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This year's Top 25 entries are prioritized using inputs from over 20 different organizations, who evaluated each weakness based on prevalence, importance, and likelihood of exploit.

It uses the Common Weakness Scoring System (CWSS) to score and rank the final results.

Cross-site scripting (CWE-79) is the bane of web applications everywhere.

Rounding out the top 5 is Missing Authentication (CWE-306) for critical functionality.

Other information is available from the DHS Acquisition and Outsourcing Working Group.

See the On the Cusp summary for other weaknesses that did not make the final Top 25; this will include weaknesses that are only starting to grow in prevalence or importance, so they may become your problem in the future.

Software customers can use the same list to help them to ask for more secure software.

Researchers in software security can use the Top 25 to focus on a narrow but important subset of all known security weaknesses.

The 2011 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Software Errors is a list of the most widespread and critical errors that can lead to serious vulnerabilities in software. They are dangerous because they will frequently allow attackers to completely take over the software, steal data, or prevent the software from working at all.

The Top 25 list is a tool for education and awareness to help programmers to prevent the kinds of vulnerabilities that plague the software industry, by identifying and avoiding all-too-common mistakes that occur before software is even shipped.