11 Jan, 2021

How To Stay Proactive With Your Application Security Assessments In 2021

by nVisium

Applications are the heart of employee and user productivity. There are now literally billions of applications each with a specific function and value. Unfortunately, they also provide one of the easiest openings for cyber criminals and hackers to gain access to your critical IT infrastructure and information assets. So, it stands to reason that proactive application security assessments will help ensure your 2021 goes breach-free.

Application Security Assessments Revisited

Application security assessments have become mission critical to every CISO’s cybersecurity strategy. For a quick refresher, let’s turn to Wikipedia for a more formal definition:

Vulnerability scanners, and more specifically web application scanners, otherwise known as penetration testing tools (i.e. ethical hacking tools) have been historically used by security organizations within corporations and security consultants to automate the security testing of http request/responses; however, this is not a substitute for the need for actual source code review. Physical code reviews of an application's source code can be accomplished manually or in an automated fashion. Given the common size of individual programs (often 500,000 lines of code or more), the human brain cannot execute a comprehensive data flow analysis needed in order to completely check all circuitous paths of an application program to find vulnerability points. The human brain is suited more for filtering, interrupting and reporting the outputs of automated source code analysis tools available commercially versus trying to trace every possible path through a compiled code base to find the root cause level vulnerabilities.”

The article goes on to show that there are 3 common technologies used for identifying application vulnerabilities which include:

  • Static Application Security Testing(SAST) is a technology that is frequently used as a Source Code Analysis tool. The method analyzes source code for security vulnerabilities prior to the launch of an application and is used to strengthen code. This method produces fewer false positives but for most implementations requires access to an application's source code[9] and requires expert configuration and much processing power.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing(DAST) is a technology, which is able to find visible vulnerabilities by feeding a URL into an automated scanner. This method is highly scalable, easily integrated and quick. DAST's drawbacks lie in the need for expert configuration and the high possibility of false positives and negatives.
  • Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) is a solution that assesses applications from within using software instrumentation. This technique allows IAST to combine the strengths of both SAST and DAST methods as well as providing access to code, HTTP traffic, library information, backend connections and configuration information. Some IAST products require the application to be attacked, while others can be used during normal quality assurance testing.

Staying Proactive With Application Security assessments

Securing software for web, client, and server applications requires modeling systems like an attacker would and pinpointing areas of weakness that can be exploited. You will need to provide secure code reviews and web application penetration testing to identify security bugs and flaws while helping development teams rapidly remediate any discovered issues.

By proactively performing ongoing security assessments of applications, you open the opportunity to uncover vulnerabilities in a timelier fashion. An effective application security assessment will evaluate all aspects of an application and test risk mitigation solutions for a fully comprehensive security assessment. By demanding a Hybrid Application Assessment approach, you will utilize a multi-step methodology combining the strongest aspects of both static and dynamic analysis to provide the most extensive and efficient assessment possible. This approach should combine source code review with black box (or dynamic) testing and allows for the most comprehensive and effective assessments.

An application security assessment should go beyond just identifying security defects. You should expect a focus on help for meaningfully triaging and fixing vulnerabilities discovered during testing. When selecting a vendor look to see if they provide exceptional remediation advice, which is specific, actionable, and aimed at reducing engineering overhead typically associated with mitigating security issues of each unique area of assessment.

Proactive Application Security Assessments Made Simple

Why chance being the next headline that announces a breach in your application security? Can you really afford the negative impact on your brand on top of the cost of the security breach? And a wise person one said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

nVisium empowers organizations to eliminate application and cloud security vulnerabilities before cyber threats exploit them with proven in-depth security assessments, remediation and training programs. Our experienced team of security-savvy developers and engineers guide organizations to build best practices with high ROI into their engineering and secure development lifecycles across applications, operating systems, networks, mobile, cloud and IoT through services, software solutions and R&D unique to business operations and compliance initiatives. Additionally, nVisium provides a fully managed platform for tracking and measuring performance as well as instructor-led and online training.

nVisium empowers organizations to eliminate application and cloud security vulnerabilities before cyber threats exploit them with proven in-depth security assessments, remediation and training programs. Our penetration testers emulate a sophisticated attacker and exploit your networked devices, endpoints, and servers to reduce risks before breaches occur. Give us a call when you start your Network security strategy update or better yet, schedule a consultation today or download our new eBook titled “Demystifying DevSecOps” to get started yourself.

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