What is Application Security?
Application security is the process of deploying steps and protocols by organizations and developers to identify, repair, and protect applications against security weaknesses throughout the application life cycle. Furthermore, it is used to describe security measures at the application level for preventing data or code within the application from being stolen or hijacked.
Web application security is a deep-diving process done by administrators and application security engineers to better understand what causes vulnerabilities that leaves the application wide open to exploitation. This will then help them to come up with innovative security approaches to create a secure ecosystem.
Although application security usually occurs over several phases, the best practices can easily be established during the software development life cycle (SDLC).
Why Is Application Security Important?
A single security breach can single-handedly bring down a company’s reputation as it attracts negative publicity concerning how the security breach exposed hackers to your data.
Nowadays, application security is an important component because applications are available on several networks and connected to the cloud. This is why most businesses need to pay attention to security risks that can expose their data to hackers. Furthermore, businesses now rely on several software applications for their daily operations, and these applications can pose vulnerabilities if they are not designed, tested, and configured with the utmost attention to security.
Big tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Intel offer bug bounty programs to discover and resolve bugs in their software before users discover it. Furthermore, white hat hackers make millions of dollars by finding and reporting these weaknesses.
Why Businesses Need Application Security?
Although most businesses know that overall data center security is important, few have well-defined application security policies to keep one step ahead of cybercriminals. According to Veracode’s State of Software Security, 83% of all the tested applications (about 85,000) showed at least one security flaw. Veracode discovered about 10 million flaws in all, which indicates that most applications have several security gaps.
Although these security flaws are troubling enough, most businesses do not have the tools to plug these gaps to help prevent security breaches, which makes it more concerning. However, for an application security tool to be successful, it must identify weaknesses and mitigate them before it becomes a problem.
Furthermore, identifying and fixing security gaps are the core of the application security process, but IT managers need to move beyond these two tasks. This is because cybercriminals are constantly developing sophisticated techniques to exploit weaknesses, and organizations need to be several steps ahead of them with modern security tools.
Application Threats and Attacks
SQL Injection Attack
Most of the prominent data breaches that occur nowadays are caused by an SQL injection attack, and this has led to regulatory penalties and reputation damages. An effective SQL injection attack can help attackers get unapproved access to sensitive data like PINS, credit card information, or other private information of a customer.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks
This attack disrupts the interaction between users and vulnerable applications and is based on client-side code injection. Attackers carry out this attack by inserting malicious scripts into a legit application to change its original intention.
This attack is based on manipulating parameters exchanged between server and client to modify application data like the price and quantity of products, user credentials, permissions, etc.
The file path traversal is also called the directory traversal. The major objective of this web application attack is to access files and directories that are not under the root directory.
Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) Attack
This is also known as XSRF, and it is among the top web-related security threats on the OWASP Top 10 list. A CSRF attack is used to exploit a site’s trust for a particular use that is using the user’s authentication data.
This is an attack over a user session by disguising it as an authorized user. This is usually common to browser sessions and web applications hacking.
Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attack
this type of cyberattack occurs when an attacker wants to render a computer or other networks to its authorized users by temporarily or permanently interrupting the normal operations of a host linked to the internet.
What Is Secure Coding?
Secure coding is the process of writing software that is protected from vulnerabilities. Furthermore, it is important to use secure code because data breaches happen for reasons such as poor coding. Furthermore, if you do not design your software with security in mind, anybody can hack into your site and steal your data.
Secure coding practices range from high-level principles to detailed code analysis. However, each programming language has different techniques and methods for securely coding within its environment. Furthermore, secure coding has a set of uniform guidelines to help software developers apply their code for safeguarding against security weaknesses.
Why Secure Coding Is a Must for Organizations
About two-thirds of developers stated that their organizations do not provide adequate training on application security. However, if developers are not aware of the types of vulnerabilities and ways to spot them in their code, these vulnerabilities will continue to show. Furthermore, cybercriminals are familiar with these threats and have a variety of tools for detection and exploitation.
Moreover, it is cheaper to identify and address weaknesses in the software development life cycle than after production through repair programs and bug bounty. If developers are not aware of the basic weaknesses and ways to detect them, it will only make the software threat landscape expand.
Secure Software Development Process
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a process performed for a software project in an organization. It usually comprises a detailed plan describing how certain software is developed, maintained, replaced, or improved. Furthermore, SDLC is a method of improving software quality and its entire development process.
SDLC methodologies focus on the following software development phases:
Application Security Testing ToolsSome of the types of application security testing tools are:
- Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
- Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
- Origin Analysis/Software Composition Analysis (SCA)
- Database Security Scanning
- Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) and Hybrid Tools
- Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST)
- Application Security Testing as a Service (ASTaaS)
- Correlation tools
- Test-Coverage Analyzers
- Application Security Testing Orchestration (ASTO)
Mobile Application Security
Mobile applications are a crucial part of a company’s online presence, and most organizations rely on mobile applications to connect with users from around the world. Mobile application security helps to focus on the software security posture of mobile applications on numerous platforms like iOS and Android. It also consists of applications running on both tablets and cell phones. Furthermore, mobile application security includes assessing applications for security issues based on the platforms they are intended to run on, their frameworks, and the expected set of users.
Web Application Security
The web has evolved from a system that delivers static pages to a platform supporting distributed applications called web applications. Today, the web application is among the most popular technologies for delivering information and services over the internet. However, as web applications are used for providing critical security services, they have become a target for security attacks.
This is because many web applications interact with back-end database systems and can store sensitive information. However, web application security is a central component for any web-based business. Web application security specifically deals with security surrounding web applications, websites, and web services like APIs.
Application Security Training
There is an increase in the amount of sensitive data on applications, and it is best for security experts and developers to be aware of the ways to safeguard critical data. Application security training and certifications play a huge role in teaching developers the necessary skill set needed to secure application assets.
Attributes of Application Security Course
Application development is not only about writing code, as hackers can use the latest attack vectors to hack an application. This is why software developers need secure coding to help prevent such attempts and safeguard their apps. Software developers can keep their applications safe with a top-notch application security certification. Some of the attributes of application security courses are stated below.
- Hands-on learning.
- Comprehensive and covers all major roles, standards, technology stacks, and vulnerabilities.
- Interactive to engage the learner.
- Brief with topic-based modules approach for focused learning.
Application security certification and training will help software developers to:
- Deploy security controls, tools, and processes.
- Understand the risks and weaknesses in an application.
- Application security testing.
- Secure application design and architecture.
- Secure deployment and maintenance.
- Secure coding practices for input validation.
Certified Application Security Engineer (CASE)EC-Council’s Certified Application Security Engineer is among the most comprehensive application security training programs for software developers. In this course, you will learn about the 5 phases of secure SDLC methodologies, and planning, creating, testing, and deploying an application.
Why CASE Is the Most Desired Application Security Certification
CASE examines the critical security competencies and knowledge that are necessary through a typical SDLC methodology while concentrating on the significance of secure techniques in application development and best practices in the current insecure operating landscape.
What You Will Learn
- Knowledge of OWASP Top 10, SAST and DAST, threat modeling.
- In-depth knowledge of secure SDLC and secure SDLC models.
- Performing a manual and automated code review of the application.
- Capturing the security requirement of an application in development.
- Conducting application security testing for web applications to assess weaknesses.
- Driving development of a holistic application security program.
- Defining, maintaining, and enforcing application security best practices.
- Working in teams to improve security posture.
- Creating a source code review process of a software that is part of the development cycles (SDLC, CI/CD, Agile).
- Application security scanning technologies like Fortify, AppScan, SAST, DAST, etc.
- Following secure coding standards based on industry-accepted best practices like OWASP Guide, or CERT Secure Coding to address common coding weaknesses.