Top 3 Application Security Challenges and How to Fix Them

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The majority of applications today are created using open source and web technologies. While these technologies make life easier for developers, particularly in agile and DevOps environments, they also raise the risk of vulnerabilities and attacks. The statistics are concerning: 84% of security assaults target application weaknesses.

One of the elements driving the advancement of application security technologies (AST) is the rise in software vulnerability concerns. These solutions save security experts time and money by eliminating the need for human code evaluations. Nonetheless, application security and application security tools face challenges. In this post, we’ll look at the biggest application security testing challenges and how to choose the best app security tool.

Top 3  challenges for application security

Most development companies take a reactive approach to application security. Yet, the growing list of vulnerabilities requires a proactive approach. Being proactive in application security means you can get ahead of potential crises and allows you to direct your efforts in building your company’s core business.

Companies that move forward to a proactive application security approach often face three challenges:

Legacy or third-party applications

A common practice of developers is reusing code. The problem with reusing legacy code is that you can be reusing vulnerabilities. However useful code reuse may be,  attackers won’t doubt exploiting vulnerabilities in legacy code.

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In other cases, companies migrating to a cloud environment may have legacy on-premises security and testing software in place. These tools can’t cover all the points of compromise hackers may have access to. Even if you test your applications regularly, they may have vulnerabilities that escaped the legacy testing tools.

Need to respond to changes in demand quickly

Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) is the usual standard for development companies. This method allows software developers to increase the pace, stay competitive and meet customer demands quickly.

The fast pace of CI/CD requires application testing that can accommodate the different risk levels of each release. This non-scheduled release also means sudden changes in demand, which the security testing needs to address.

Finally, there could be spikes in demand because your business is growing. If this happens, you need to accelerate testing and cleaning code. The proper application security tool can help by automating testing into the development lifecycle.

Traditional security testing is not enough

There are numerous testing tools, each with its own set of strengths, and no tool can detect every vulnerability and error. As a result, if you confine yourself to a single sort of application security solution, you risk ignoring crucial vulnerabilities.

Threats are continually evolving, and new vulnerabilities emerge on a regular basis. If you want to keep on top of dangers and regulatory requirements, relying solely on tools is not enough. Aside from carefully selecting the security testing tools you will use, ensure that a security-first approach is baked into the development cycle. This includes recommended practices such as secure coding and security testing during the development process.

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Is application security testing truly impenetrable? Problems and difficulties

Application Security Testing Tool Types

The typical application security model involves several solutions providing additional security layers, thus reducing the risk of an incident. Application security tools find known vulnerabilities and issues and help security officers triage potential threats. These tools can also be used in remediation by correlating patterns.

Four basic layers on application security testing tools exist, here is a brief summary from the foundational layer and up:

Layer 1

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST): examines source code at rest to detect and identify potential security vulnerabilities.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): it detects indicators of a security vulnerability in an application while it’s running.
  • Origin Analysis/Software Composition Analysis (SCA): examines software to determine the origin of components and libraries in it.
  • Database Security Scanning: check for errors and weaknesses, like configuration errors, weak passwords, and access control lists.

Layer 2

  • Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST): they combine static, dynamic, and forensic analysis and apply it to mobile applications.
  • Interactive Application Security Testing and Hybrid Tools: combine static and dynamic analysis to detect known vulnerabilities in the code that can be exploited in the application in its running state.
  • Application Security Testing as Service (ASTaaS): managed application security tools where the service combines different techniques such as static, dynamic analysis, penetration testing, testing APIs, and more.
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Layer 3

  • Correlation Tools: these tools help reduce false positives by creating a central repository for findings from ASTs tools. Usually included in other AST tools.
  • Test Coverage Analyzers: measure how much code was tested and analyzed. This functionality is often included in other AST tools

Layer 4

Application Security Testing Orchestration (ASTO): it is a platform that integrates security tools with central, coordinated management and reporting of all AST tools in a specific ecosystem.

How to choose the right security testing tool?

There are various aspects to consider while choosing among so many different types of AST tools. The first step is to evaluate which form of application is appropriate for your needs. The right tool will mix base layer functionality with upper-level functionality.

The sort of tool you select will be determined first by the type of application you wish to evaluate. If you are working with in-house written apps, a static application security solution that checks for coding flaws may suffice. If you don’t have access to the source code, for example, because you’re outsourcing the coding, it’s a good idea to include dynamic security testing. If your apps contain a large number of third-party or open-source components, you may want to consider

In the long term, incorporating application security testing tools saves time and effort, preventing rework and producing more secure applications.


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