The rapidly advancing technology and increasing reach of the internet are revolutionizing the way organizations function – simplifying time-consuming tasks into one-/ zero-click activities, improving the effectiveness of communication, eliminating distances for remote workers and so on. In the face of these developments, web applications have come to occupy a central place for organizations of all kinds today and are being deployed more frequently for increasingly complex activities and have moving parts. When applications are breached/ attacked, organizations are faced with hefty financial and other costs. So, web app security is indispensable and critical.
Often, organizations tend to equate malware detection with application security and therefore, limit their security measures to malware and other threat detection through the use of web scanning tools. It is crucial for organizations to understand that malware detection is an important component of a comprehensive security solution but not the only one.
Let us probe this further with the formula: Risk = Threat x Vulnerability x Consequences
Malware is a threat; these are software developed for malicious purposes by external forces that cannot be controlled by the organization and have the capability to bring down the application completely causing serious damage to the organization’s financial health and reputation. With the increasing attack surface caused by organizations leveraging the cloud extensively (and creating cloud-assets) and the increasing use of IoT devices (due to growing numbers of remote workers, BYOD, etc.), the malware threat is only compounded. However, detecting malware alone does little to reduce the application security risk of organizations.
The threats can orchestrate attacks only when there are underlying vulnerabilities (gaps and weaknesses in the design, framework on which the app is built or in the application layer, etc.) and other application security issues that enable the attackers/ threats to take advantage of the situation. So, if these gaps and vulnerabilities are proactively detected, instantaneously patched and fixed by the organization before the attackers find them, they get a first-mover advantage in effectively mitigating attacks and securing the applications.
Simply detecting malware and not proactively identifying and fixing all application security vulnerabilities and issues will be like treating the symptoms of a disease instead of diagnosing the core issues and resolving them. So, application security best practices mandate that organizations take a proactive approach and leverage comprehensive security solutions to heighten overall security and save millions of dollars.
Building a web application on a vulnerable framework or using vulnerable programming languages results in weak and vulnerable web applications. So, choosing vulnerable frameworks and languages is detrimental to web security, even if the developer is an expert with a great skill set and extensive knowledge. The choice of framework matters most and forms the core of heightened app security. So, it is the foremost responsibility of developers to choose a framework that is secure and provides a range of inbuilt security features.
As mentioned earlier, the organization must unearth any vulnerabilities and loopholes in the applications before the attackers and malicious actors find them so as to get a first-mover advantage. Security testing of the application, right from the design and development to the deployment, will enable organizations to continuously and proactively find the vulnerabilities and fix them. This way, they can launch their applications with lower security risks, make changes to the network architecture if necessary and leverage the findings of regular security testing to build a strong and dynamic cybersecurity strategy.
Additionally, security testing also helps organizations understand the responsiveness and efficacy of the IT/ app development team (internal or third-party vendors). For instance, if they have used vulnerable frameworks or if they have followed the security regulations, etc.
Employing a comprehensive, round-the-clock, managed security solution such as AppTrana that combines the power of automation provided by an intelligent WAF with the expertise and creative-thinking skills of certified security professionals help in not only detecting malware but effectively securing web applications from a wide range of attacks and malicious actors.
Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Indusface
Venky has played multiple roles within Indusface for the past 6 years. Prior to this, as the CTO @indusface, Venky built the product/service offering and technology team from scratch, and grew it from ideation to getting initial customers with a proven/validated business model poised for scale. Before joining Indusface, Venky had 10+ years of experience in security industry and had held various mgmt/leadership roles in Product Development, Professional Services and Sales @Entrust.