Application Security Is No Longer a Luxury, But An Imperative

There was a time when the only application security you needed was a firewall. These days there are numerous techniques and measures to improve the security of an application. Application security is the process of finding, fixing, and preventing security weaknesses, and encompasses software, hardware, and procedural methods. Security has become ever more important as we increase our use of technology to exchange information and data.

Why do we need application security?

Most software has innate flaws that lead to insecurity. Some of these weaknesses are subtle, but some can be serious. These security bugs are present due to developers not being taught about them or because a security code review was not done during the review process.

The need to address these problems have become vitally important due to of our continued growing reliance on technology. Many applications in use today do not have sufficient or any security analysis. The reason stems from companies not wanting to spend extra on an application security code review, as this extra spend will ultimately lead to consumers paying more for the product.

Application security will mitigate the risk of unauthorized people gaining access to sensitive information and ensures that unauthorized access is as difficult as possible. This is all important for financial institutions or any organization that deals with classified or sensitive information, as well as the individual who uses mobile devices to conduct personal business.

According to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report, 80% of attacks were in the application layer. Businesses are duty-bound to take more proactive measures to protect company and customer data.

Application security code review and techniques

Automated static analysis’s a method of application security testing that is done by examining the code without running the program. It is also called white-box testing where testing software examines internal structures of an applicationand not the functionality. This method has proven to be one of the most effective ways to removeapplication flaws.

Below are further application security techniques:

1. Access to application

The reviewer creates several users accounts with different roles to use the application from these different accounts in orderto verify that every role has access to its own screens, modules, menusand forms, only. A security issue is logged in case of a flaw.

2. Brute-force attack

This form of testing is done by software that tries to guess the password by trying to log in again and again. A simple remedy of such a security attack is account suspension for a short period of time.

3. Specific risky functionalities

There are two high-risk functionalities, payments, and file uploads. These functionalities should be tested thoroughly. For file uploads, testers need to make sure that any malicious file uploads are restricted.

For payments, testers need to exam injection vulnerabilities, insecure cryptographic storage, buffer overflows and password guessing.

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