Time is of the essence for application security — the sooner IT teams can detect potential attacks and the longer it takes cybercriminals to crack app code, the better your business outcomes.
But with hackers adapting to overcome infosec efforts and new software vulnerabilities constantly emerging, how do companies gain more time — and give hackers less time — across their application stack?
It all starts with a change in direction: Security needs to shift left.
Hotel chain Marriott International isn’t having a good week: As reported by The New York Times, the company announced that its reservation database for Starwood-branded properties had been hacked. The numbers aren’t great, with initial data suggesting that 500 million guest records have been compromised across records dating back to 2014.
The result? This is a bigger breach than the recent Equifax debacle, catapulting it to spot on the “biggest breaches of all-time list” behind Yahoo’s three billion compromised accounts in 2017. It’s a sobering reminder that even large organizations with substantial security resources still face the specter of data breaches, but also raises an important question: What (if anything) can companies do to limit their risk of becoming the next hacked-network newsmaker?
There’s big money in artificial intelligence (AI) — reaching almost $12 billion over the next six years. As noted by research firm McKinsey & Company, companies are now in the process of building out the technology foundation they need for AI deployment, with 45 percent of executives already worried about not investing enough in AI to keep up with the competition. It’s not a baseless fear: The McKinsey research also suggests that AI adoption is following a standard “S-Curve” model, which starts with slow adoption by a limited number of businesses followed by rapid mass adoption as market opportunities increase and then slows again as stragglers are left behind.
Given the wide range of potential applications for AI and the evolution of core intelligence technologies, increased business interest is no surprise. What companies may not be prepared for, however, is the uptick in hacker usage of AI tools and solutions — what happens when attackers flip the AI script?
That was the title of yesterday's congressional briefing organized by ACT | The App Association (in cooperation with the Congressional IP Caucus which is co-chaired by Rep. George Holding, Rep. Adam Smith, & Rep. Hakeem Jeffries).
As is often the case when presenting to different kind of audience (not software-centric), you’re forced to reorganize your thoughts – here are few that might be worth sharing.
Attendees were promised the following agenda:
- Learn how rogue apps steal content;
- Understand what access devices are enabling the piracy of content;
- Learn about a range of app piracy methods used to exploit U.S. companies;
- Gain insight into existing industry best practices and enforcement methods for combating IP piracy.
App development now happens at breakneck speeds as companies recognize the need for first-to-market applications that exceed consumer expectations for usability and performance. The root of this rapid release cycle? DevOps — the combination of development and operations teams to deliver best-in-class applications ASAP.
But more apps on the market more quickly means more chances for security issues — as noted by Bank Info Security, 60 percent of all breaches over the last two years started with known software vulnerabilities. Bottom line? DevOps is getting apps out of development, but lack of security is putting them in harm’s way. There are no second chances when it comes to first impressions; users won’t come back if applications expose personal data or become malware distribution drones.
The solution? DevSecOps: Security as a fundamental aspect of application development. Here’s what you need to know.
Credentials are a problem for your app. Why? Because they’re a critical access gateway: If attackers get their hands on working usernames and passwords they can cause havoc — everything from stealing user accounts to compromising high-level application functions.
It’s big business; Sensor Tech Forum notes that 85 malicious apps on Google Play were stealing login credentials, while Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigation Report found that 81 percent of hacking incidents used weak or stolen passwords.
And while part of the problem rests with users choosing username and password combinations that are easy to remember and easy for attackers to guess, applications have their own issue: Hard coding. From smart city software to stock trading applications, the use of hard-coded credentials saves time upfront but significantly impacts security.
Don’t become an easy mark for hackers: Here are six ways to boost credential control and reduce total risk.
Despite the rising costs and impact of application compromise — recent data found that 58 digital records are stolen every second and breaches cost companies an average of $3.6 million — many best practices and procedures for securely designing, developing, testing and protecting applications are largely ad-hoc. As noted by Tech Republic, in fact, exactly ZERO percent of organizations say their security needs are fully met by their current infosec strategy, down from just 11 percent last year.
Some respondents pointed to a lack of skilled resources while others cited budget constraints, but regardless of origin the outcome is clear: Hastily-designed app protection procedures that don’t meet current needs and can’t keep up with evolving demands.
Need a helping hand with your application protection process? We’ve compiled some of the best practices of leading-edge companies into a top-10 list. Let’s get started.
Now is the time to seriously look at how you are protecting and securing your applications
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published two data-security focused documents in as many months.
In June 2018, NIST published guidance on assessing requirements for securing unclassified information (NIST Special Publication 800-171A Assessing Security Requirements for Controlled Unclassified Information).
In July 2018, SPECIAL PUBLICATION 1800-1 Securing Electronic Health Records on Mobile Devices was published offering a practical guide to meeting the specialized security and privacy obligations that come with the management of health records on mobile devices.