A fresh ransomware Petya has hit the cyber walls of companies across Europe and the US. Petya is being touted as being even more deadly when compared to ‘WannaCry’, where the system would get released once the bitcoin ransom is paid. With ‘Petya’, the victims are unable to unlock their computers despite paying the ransom. Viruses and bugs attacking the digitally connected space are getting stronger; intensifying the need for a comprehensive Application security strategy – code review, code security, and code analysis.
The Petya attack impacted diverse industries and services – Ukraine’s central bank, State telecom, Municipal metro, Kiev’s Boryspil Airport, and even affected operations at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Across Europe and the USA, the attack impacted companies operating across sectors – from shipping, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, to law firms.
Such disruptive attacks reinforce the fact that Security Testing and ensuring resistance against nasty bugs is a mandate for any and every industry.
Many such security issues and breaches reinforce the fact that application security is indispensable and has to be self-emerging in nature to deal with the mushrooming uncertainties. Enterprises small, medium, or large are experiencing the scars of data breaches and vulnerabilities around an application’s security. There is a growing need to nurture an equipped platform to manage the overall Application portfolio.
Application Security implies using various tools, procedures, and methodologies to secure the application from external vulnerabilities. Security has often been an afterthought through the software design, however, it has always been an area of major concern. There are numerous threats floating in the market that are manipulating the applications for unauthorized access, breach, modification, and exposing sensitive data.
The most critical step to consider is checking Code Security.
It is the most progressive approach to check for vulnerabilities in the application’s code and can be performed with a set of tools that can be leveraged to assure robustness of the code. The integrity of the code is integral to the security of the application and its sustenance in the digital sphere.
Code Review and Its Importance
Imagine the time and resources that would get wasted in case a defect or vulnerability pops up post release. So, it is critical to verify the security of the code with a thorough code review. Even the smallest of bugs in an application can cost a business billions of dollars.
Security Code review helps find flaws pertaining to Authentication, Authorization, Configuration, Validation, Encryption, and other critical areas. In a way, code reviewers need to be in sync with the language requirements of the application under test, and various security controls that need to be followed.
Thus, the requirements a dev team is faced with are to take the overall context of the application into perspective by considering the potential end-users and use cases. This is essential to successfully conduct code reviews and discover the weak links to the application that can get hacked. Moreover, understanding the context of the application and its end objectives is essential to ensure that the code is effectively protected.
Code Analysis in the Context of Application Security
Source Code Analysis implies test automation of source code for debugging a computer program or application before it is extended to the user. The source code is the most permanent aspect of the application. It gets modified, enhanced, and updated, but continues to exist through the application’s lifecycle.
The analysis can be done either with a static or dynamic approach. With static analysis, the code is debugged without practically executing the program. This helps expose defects at an early stage during development and eliminates the need for multiple revisions in the process. Post static analysis, dynamic analysis, is performed to check for subtle or hidden vulnerabilities. Dynamic Analysis brings real-time program testing into play.
One of the key highlights of dynamic analysis is that it doesn’t require developers to make informed strides at identifying defects. It helps eliminate unnecessary components from the application and ensures that the application under test runs cohesively with other concurrent applications/programs in real-time situations.
As the code is the most consistent aspect of an application, it is important to analyze it for vulnerabilities way ahead in the development cycle. Code Analysis enables you to detect errors and brings down unforeseen incidents with Continuous Development. It helps check vulnerabilities related to security of the application.
Threat Modelling for Application Security
Threat Modelling is a mechanism where potential risk situations are created, which can include malicious events. The idea is to test the application against such adverse events. This is a robust way to enhance the application’s security by defining the enterprise assets, identifying the functions of each asset, and eventually documenting every event and test cycle.
Threat Modelling helps in testing these defined assets of the application for breaches and against unforeseen, nasty threats. It’s kind of a real-time activity that is necessary to build up the resilience of the application against market threats.
The threat can range from a normal bug to major cyber-attacks threatening to deny access to your enterprise information or personal system, for instance, Ransomware attacks such as Petya and WannaCry.