike's previous books, I cannot comment on how much is shared between his writings but for any web and server side developer interested in security, I'd highly recommend reading this book.