Categories
Risk Management

3 Ways Financial Service Organizations Can Improve Mobile App Security

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Finance mobile apps usage is rapidly accelerating, with the number of user sessions increasing by 49% in 2020. VMware reports that cyberattacks on financial apps also rose by 118% during the same year. 

Another report by Intertrust reveals that 77% of financial services apps include at least one security vulnerability that could lead to a data breach. Recently a new Trojan virus called SOVA has been found targeting financial banking apps by encrypting the Android phone and asking for a ransom to decrypt afterward. 

Cybercriminals look for maximum impact and profit, making financial apps a potential target. Therefore, it is imperative to adopt certain measures to improve mobile app security during the development process. 

Challenges to Financial App Security and How To Avoid Them

 

Making financial applications resilient to cyberattacks is a must security practice. During app development, you can improve security by avoiding the following mistakes:

→ Not Validating Data

 

Not validating user input can make your financial app an easy target for hackers. They can easily enter harmful codes or malicious commands that can cause a data breach. 

Therefore, you must validate data by checking its format, length, permissible characters, minimum and maximum value, etc. This way, the app will only accept the user data you want. 

Weak or No Encryption

 

If you are storing or sending data with weak or no encryption, hackers can easily access and use it for nefarious means. Therefore encrypt all data that you transmit or store so even if hackers download it, they won’t be able to access it. 

Most developers focus on the client side of app security and don’t pay much attention to the server side. This can compromise confidential data, such as credit card information stored on the server. 

The solution is to include a reliable secure sockets layer (SSL) and high-level encryption in your app security practices. This will boost server-side security.

A tool like DashO can provide layered protection for your financial Android and Java apps. Layering makes it impossible for hackers to gain access to sensitive information. 

Another excellent app security practice is to use encryption protocols like SHA256 and AES. Also, never store the encryption keys on the application. 

Not Validating User Authentication 

 

Permitting users to set any password they want is risky because hackers try different combinations of characters to gain access to passwords by brute force. 

You can avoid this by including validation for setting passwords and locking users out of their accounts after a few incorrect login attempts. Also, set up multi-factor authentication for the app. 

Cached Confidential Information 

 

Caching confidential information saves time for users as it allows them to log in instantly without entering data. However, it also puts them at risk of breach. If the device gets stolen, anyone can log into the app.

The solution is to include conditions to prevent confidential information from getting cached automatically.

→ Skipping Penetration Testing

 

Penetration testing allows you to know about security vulnerabilities in real-time. Research by Informa Tech conducted on companies with 3000 or more employees shows that 69% of organizations perform penetration testing to prevent data breaches.

Due to deadlines, shortages, or other reasons, developers usually skip this step and release the app, which puts users at risk. No matter how short the delivery deadline is, perform many penetration tests on your app. This will help you find security flaws and fix them during the development process.

3 Ways to Improve Financial App Security During the Development Process

Following these best security practices will improve app security during the development process:

1.  Using Multi-Tiered Authentication

 

A token is a security unit that authenticates a user’s identity by storing personal information transmitted between applications and websites. Financial app developers should use tokens to monitor user sessions. 

These tokens can be approved or withdrawn. Also, design the app to accept medium-to-strong passwords containing alphanumeric characters. These passwords should be renewed regularly, let’s say after every six months. 

Adding a one-time password (OTP) system for each login session will make sign-ups more secure. A multi-factor authentication (MFA) system, including a combination of a retina scan and biometric print, will level up your app security. While hackers can crack passwords through brute force, the biometric factor will foil their attack.

Many security regulations also call for implementing MFA, so you’ll also have a better posture at compliance. Moreover, the user login process can be simplified by using MFA. Once you authenticate users, you can reward them with Single Sign-On (SSO), where they can use multiple services on a single login.

2. Use of Authorized API

 

Always use an authorized application programming interface (API) in your financial app code. To gain maximum security in the app development process, you must have centralized authorization for the whole API. As apps are installed on mobile phones, they are less secure. 

Hackers can install their own app on a device they control and easily manipulate the financial app to take advantage of its security vulnerabilities. API calls are usually protected by an API key and user credentials as an access token. 

You can secure your APIs when they access third-party platforms by using digital signatures, encrypting data, quotas, API gateways, and throttling. 

3. Real-Time Threat Detection

 

In the past, organizations would get to know about a security lapse in their apps after a considerable time. Now they are increasingly focusing on building real-time threat detection capabilities.

The reasons are that early detection can help retrieve stolen information promptly, and regulations require businesses to report a breach quickly. A company‘s reputation suffers if it takes a long time to detect and respond to a security violation.

Therefore, if you develop a real-time threat detection system for your app, you can take preventative measures against developing ransomware and patch vulnerabilities. Moreover, you can use a tool like Dotfuscator for .NET that provides app security in real-time by updating its protection regularly to counter cyberattacks.


Bottom Line

App hardening

Given the sophistication of cyberattacks on financial apps, the financial industry cannot solely rely on a single security practice. When developing an app, it is crucial to ensure that it complies with data privacy regulations and is not susceptible to cyberattacks. 

Adopting a solution consisting of real-time intelligence, multi-user authentication, database security, and authorized API is vital for mobile app security. But remember following the best security practices for financial apps requires considerable expertise. 

Tools like PreEmeptive can assist you with app security by offering a smart app protection solution against reverse engineering, unauthorized debugging, and snooping. 

We use a layered approach, including encryption, root detection, obfuscation, shielding, and tamper-proofing to prevent hackers from exploiting your data. Learn more on our product page.


 

Categories
101

Hacker Horror Stories to Frighten Dev Teams This Halloween

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Halloween is a time for ghosts, ghouls, and other frightening things. But ask any cybersecurity professional if they’re more scared of hockey masks and chainsaws or hackers and malware, and most will take their chances with the slashers. Truly, few things are more terrifying than when data security is compromised. 

Customer information, reputation, credibility, the outlook for the future — all of those things come into question when hackers and attackers infiltrate. It’s the thing of nightmares and, unfortunately, it happens more often than you think.

In fact, some estimates place the total at 109 million accounts that were breached in the third quarter of 2022 alone. That’s a 70% jump over the previous quarter. Yikes! And while no breach is minor, sometimes the magnitude of the breach, who it affects, and the costs and outcomes are especially jaw-dropping.

So to finish out Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s look at a few especially terrifying hacker horror stories that are sure to spook you!

 

Hackers Breach the Red Cross

It’s bad enough when hackers target businesses, but something about going after the charitable organizations that help people seems especially egregious. That happened in January of this year when hackers attacked servers operated by the Red Cross, which contained data about Restoring Family Links services, which works to reconnect people separated by war, migration, and violence. The personal information of a half million people was exposed.

 

 

Disgruntled Employee Goes After Cash App

It’s one thing when hacks and attacks come from the outside – those are to be expected. But when a person within an organization betrays their position to compromise security? That type of inside job is hard to protect against. Cash App found out the hard way in April this year when a former employee breached data containing customer names, stock information, account numbers, and portfolio information, along with a lot of other sensitive financial information. Eight million customers had to be notified about the occurrence!

Russia’s Warfare Has Cyber Element

Few things are more horrific than war. And the conflict that’s on everyone’s mind is what’s going on in Ukraine. The violence on the ground is bad enough, but Russian hackers have also taken to launching cyber attacks against the power grid in Ukraine, nuclear facilities, and a lot more.

 

Personal Health Information Leaked

Australia has had an especially difficult 2022 when it comes to cyber attacks, and many organizations have found themselves in compromising situations. Among the worst was when the personal health information of almost a quarter million people was leaked. In this case, not only were clients put at risk, but the company itself, Australian Clinical Labs Ltd., saw its share price fall as a result.

Hackers Hit the Bar

Having a glass of wine (in moderation) is a commonly practiced way to temporarily forget about problems like data breaches and security leaks. Well, not for customers of iDealwine. The online wine merchant just recently reported that they’d been the victim of a data breach that has potentially exposed the information of every single one of their customers.

Former Uber Exec Covered Up Data Breach

Imagine facing nearly a decade in federal prison for a hack you didn’t even commit. That’s what happened when former Uber Chief Security Officer Joseph Sullivan was found guilty in federal court of not disclosing a 2016 breach of customer and driver records to regulators and attempting to cover up the incident. He is looking at a possible maximum of five years in prison for the obstruction charge, and a maximum of three years for the other charge. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

 


PreEmptive Protects Applications From Hackers

 

Maintaining data security in today’s world requires a comprehensive approach and constant vigilance. No single habit does it all, nor is sometimes often enough. Whether it’s simply regularly changing your passwords and practicing good password hygiene, or implementing a full-fledged, enterprise-level security program.

When it comes to helping software developers create secure products, PreEmptive is a trusted global leader of protection tools for Desktop, Mobile, Cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. We help organizations make their applications more resistant and resilient to hacking and tampering so that protecting intellectual property, sensitive data, and revenue is achievable.

Want to learn more about our products and if they’re right for you? Contact us for a complimentary security consultation.

 


 

Categories
Risk Management

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Changing Your Passwords

Reading Time: 4 minutes

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a month-long effort to raise awareness about the importance of practicing good habits to keep ourselves and our data safe. This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber,” which is intended to communicate that cybersecurity isn’t complex; it’s all about people. And one of the most important things people can do to stay safe online is to practice good password hygiene. And what better time to start than by updating your passwords for Cybersecurity Awareness month.

 

Why You Should Practice Good Password Hygiene

Passwords are how we verify our identity. Whether it’s online banking, email, applications, or the countless other things in our daily lives that require a password, using sound practices to manage them is a must to keep your data safe and secure from prying eyes. Hackers look for situations with weak passwords; unfortunately, many people make it easy.

When was the last time you changed your email and social media passwords? What about your bank and household accounts? Experts say you should do it at least every three months. Do you use the same passwords for any accounts? If you’re shy about sharing your answers, you’re not alone. Many organizations have poor behavior around password management, and weak passwords cause at least 30% of security breaches. 

The 2021 Verizon Breach Investigations Report found that 80% of hacking-related breaches involved stolen or brute-forced credentials. But such aggressive approaches usually aren’t even required. For example, did you know that “Password” is the second most-used password in the United States? We can do a lot better than that.

How to Change & Manage Your Passwords for Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Each of us has over 80 passwords, and there are better ways to manage them than saving them in browsers, writing them on post-it notes, or reusing them for multiple accounts. In honor of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re encouraging everyone to update their credentials. Below are strategies and habits that can ensure your passwords are secure.

Use a Password Manager

A password manager like LastPass or KeePass eliminates the need to memorize credentials or store them in a browser. With just one password you can can create and save passwords for all your accounts.

 

Create a Strong Password

Creating a strong password is a critical step to protecting yourself online. Using long, complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from data breaches and hacks.

 

Get Goofy

If you must create your passwords instead of using randomly generated examples, get creative. Phonetic replacements (“kc” instead of “k”), deliberate misspellings, and substituting letters with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols (such as @ instead of the letter “A”) can maintain security while allowing you to remember your password more easily.

 

Make It Hard to Guess

The National Institute of Standards and Technology provides several suggestions to promote password security, including not using personal information in your passwords. Kids’ names? Pets names? Address? Forget it. All of that information is easy for criminals to guess.

 

Don’t Tell Anyone Your Passwords

Never tell anyone your passwords. If someone calls you on the phone or emails you and says they’re with a service provider and need your passwords, hang up — it’s a scam. Additionally, do not keep written passwords out in plain sight.

 

Each Account Gets Its Own Password

 

Using the same password across multiple accounts is like giving attackers a master key that unlocks every door in your life. Do you really want to do that? Mix things up and use a distinctly unique password for each account. Password managers — which you should use — make it easy.

 

Double Your Protection With Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication

 

Whenever an application allows you to use multi-factor authentication (MFA), do it. It’s another way to ensure that the only person with access to your account is you.

 

Other Strategies to Stay Safe Online

 

Practicing good password hygiene all the time is something every one of us needs to do. But it’s also just one component of cybersecurity. You can arm yourself with multiple layers of protection by following these other practices promoted during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

 

  • Think before you click. If a link looks off, don’t click. It could be an attempt to steal information or install malware. 
  • Update your software. Got a software update notification? Install it immediately. Even better, turn on automatic updates.
  • Get more information. Want to see everything you can do? Get all the tips about cybersecurity at the official website.

PreEmptive Is Security

PreEmptive helps organizations make applications more resistant and resilient to hacking and tampering. We are a global leader in obfuscation tools for Desktop, Mobile, Cloud, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Our products balance ease of use, strength of protection, quality of output, ROI, and security.

Learn more about our products.

 


 

Categories
Risk Management

Friendly Reminder Why Source Control Matters

Reading Time: 4 minutes

All work — physical or digital — requires a specialized toolset to master the task at hand. One of the most helpful tools for program developers is source control management software. Now that the end of the year is approaching, projects will be coming to a close. However, many programmers forsake the implementation of source control management because they don’t understand the benefits of establishing standout coding practices and habits.

Whether the work is an individual project or a large team effort, source control helps track, manage, protect, and improve code in order to meet those end-of-year deadlines. Read further as we define it, highlight the challenges and emphasize the importance of Source Control. 

What Is Source Control?

In essence, source control is the process of storing and tracking changes and edits to a coding project from start to finish. To accomplish this, programmers often use source management systems, services designed to help coders save a detailed log of backups for each iteration of code. They also allow multiple DevOps team members to work and edit within a single version and make changes without getting in the way of others’ progress.

Selecting a source control management system isn’t easy. An abundance of tools are available, making it crucial for developers to research which ones best fit their needs.

Source Control Challenges

Remember: The absence of source control is an approach to source control. It’s also the worst approach. Failing to conduct source control methodically with the proper tools can be disastrous.

For example, trying to conduct a project without a systematized backup of previous versions makes it incredibly difficult to backtrack and identify errors. Additionally, without a proper source code management system, different coders won’t be able to work simultaneously within the codebase. This lack of collaboration increases the chances of miscommunication, errors, and frustration throughout each project. 

Although getting an entire team initiated with a new process and management system is often labor-intensive, it’s worth the commitment. Finding the right source control management system for a team’s work style is vital to long-term success. 

Reasons to Implement Source Control

From a birds-eye view, implementing a source control strategy is vital to a functioning and productive coding organization. Not only does it increase productivity, but it also increases safety and fosters collaboration. 

Increase Code Security

All DevOps teams know that the source code requires as much protection as possible. Therefore, instituting proper source control is crucial because it boosts security measures. 

All data is stored in a repository through the source control management system. The repository, which can be either a public or a private server, keeps each version in a safe and centralized cloud-based system.

Additionally, many systems also come with encryption protocols and application hardening. 

Track Changes and Defects

With source code construction, keeping an eye on every change is absolutely necessary for a project’s success. Management tools provide developers with dynamic ways to track and monitor all tweaks and edits. 

Many source control management solutions automatically alert users to a code’s detected vulnerabilities and defects. Because of this, coding teams prefer these systems — such as PreEmptive’s source control solution — because they analyze and identify issues throughout each version.

Foster Collaborative Code Building

Especially in team environments, synchronizing all collaborators within one version is an immense step to success. Source code management allows developers to work within one codebase and merge all of their changes in one central repository instead of pulling together multiple versions.

Working on the shared code allows the whole team to review, edit, and leave comments in the same place. The improved collaboration accelerates the code-building process and keeps everyone in the loop on the team’s progress. 

Store Backup Code

Source control management is also sometimes referred to as “version control.” This alternative title highlights the ability for programmers to go back and look at previous versions. 

This ability to store every version and go back in time is critical to productivity, as it can save hours, days, and even weeks of work when someone is trying to track down errors. 

Best Practices for Source Control Management

When a company is figuring out which source control management system best serves its needs, there are a handful of habits it can get the team into early to ensure a more successful transition. 

Find a System That Suits the Project’s Needs

Not all source control systems offer the same features. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to put in extra effort up front and nitpick over which solution best fits the necessities of the project. 

It’s important to investigate the competing security features, different access controls, and storage methods. 

Knowing the fine details up front helps avoid stress later on. Check out PreEmptive’s source control solutions to see whether the wide range of features can meet all of the project’s source management needs.

Maintain the Latest Version

Every code revision ensures the new code is pulled and stored within the system. Keeping versions of each code iteration may seem tedious, but tracking even the slightest changes can be extremely helpful. 

It’s recommended to save commits as often as possible, as storing many versions eliminates the need to second-guess the timing of changes and edits. 

Keep a Detailed Note Log

When saving and creating new versions of code, it’s wise to note every change — large or small. There’s nothing too insignificant to be tallied; promoting an organized source control process saves teams time when issues arise. 

Review All Changes

Every time a new code version is committed, the team should run a detailed review of all changes. Doing so reduces the likelihood of building on faulty code. 

If the source control management system offers automatic error detection, the team should address any issues that arise immediately. Quick action saves incorrect code from slipping through the cracks. 

Implement Source Control as Soon as Possible

There’s little reason any programming team should be without a sound system for managing its coding projects. As is evident, implementing the best source control management service brings immense benefits to the team’s productivity and the safety of the source code. 

Happy Coding everybody!

 


 

Categories
Support Corner

Protecting C# Applications That Use Friend Assemblies

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The internal keyword in C# restricts access of types and members to callers in the same assembly. The InternalsVisibleTo attribute is a special way to grant internals access to a “Friend” assembly. Friend assemblies are used when unit testing, as internal members must be directly invoked by a test DLL. So it is quite common to have several friend assemblies in our project.

 

Dotfuscator takes friend assemblies into consideration when applying protection settings. It follows a specific process to preserve runtime behavior while performing as much obfuscation as possible. It also notifies us of any potential issues with friend assemblies during the build.

 

Please consider the following example, a DLL has InternalsVisibleTo an EXE file:

 

 

The EXE file directly references an internal class, made possible only by adding the InternalsVisibleTo attribute in the DLL: 

When obfuscating only the DLL, one of the following warnings would be shown, depending on the Dotfuscator configuration:

 

WARNING: MyAssembly has non-input Friend Assemblies and is in Library Mode; internal members will not be renamed or pruned. Consider adding Friend Assemblies as input for increased obfuscation.

OR 

WARNING: MyAssembly has non-input Friend Assemblies and is not in Library Mode; internal members may be renamed or pruned. References from non-input Friend Assemblies to the internal members of MyAssembly may no longer be valid.

 

The first message occurs when Dotfuscator is run in Library Mode. In Library Mode, Dotfuscator will not rename public and protected members for reusability of obfuscated components (as with APIs). Because of the InternalsVisibleTo attribute, Dotfuscator will also skip the renaming of internals. This will result in less Rename obfuscation than we may have anticipated, but it also will not break any runtime behavior. 

 

The second message warns that Dotfuscator may rename internals in a way that could break calls from the friend assembly.  If the friend assembly is deployed with this obfuscated DLL, this could cause a runtime error. If the friend assembly is not deployed (as with a unit testing DLL) then this warning will have no runtime impact and can be disregarded.

 

In general, obfuscation works best when more parts of the application are obfuscated together. The above warnings will completely disappear if the friend assembly is included as Dotfuscator input. If this is not feasible, we can still process the assemblies in Library mode but with less obfuscation.

 

The full example can be downloaded here.


Be on the look out for our next Support Corner blog!

 

Categories
Risk Management

Does Obfuscation Affect Code Performance?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The digital age has built bridges to new frontiers. However, these frontiers aren’t limited to the well-intentioned. Unfortunately, malicious online characters are common, and studies show that a new cyber attack is carried out every 39 seconds. 

 

Such high cybercrime rates imply that keepers of online assets must find ways to protect those assets. In addition, coders face unique threats to their work, given that their products form the foundations of the digital world. Thankfully, there are ways to defend code from being accessed, reengineered, stolen, and abused.

 

Open-source code obfuscation is a security application technique that prevents all forms of hacking and tampering. It takes executed code/data and reorders it, rendering it unidentifiable to hackers and other third parties looking to cause trouble. The benefits of code obfuscation are numerous:

 

  • It defends open-source code information and data.
  • It can eliminate debugging loopholes.
  • It slows down hackers trying to re-engineer programs and applications.
  • It helps protect intellectual property.

 

Although obfuscation has considerable upsides, many ask the question: does obfuscation affect performance? It’s a common defense tactic, but many claim that it harms source code performance and decide that the tradeoff between execution and security isn’t worth it. 

 

It’s important to understand obfuscation, what it accomplishes, and its varying methods to engage in this debate with the necessary information. Only then should someone judge whether it’s the right decision for their digital assets.

 

What Is Code Obfuscation?

 

Code obfuscation is the process of encrypting and complicating lines of code, data, and communication loops. These measures cause hackers immense difficulty in interpreting and changing existing information. Ultimately, obfuscation stymies potential hackers, limiting their access and ability to steal and manipulate.

 

There’s a broad range of methods used to carry out code obfuscation. However, in essence, obfuscation is any method implemented to make source code harder to understand. Intense levels of encryption make it so hackers require more time and resources to figure out the code they’re trying to infiltrate.

 

Renaming Obfuscation

Renaming is one of the most common and accessible forms of obfuscation. This method is used in Java, IOS, Android, and NET. Renaming code consists of disguising the variable and method names while retaining the fundamental execution. It’s useful because it directly alters the source code, leaving the program’s functions untouched. 

 

Programmers can also insert “dummy code,” additional strings of false code that mean nothing and only exist to increase the difficulty of reverse engineering. Another method removes unnecessary and gratuitous lines of code and metadata, which improves performance and shrinks the availability of hackable material. 

 

Data Obfuscation

Obfuscation takes many forms, and another standard method is encrypting stored data that’s layered into the code. This form of security creates a barrier between hackers and the valuable data within the program and memory. Data obfuscation can involve aggregation and storage-based methods. 

 

Then there’s string encryption, which entails encrypting legible strings of code. Then, each time a line of code is needed, it must be deciphered before becoming usable again. 

 

In terms of implementation, data obfuscation is more intense than renaming methods. However, combining both practices leads to amplified security. 

 

Control Code Obfuscation

Plugging in additional control loops causes hackers to lose track of any sense of a program’s patterned intent. Furthermore, tinkering with the flow of the codebase — by entering dead-end statements, for example — leaves hackers struggling to find patterns. These statements create a labyrinth, making it especially challenging to reverse engineer a coding pattern.

 

Many consider control code obfuscation the most effective way to guard their program from hackers because it removes all logic from the code’s flow, confusing those looking to cause harm. 

 

Disadvantages of Code Obfuscation

With the what, why, and how of obfuscation established, it’s time to examine the other side of the aisle: why do some cast a wary eye on the practice of obfuscation?

 

The main weakness cited against obfuscation is that adding extra layers of security bogs down code performance. Some estimate that obfuscation can impact program performance between 10% and 80%. This criticism is reasonable because it’s true: adding obfuscation tactics results in extra layers of complexity and affects performance. But there are important caveats — namely that not all obfuscation methods impact performance to the same extent.

 

Renaming obfuscation rarely impacts code performance as it only deals with the semantic structure. As a result, the program function remains nearly identical after obfuscation. Any resulting performance drop-off from this method is minor, if not non-existent.

 

On the other hand, data and control flow obfuscation can sometimes cause a significant performance reduction depending on the intensity of the encryption. Baking additional safety layers into the data and code flow cause the application to take on extra work to execute its function. However, as opposed to renaming methods, data and control flow provide more comprehensive defense against hackers. 

 

Nothing is guaranteed, and there’s never 100% certainty that obfuscation prevents hacking. Some hackers can overcome even high levels of obfuscation. Nevertheless, obfuscation should always be considered because without it, the results can be severe.

 

Leaving Coding Insecure

The rate at which hackers attempt to steal information makes preparation vital to maintaining online safety. If that’s not a good enough reason, up to $400 billion in capital is lost to online hackers every year.

 

Even though obfuscating code comes with some slight downsides, nothing compares to being left helpless as hackers infiltrate, ruin, and steal the hard work of entire companies.

 

Refusing to obfuscate significantly increases the chances of falling prey to such schemes, which can lead to unimaginable consequences depending on what was left unsecured. Such dangers all but necessitate analyzing programs for weaknesses and finding the right solution to protect sensitive data. 

 

Forming a multi-layered obfuscation strategy is a great way to defend digital property from being stolen or attacked. Anyone looking for best-in-class code obfuscation needn’t look any further than PreEmptive’s vast offering of protective services. Visit PreEmptive’s product page for more information or to sign up for a free trial.

 

 

 

Categories
DevSecOps

10 DevSecOps Best Practices to Implement Now

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Organizations are under constant pressure to deliver software faster and more efficiently. In response, many have turned to DevOps, a set of practices that emphasizes communication, collaboration, and integration between software developers and IT operations professionals.

However, simply adopting DevOps practices is not enough to ensure success. To truly reap the benefits of DevOps, organizations must also adopt a security-minded approach known as DevSecOps.

DevSecOps is a set of practices that focus on integrating security into the software development lifecycle. By automating code scanning, defect reporting, and incorporating security into the development process, organizations can reduce the risk of vulnerabilities and ensure that their applications are secure.

In this article, we will discuss 10 DevSecOps best practices that your organization can implement now.

10 DevSecOps Best Practices To Implement Now

The speed and complexity of modern software development have made it necessary for organizations to adopt DevSecOps practices in order to remain competitive. DevSecOps is a set of best practices that seek to integrate security into the software development process. By doing so, organizations can more effectively secure their applications and reduce the risk of defects.

There are many DevSecOps best practices that organizations can adopt, but some are more important than others. Here are 10 of the most important DevSecOps best practices to implement now:

1. Shift Left

The first and arguably most important DevSecOps best practice is to shift security left. What this means is that security testing should be integrated as early as possible into the software development process, rather than tacked on at the end. By doing this, security risks can be identified and mitigated much more effectively.

2. Implement Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

If you’re not already using continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), now is the time to start. CI/CD are key components of DevOps, and are essential for implementing DevSecOps best practices.

With CI/CD, teams can automatically build, test, and deploy code changes. This helps ensure that code changes are integrated and delivered quickly and efficiently. It also helps reduce the risk of human error.

3. Implement Obfuscation Techniques

One of the best ways to protect your code from being reverse engineered is to use obfuscation techniques. Obfuscation is the process of making code difficult to understand, to obscure its meaning If you will. Doing so makes it more difficult for attackers to understand the code and find vulnerabilities.

Many different obfuscation techniques can be used, such as code encryption, code compression, and white-box cryptography.

4. Threat Modeling

Threat modeling is the process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing the risks to your systems and data. It’s a key part of DevSecOps, and it’s important to do it early and often.

There are many ways to approach threat modeling, but one popular method is the STRIDE method. This involves identifying six different types of risks:

  • Spoofing – When someone pretends to be someone else
  • Tampering – When someone modifies data
  • Repudiation – When someone denies having performed an action
  • Information disclosure – When someone gains access to data they should not have
  • Denial of service – When someone prevents legitimate users from accessing a system
  • Elevation of privilege – When someone gains access to a system or data to which they should not have access

5. Adopt a Microservices Architecture

One of the key benefits of DevSecOps is that it enables you to adopt a microservices architecture. This means breaking up your monolithic applications into smaller, more manageable services.

There are several benefits to this approach:

  • Services can be developed, tested, and deployed independently
  • Services can be scaled independently
  • Services can be updated without affecting the rest of the application

A microservices architecture also makes it easier to implement security controls. For example, you can deploy security controls at the service level, rather than at the application level.

6. Use Cloud-native Technologies

The world is moving to the cloud, and so is DevOps. But DevOps in the cloud is different than DevOps on-premises. When DevOps teams move to the cloud, they need to use cloud-native technologies.

Cloud-native technologies are those designed to run in the cloud. They are built to be scalable, fault-tolerant, and easy to manage.

Some of the most popular cloud-native technologies include:

  • Containers (Docker, Kubernetes)
  • Microservices
  • Serverless computing
  • NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra)

If DevOps teams want to be successful in the cloud, they need to use these cloud-native technologies.

7. Encrypt Data in Motion

Another important DevSecOps best practice is to encrypt data in motion. This means that data should be encrypted when being transferred between different systems. This is important because it helps protect the data from being intercepted and read by unauthorized people.

8. Implement Role-based Access Control

Organizations need to trust that the right people have access to the right information at the right time. Role-based access control (RBAC) is a security model that can help accomplish this. RBAC can be used to control who has access to what resources in an organization. It can also be used to control what actions users can take with those resources.

RBAC is an important part of DevSecOps best practices because it can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems. It can also help ensure that only authorized users can make changes to systems and data.

9. Monitor and Log Activity

To ensure your system is secure, it’s important to monitor and log all activity. This way, you can see what’s happening on your system and identify any potential issues. By monitoring and logging activity, you can also detect patterns of behavior that may indicate an attempted attack.

10. Implement DevOps at All Levels of the Organization

The success of DevOps implementation cannot be overstated. In order to truly reap the benefits of DevOps, it must be implemented at all levels of the organization. What this means is that everyone, from the CEO to the front-line workers, must be on board with the DevOps philosophy. This can be a challenge, but it’s important to remember that DevOps is about culture first and foremost. Only by getting everyone on board with the culture change can an organization hope to fully reap the benefits of DevOps.


Getting Started

It’s easy to see how following best practices can help keep your software development process safe and secure. Implementing these 10 DevSecOps best practices is a great way to get started, but it’s only the beginning.

Make sure you also have the right tools in place, like PreEmptive Solutions‘ products, which make it easy to follow standard processes and ensure that your code is always up-to-date and compliant.

Want to learn more? Check out our product pages for more information on how we can help you stay safe and secure while you develop amazing software.


Categories
Risk Management

Best Practices When Using JavaScript in Development

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Fun fact: did you know that the first version of JavaScript was called Mocha? Programmer Brendan Eich invented Mocha in 1995. He created it for Netscape, a digital communications company that sought to break away from the visual blandness of standard HTML and develop webpages with interactive and dynamic features. Later, the name changed to what’s known today as JavaScript.

After Eich completed JavaScript, object-oriented language rapidly became a globally accepted coding method. More than 10 million developers — over 65% of all developers and over 90% of all websites — use and implement JavaScript. 

JavaScript: Best Practices for Security and Protection

One of JavaScript’s unique features is that it uses an open source format for code distribution, meaning it’s visible to anyone with webpage access. However, while open source has advantages, its transparency creates security risks, as the code is easy to search for weaknesses and then hack. To combat this, developers can familiarize themselves with best practices and decrease the risk of security breaches.

Secure coding can be critical. For example, the average data breach costs a business $4.2 million. Because of this, maximum protection and code obfuscation are essential in JavaScript development for browser pages, in-app content, and third-party APIs. To help businesses worried about the security of their code, PreEmptive offers best-in-class protection and support for all major frameworks. 

Use Input Sanitization 

Input sanitization is vital to protect source-scripted languages like JavaScript. Web attackers use open source code to inject malicious scripting into a website, an attack known as cross-site scripting. Once users log onto a website, the attacker’s script records victim data and then transfers it back. 

Using input sanitization applications to monitor source scripting is critical to preventing these attacks. These applications examine untrusted sources and expose potential attacks. In addition, each character of code is run through a security check, eliminating unnecessary and potentially harmful add-ons. For additional security, it’s also a good idea to enable strict mode whenever possible. 

PreEmptive’s JSDefender software provides code obfuscation tools that make hacker manipulation extremely difficult and help prevent attacks before they occur. 

Examine Third-Party API Integration

An application programming interface (API) is a messenger that transfers data requests between applications, databases, and devices. Most APIs use JavaScript because it removes the complexity in back-end development. However, developing with JavaScript means that the code is accessible. 

The world’s largest tech companies — such as Google, Meta, and Twitter — offer third-party API integration to web builders, which speeds up the development process and saves money. However, although APIs provide many benefits to web builders, programmers must practice caution when using them. Failing to vet APIs properly can result in poor user quality and leave a site vulnerable to nefarious activity. 

To defend a website’s users and data, use only APIs that have been tested and verified. Thoroughly examine the implementation documents for details regarding data usage, functions, and restrictions. Ensure that all APIs came from and were tested by a well-accredited source. 

Finally, check each API for its security policy and reputation. Not every API comes with the same level of security. Key elements like encrypted connections and strict data protection aren’t guarantees, so scrutinize every API before applying it to a website. 

Even after installing APIs, companies must continue monitoring for unwanted and malicious behavior. Using PreEmptive’s application protection services is a great way to keep critical APIs secure and free of problems.

Increase Application Hardening

The worst thing a business can lose is customer trust, and more and more consumers use phones to conduct online transactions via mobile apps than ever before. Applications are crucial to forming an accessible and appealing mobile environment, and protecting digital infrastructure is paramount. For maximum security, any app that deals with sensitive and private user data should undergo app hardening. 

Web developers can implement app hardening through multiple methods. Data and code obfuscation prevents hackers from interpreting sensitive data or entering an app and reverse engineering it to the source code. It does this by renaming code and replacing certain identifying factors that make it difficult to decipher.

Anti-debugging is another method to thwart hacking efforts. For example, online criminals use debuggers to examine app vulnerabilities, and app hardening can detect the presence of debuggers and block them.

PreEmptive offers top-grade app hardening and anti-tampering solutions. Overall, app protection significantly increases online trust among users, prevents security threats, and reduces the risk of major financial loss. 

Eliminate URL Injections

A URL injection is when a hacker codes a malicious page onto a business’s website. These pages are designed to reroute users to a different site where their protected data is harvested. 

URL injections are possible because of weaknesses in anti-malware and source codes. These weaknesses give nefarious actors access to a site’s coding, allowing them to perform injections freely. Furthermore, once they’re set up, the pages are hard to identify as they steal personal and financial information.  

These URL injections are why programmers need to check their sites for compromised pages continually. One way to check for URL injections is by using the Google Search Console or specific URL injection tools. Once the URL is identified, the page’s coding and data source are altered to add a layer of protection. However, programmers must implement additional firewalls and monitor source code for vulnerabilities to prevent these attacks. 

Additional measures, such as data/coding obfuscation, are critical to addressing and preventing URL injections. Using encrypted coding, strict detection, and anti-tampering software is the only way to consistently protect a site from URL injections. 

Always Practice Safe Coding

Through awareness and implementation of best practices, developers construct safer coding environments and build trust with their user bases — trust that may hold enormous financial consequences. To guarantee this, many website owners choose to boost security by partnering with cutting-edge defense applications. 

For powerful code protection, try PreEmptive’s professional-grade JSDefender application. Learn more about this wide range of data protection services and sign up for a free quote.