Application Security is a major concern for business organizations today. It exposes customer data, monetary transactions, and other sensitive business information to the outside world. Thus, it is among the core concerns for security professionals and businesses today. With unforeseen circumstances, there is no way to guarantee 100% security, although there are certain approved methods which organizations can practice diminishing app security challenges.
Through this post, we will understand the essentials of Application Security. It will cover what is Application Security, why is it important. Then followed by major security attacks/threats an app can confront and the proposed best possible solutions to prevent those.
What is Application Security?
Application security comprises measures taken at the application level itself to enhance the security of any software application often by finding, fixing and preventing security vulnerabilities like Cross Site Scripting (XSS), SQL Injection ,Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF).
Application security mainly encompasses the security considerations which take place during Application Design and Development, but it also entails procedures and methodologies to safeguard apps after they get deployed into the production environment. It can be enforced using hardware, software, and procedures which recognize or reduce security vulnerabilities.
Why is application Security crucial?
Application security is not optional anymore, it has become inevitable. Nowadays, almost every business is exposed to the outside world through internet-connected applications, consequently, there are several reasons why application security is important to any business. These range from maintaining a sound market reputation and brand naming, to preventing security breaches which could impact the trust that your clients and shareholders have in your business.
What recent case studies reveal?
Veracode, a software application security company, have published a growing number of organizations, from small to large, falling victim to cyberattacks, resulting in data security breaches as well as hefty financial losses to the affected parties.
Another shocking stats from, Veracode’s State of Software Security Vol. 10 report, 83% of the 85,000 applications verified found at least one security flaw. As per research they found a total of 10 million flaws, and 20% of all apps infected with at least one high severity flaw. Not all those flaws pose a substantial security risk, however the sheer number draws attention.
Above discussed, the alarming figure raises numerous questions, one of which is whether companies are doing their level best to safeguard customer information and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands, and why they should do so. Below are outlined some benefits all companies gain from application security, and reasonably be a driving force to tighten up their application security without any further delay.
- Protect Brand Image: – By envisioning security and preventing leaks
- Protect and Build Customer Confidence: – Customer experiences drive competition
- Protect and Safeguard Data: – Both Organizational and Customers
- Winning investor’s and lender’s trust: – Mitigating security risk improves reliability
OWASP TOP 10 VULNERABILITIES
Although the Veracode case studies detected hundreds of software security flaws, we provide a razor focus on finding the problems that fall under OWASP Top 10 list. These flaws are so common and dangerous that no web application should be delivered to customers without some evidence that the software does not contain these errors.
What is OWASP?
The (OWASP) Open Web Application Security Project is an open-source application security non-profit organization with the objective to improve the security of apps. Its industry-standard top 10 guidelines provide a list of the most crucial application security risks to assist developers better securing the applications they design and deploy.
OWASP Top 10 Security Risks and How to prevent those:
The following given identifies each of the OWASP Top 10 Web Application Security Risks and recommends solutions and best practices, to avoid or remediate them.
Injection flaws, such as SQL injection, CRLF injection and LDAP injection take place when an attacker sends untrusted data to an interpreter that is executed as a command without proper authorization.
*Application security testing can easily detect injection flaws. Developers ought to use parameterized queries when coding to prevent injection flaws.
- Broken Authentication and Session Management
Improperly configured user and session authentication could permit attackers to negotiate passwords, keys, or session tokens, or take control of user’s accounts to impersonate their identities.
* Multi-factor authentication, such as FIDO or dedicated apps, diminishes the risk of compromised accounts.
- Sensitive Data Exposure
Applications and APIs which do not appropriately protect sensitive data such as usernames, passwords and financial data could allow attackers to access such information to perform fraud or steal user-identities.
* Encryption of data at rest and in transit can assist you to comply with data protection regulations.
- XML External Entity
Inadequately configured XML processors assess external entity references within XML documents. Attackers can make use of external entities for attacks including remote code execution, and to disclose internal files and SMB (Server Message Block) file shares.
* Static application security testing (SAST) can detect this issue by examining dependencies and configuration.
- Broken Access Control
Inappropriately configured or missing restrictions on authenticated users permit them to gain access to unauthorized functionality or data, such as accessing other user’s accounts, viewing sensitive documents, and altering data and access rights.
* Penetration testing is vital for detecting non-functional access controls; other testing methods only detect where access controls are missing.
- Security Misconfiguration
This risk refers to incorrect implementation of mechanisms intended to keep application data safe, such as error messages containing sensitive information (information leakage), misconfiguration of security headers and not updating or patching systems, frameworks, and components.
* Dynamic application security testing (DAST) can identify misconfigurations, such as leaky APIs.
- Cross-Site Scripting
Cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws provide attackers the capability to inject client-side scripts into the application, for example, to redirect users to malicious websites.
* Programmers can be trained to prevent cross-site scripting with best coding best practices, such as encoding data and input validation.
- Insecure deserialization
Insecure deserialization flaws can enable an attacker to execute code within the application remotely, tamper with it, delete serialized objects, elevate privileges and perform injection attacks.
* Application security tools can find deserialization flaws, but penetration testing is frequently required to validate the problem.
- Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
Developers often do not realize which open source and third-party components are in their applications, making it difficult to update components when new vulnerabilities are discovered. Attackers can take advantage of an insecure component to take over the server or steal sensitive data.
* Software composition analysis performed at the same time as static analysis can detect insecure versions of components.
- Insufficient Logging and Monitoring
The time taken to identify a breach is frequently measured in weeks or months. Inadequate logging and ineffective integration with security incident response systems allow attackers to pivot to other systems and maintain persistent threats.
* Think like an attacker and use pen testing to find out if you have adequate monitoring; inspect your logs after pen-testing.
We have a team of security experts with knowledge of application security, policies, procedures, guidelines, and ready to assist product companies in securing the application. Please feel free to connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.