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Development organizations often do not have time to perform security fortification on every file in a product before release. One way of prioritizing security efforts is to use metrics to identify core business logic that could contain vulnerabilities, such as database interaction code. Database code is a source of SQL injection vulnerabilities, but importantly may be home to unrelated vulnerabilities. The goal of this research is to improve the prioritization of security fortification efforts by investigating the ability of SQL hotspots to be used as the basis for a heuristic for prediction of all vulnerability types. We performed empirical case studies of 15 releases of two open source PHP web applications: Word Press, a blogging application, and WikkaWiki, a wiki management engine. Using statistical analysis, we show that the more SQL hotspots a file contains per line of code, the higher the probability that file will contain any type of vulnerability.
Date of Conference: 21-25 March 2011