To understand the current and future state of application security, we obtained insights from five IT executives. We asked them, “What are the most effective application security techniques and tools?” Here’s what they told us:
- Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) is effective because it actually protects vulnerabilities through automatic remediation without code changes. This leverages insights into applications, applying the right protection where and when it matters.
- Analyzer engines/scanners tools are continuous watchdogs for production APIs and production applications. We need to always be analyzing. Netflix does 300 production changes per day. They need to constantly look in production. Get away from dependence on operating system agents, proxies, and firewalls. They are non-scalable and are not effective. Automate at scale and look for anomalies. Humans for risk management and policy enforcement (HIPPA, SOX, etc.).
- There is no single set of effective techniques and tools. As with any field, it is imperative to avoid putting all your eggs into one “technique or tool” basket. You’ll just create a false sense of security. A good security strategy involves looking for vulnerabilities from multiple different angles and handling the risk. Remember the majority of security breaches are done by employees or recent ex-employees, not hackers (source: 2018 IT Risks report). That means effective modeling of your release process and setting up a bulletproof role-based access control scheme is very important for controlling these internal threats.
- Many of the techniques mandated by PCI are the foundations of a good security posture — regular vulnerability scans, penetration testing, risk assessments, and ethical hacking go a long way. During these processes, open-source tools like Nmap, Wireshark, P0f and Argus can help.
- Technologies that analyze apps throughout the lifecycle from the beginning to end.
Three technologies: 1) SAST (static application analysis) analyzes applications for the existence of vulnerabilities, 2) DAST (dynamic application security testing) analyses application behavior at runtime, and 3) SCA (static code analysis) detects open source components with vulnerabilities. Fewer than 50% of enterprises adopt these technologies. They keep buying firewalls. Those that have invested are not testing the entire portfolio of applications, just one or two, so most vulnerabilities are not fixed. I have not seen any company investing enough to test all of its applications. They keep doing what they’ve been doing for years — buying firewalls. The government is doing nothing to stop the attacks. 140 million records of Americans are available to hackers stealing money and performing malicious actions. This is a direct result of our negligence and our stupidity of not protecting applications.
Here’s who shared their insights:
- Erik Costlow, Developer Relations, Contrast Security
- James McClay, Product Manager, Cybera
- Doug Dooley, COO, Data Theorem
- Joseph Feiman, Chief Strategy Officer, WhiteHat Security
- Vincent Lussenburg, Director of DevOps Strategy, XebiaLabs