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RASP Adoption: A View From the Trenches - Part II

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RASP Adoption: A View From the Trenches - Part II

In Part II of this series, the author focuses on capabilities offered by RASP technology providers and their use.

· Security Zone ·
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In the first part of this three-part post, I introduced some basic concepts surrounding runtime application self-protection (RASP) and how it differs from web application firewalls (WAF).

In this post, I focus on capabilities offered by RASP technology providers and their use.


Here are some of the features and capabilities powered by RASP. Note that not every vendor provides all of these features. They are feasible due to embedding of security inside the web applications and web services.

  1. Prevention of exploitation of common code vulnerabilities like code injections, cross-site scripting (XSS), directory traversal etc.RASP solutions typically focus on the runtime portion of OWASP Top 10 and this includes whole categories of zero-day vulnerabilities.
  2. Protection of authentication and user accountsThe majority of successful attacks are authenticated. For that the attacker needs to take control of a valid user account first. Preventing easy Account Takeover attacks like credential stuffing, or other brute force attacks can make it more difficult for the attacker to even attempt an injection attack for example.
  3. General security intelligence and SIEM integrationCritical security and other events may not be a result of a successful attack. Knowing the security landscape for the application and threats that it faces can be integrated in the holistic view of the IT system.
  4. Layer 7 DDOS preventionSome attacks aim at disrupting business operation and they can target applications. DDOS attacks on the application layer are notoriously difficult to prevent. RASP technology promises to push the attacks away from the application layer.
  5. Monitoring of critical business-specific events
    Some attacks can be recognized by monitoring critical business processes that do not have a direct security implication, but can indicate potential malicious intent, or abuse of service. One known example is usage of charity donations to determine validity of credit card information. Each individual event is not a reason for concern, but a pattern of transaction can point to an attack.

In part 3 of this blog series I will share how RASP protects your applications and how to evaluate a RASP solution.

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