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
Dotfuscator

Presenting Dotfuscator 6.5: Major Maintenance Update!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

PreEmptive is pleased to announce the release of Dotfuscator 6.5, a tool used by software developers to protect code from hacking and reverse engineering.

The version 6.5 update is a big one. It addresses various .NET Core, .NET 5, and cross-platform support items, fixes various bugs, and improves performance of the licensing system that was introduced earlier this year. We’ve added new static and dynamic code transforms and injected runtime checks to ensure security in all stages of the development process. We also amplified defense against de-obfuscators and de-compilers.

 

 

Dotfuscator at a Glance

Dotfuscator is a DevSecOps tool that protects .NET applications from reverse-engineering and hacking. Using static and dynamic code transforms and injected runtime checks, Dotfuscator obfuscates source code on .NET, Xamarin, and Windows Platform Apps. It integrates into the development build process and operates on the .NET Intermediate Language. Dotfuscator Professional supports .NET, including .NET Core, .NET 5, Xamarin, and Mono.

For more information, check out Dotfuscator 101. It’ll walk you through its features and show how the program provides ironclad security against common (and uncommon) software development vulnerabilities.

 

 

 

New Features & Fixes in Version 6.5

The release notes provide fully detailed information about the updates in this version, which include: 

  • Simplified license key use
  • Improved subscription checks  from the license server
  • Status messaging for Dotfuscator CLI and MSBuild integration users
  • Added support for NuGet packages
  • Improved V2 license verification
  • Compatibility with both forward and backslashes
  • Accelerated Dotfuscator GUI build time
  • dnSpy detection
  • Improved support for Nullable Reference Types
  • Updated Xamarin Android Tamper Check to use new APIs
  • Sample project showing how to use Dotfuscator with Azure DevOps
  • Additional samples for non-Windows environments
  • Tamper and Debugging Check for .NET Core 3.1 and .NET 5 apps

 

 

Upgrade or Download a Demo Today!

Every organization developing .NET software needs Dotfuscator in its development process. Data breaches are no longer a maybe. They happen every day to companies of all sizes in all industries. If you don’t protect your code at the onset, you risk becoming just one more data breach statistic.

 

PreEmptive Dotfuscator has been the leader in In-App security since 2003. We serve clients of all sizes, including enterprise and Fortune 500 companies in medical, government, and other industries. This release is supported for licensed users as described in the release notes. We encourage you to upgrade your software to enjoy the new features. And if you haven’t tried Dotfuscator yet, request a demo today.


Categories
Press Releases

Major Updates in Dotfuscator 6.5 Release

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Maintenance updates, bug fixes, and new features significantly increase functionality and ease of use.

 

PreEmptive has deployed version 6.5 of its obfuscation and optimization software, Dotfuscator Professional. The latest version continues the legacy of seamless integration into the development environment to protect .NET applications from reverse-engineering and hacking while adding a new variety of static and dynamic code transforms and injected runtime checks to ensure security at every stage of the development process.

 

This release addresses various .NET 5 and cross-platform support items, bug fixes, and cleanup of the new licensing system introduced earlier this year. We also amplified defense against de-obfuscators and de-compilers by making them ineffective against Dotfuscator. See our Change log for more information. 

 

New and updated features include:

  • Simplified license key use
  • Improved subscription checks  from the license server
  • Status messaging for Dotfuscator CLI and MSBuild integration users
  • Added support for NuGet packages
  • Improved V2 license verification
  • Compatibility with both forward and backslashes
  • Accelerated Dotfuscator GUI build time
  • dnSpy detection
  • Updated Xamarin Android Tamper Check to use new APIs
  • Sample project showing how to use Dotfuscator with Azure DevOps
  • Additional samples for non-Windows environments
  • Tamper and Debugging Check for .NET Core 3.1 and .NET 5 apps

 

Whether a start-up company, freelancer or an organization developing projects using .NET software, using this in the development process can prevent theft or catastrophic outcomes. Data breaches happen every day, but being proactive about security will help protect your business. 

 

About PreEmptive

 

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 while protecting intellectual property, sensitive data, and revenue. For more information, contact our sales team and we can walk you through a demo!


 

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

How Your Android App Can Be Stolen for Hacking

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Android is the most common mobile OS by far, cornering 87% of the market share — a number which is expected to grow. Android’s open platform and extensive library of resources make it easy for developers to create and integrate new apps. However, the same features that make Android easy for developers to use also make it easy for hackers to exploit

Android apps have become the most widely used alternative to desktop software. Because apps are used for banking, shopping, and transmitting personal information, they’re a prime target for cybercriminals. One of the most common methods hackers use to carry out various attacks is reverse engineering your code.

1. Reverse Engineering

Android’s open environment makes it an easy target for reverse engineering. Reverse engineering analyzes an app to figure out how it works and its design and implementation process. This is done by examining the compiled code, observing the app during runtime, or both. There are numerous free tools available to reverse engineer the binary code of Android apps. 

Attackers can use reverse engineering to steal your intellectual property, modify your code, attack your back-end systems, discover security vulnerabilities, and gain access to confidential data. The first step in almost all Android hacking attempts is reverse engineering the code. 

2. Repackaging Attacks

Repackaging, or cloning, attacks are a problem for apps of all sizes. Hackers often take good but not very popular apps and reverse engineer their code. They then modify the code to suit their purpose, which could be embedding malware to steal credentials or ad revenue. The modified code is then repackaged, and consumers may be convinced to install it, thinking they’re installing a trusted app. Another variation of the repackaging app is when hackers rebrand an app and publish it as their own, often making more than the original developer. 

3. String Table Analysis

String tables are frequently used for storing sensitive information such as license keys, credentials, and other confidential data on both the client and server sides. Hackers can analyze the string tables to gather information, identify algorithms, understand database designs, and more. The string table may contain the data they want to steal, or they may use the information they gather to launch a different type of attack. 

4. Functional Cross Referencing

Cross-referencing can help hackers determine where a particular function was called from. They can use that to detect vulnerable code they can use to execute malware or find the code that does the encryption of data they want to steal. Cross-referencing can show how information was accessed, which is invaluable to hackers trying to steal intellectual property, sensitive data, or insert malicious code. 

5. Debugging and Emulator Attacks

Hackers can use debuggers and emulators for dynamic analysis during runtime. Using these tools, they’re able to identify vulnerabilities and exploit them with runtime attacks. Unlike the other methods, these attacks require active hardening. Your app needs to be able to modify its behavior and response during runtime if an active threat is detected. 

Preventing Reverse Engineering With Obfuscation

Almost any code can be reverse-engineered given enough time and resources. However, obfuscating your code can make it more difficult, expensive, and time-consuming for hackers to reverse engineer. The free decompilers make it extremely simple for hackers to reverse engineer code that isn’t obfuscated. 

If your code is obfuscated, hackers are more likely to give up and move on rather than investing time and money into reverse engineering the source code. Code obfuscation can consist of a number of different techniques designed to disguise your code from hackers while not interfering with its execution. 

Data obfuscation 

Data obfuscation scrambles data via tokenization or encryption to make it unreadable to hackers. 

Code obfuscation 

Obfuscating your code makes it look like unusable nonsense to hackers. There are many ways to obfuscate your code, and your hardening process should use a layered approach to make it harder to crack. At PreEmptive, we employ a range of different obfuscation techniques to provide a high level of security. 

Our DashO security application provides passive hardening through the following types of code obfuscation: 

Rename obfuscation 

Renaming changes the name of methods and variables. 

String encryption 

Even when you rename your methods and variables, your strings may still be discoverable. String encryption provides an additional layer of security to your software by making it harder for threat agents to decipher and understand.

Protecting Against Runtime Attacks

Obfuscating your data and code isn’t enough to secure your Android app. You also need to use active hardening to protect against runtime attacks. Some of the methods DashO uses to deflect runtime hacking attempts include: 

Tamper detection and defense

You can prohibit or modify your app’s behavior if it detects an unauthorized attempt to gain access. 

Root detection and defense

Jailbreaking a device compromises the security of your app. Control whether your app will run on a rooted device and how it will respond.

Emulator detection and defense

Running an app on an emulator allows a hacker to understand and analyze an app’s functioning in a controlled environment. DashO can sense when your app is being used in an emulator. You can decide whether or not your app will run in an emulator and how it will respond if it is. 

Hooking detection and defense

Hackers use hooking frameworks to modify your app at runtime without altering the binaries. If DashO detects a hooking framework, the app can respond by shutting down, throwing an exception, or sending an alert, among other options. 


Multi-faceted App Hardening

App hardening

To protect your Android app from ever-evolving cybersecurity threats, you must take a multi-pronged approach. However, hardening your app is pointless if your app breaks as the runtime platform evolves. At PreEmptive, we are constantly monitoring, testing, and upgrading our solutions to protect your app from runtime issues and to respond to new hacker threats and tools.

Your organization can’t afford the expense, exposure, or possible brand damage associated with having your app hacked. Contact us today to find out how our solutions can integrate with your current DevOps practices to provide the security and protection you need.


Categories
DevSecOps

Review of The Top 3 Data Breaches in 2022

Reading Time: 5 minutes

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, saw 404 publicly reported data breaches that affected over 20 million records, leaving organizations worldwide scrambling to improve their security measures. That’s a staggering number, an increase of 14%, and it will only get worse in the remaining quarters of 2022.

These attacks have shown us how vulnerable our data is and how important it is to take steps to protect ourselves. In this blog post, we’ll look at the top three data breaches of 2022 and what we can learn from them. We’ll also discuss how PreEmptive can help you protect your applications and make them more resistant and resilient to hacking and tampering, protecting intellectual property, sensitive data, and revenue. Stay safe out there!

Top Three Data Breaches in 2022

Data breaches are never a good thing; we’ve had some serious ones in the last few years. From Equifax to Facebook, they all share one thing: your personal information! But something about someone accessing your information without authorization can make you feel unsafe, especially if it’s personal data like passwords or credit card numbers! These past few years have seen some major incidents in this field. Here is an updated list for 2022: 

1. Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)

In Texas, the Department of Insurance (TDI) announced that their web application, which manages workers’ compensation information, had encountered a security issue. Their investigation and audit report revealed that 1.8 million Texans’ data might have been exposed to the public for almost three years, from March 2019 to January 2022 inclusive!

Personal data breached included victims’ names, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, addresses, birthdates, and injury information, among others. The TDI attributed this breach to improper coding where someone exploited an injection point within programming codes that granted them internet privileges to unauthorized areas of their application.

TDI did more than fix the problem. In an effort to restore trust with those affected by this unfortunate event, they restored their online web application and offered 12 months of free credit monitoring services for those whose compensation claims had been leaked to the public. In addition, TDI reviewed all security measures as well as policies and procedures within the company to enhance current protection methods against any future cyberattacks.

This breach highlights the importance of implementing strong security measures, such as two-factor authentication and training employees on how to spot phishing attempts. It also highlights the importance of having a plan for what to do in the event of a data breach.

2. Toyota (February 2022)

The global automotive manufacturer Toyota was forced to suspend its operations in 14 factories following a suspected cyberattack. A spokesperson for the company said that they believed it was an issue with one of their suppliers, a plastic parts and electronics supplier called Kojima, who had vulnerabilities on their end. According to Kojima, an error message in one of their servers had suggested potential data theft attempts by hackers.

The recent cyberattack on Toyota left the company frustrated and vulnerable. The loss of the output of 13,000 vehicles is unprecedented for them! The reason behind these criminal acts and motive remains unclear, but we know that it has drastically affected business operations and customer trust.

This breach highlights the importance of keeping your systems up to date with the latest security patches. It also underscores the importance of having a robust security plan that includes incident response and data loss prevention.

3. Washington State Department of Licensing (January 2022)

In January, the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) revealed that a suspected data breach could have disclosed the personal information of over 250,000 professional licenses. Following investigations assisted by the Washington Office of Cybersecurity, it appears hackers stole sensitive personal data, social security numbers, license numbers, and dates of birth of approximately 650,000 professionals and business owners – current and former. The department was obliged to shut down to allow investigations. 

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) also had to shut down its Professional Online Licensing and Regulatory Information to avoid being compromised and for its customers’ safety and security. In March, the department announced it was back in operations and would waive all late filings. The outage affected business owners and those whose licenses expired during the closure. The department issues licenses spanning 39 businesses and professions. 

The DOL did not have conclusive information about the data breach at the time. However, it assured its customers that other systems operated by the DOL, including vehicle and driver’s license systems, were under constant monitoring. 

This breach highlights the importance of having a robust malware detection and prevention system. It also underscores the importance of having a plan to respond to a data breach, including how to notify affected users and prevent attackers from accessing sensitive data.

Seven Reasons Why Setting a Security Budget Is Key to Preventing Catastrophic Breaches

As is seen from the examples above, data breaches can devastate businesses, no matter their size. That’s why having a security budget and a plan for developers is crucial.

A cybersecurity plan and budget are critical because:

  1. It saves money. The cost of a data breach can be astronomical. Data breaches can cost a business a lot of money in damages, legal fees, and lost customers. By investing in security now, you can avoid having to pay out massive sums of money later.
  2. It protects business reputation. Data breaches can do severe damage to a company’s reputation and make it harder to attract new customers. Having a solid security plan in place can help protect your business’s good name.
  3. It prevents regulatory fines and other penalties. A business can face hefty regulatory fines if it suffers a data breach. Having a security plan in place can help to avoid these costly penalties.
  4. It avoids lawsuits from customers or employees. A business responsible for a data breach can be sued by customers or employees. A security plan can help  avoid these costly lawsuits.
  5. It secures assets and information. Data breaches can put a company’s assets and information at risk. An investment in security helps protect valuable business assets.
  6. It provides room to upgrade your security. Because data breach techniques are ever-changing, a business may also need to keep upgrading systems. Having a security budget in place can ensure that the necessary resources to upgrade security are available as new threats arise or existing system flaws are identified.
  7. It provides a roadmap for recovery in case of a data breach. No security plan is perfect, and data breaches can still happen. But by having a security plan in place helps to ensure that a business is prepared for such an eventuality.

Choose PreEmptive, Choose Safety!

These three data breaches of 2022 show us just how important it is to take steps to protect our data. We must set a security budget for investing in security products like DevSecOps, have a plan in place for developers, and implement robust security application measures, such as two-factor authentication, app hardening, and training employees on how to spot phishing attempts.

We must also keep our systems up to date with the latest security patches and have a robust security plan that includes incident response and data loss prevention. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Invest in security today with PreEmptive protection products!

PreEmptive can help you protect your applications and make them more resistant to hacking and tampering, protecting intellectual property, sensitive data, and revenue.


Categories
Risk Management

Security Breaches of 2021

Reading Time: 7 minutes

It’s no secret that security breaches are becoming more and more common. There were 1,864 data breaches in 2021, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. That’s an increase of 68% from the previous year. And as we become more reliant on technology, it’s only going to get worse. This trend is likely to continue in 2022, with hackers becoming more sophisticated and organizations struggling to keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats.

That’s why it’s important to be aware of the security risks that come with using certain applications. After all, it only takes one security breach to jeopardize your personal information. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common security breaches of 2021. We’ll also provide some tips on how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.

What Is a Security Breach?

A security breach is any incident that results in the unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of confidential information. This can include anything from losing your laptop to having your email account hacked. Security breaches can have serious consequences. They can lead to identity theft, financial losses, and damage to your reputation.

Top 5 Most Iconic Data Breaches in the U.S.

The United States has had its share of high-profile data breaches. Here are five of the most iconic security breaches in U.S. history:

1. Equifax (2017).

In 2017, the credit reporting agency Equifax announced a data breach that affected 147 million people. Hackers were able to exploit a vulnerabilities in Equifax’s website and gain access to sensitive information like Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

2. Yahoo (2013-2014)

The Yahoo data breach is one of the largest security breaches to date. In 2013 and 2014, 500 million user accounts were compromised by what is believed to be a state-sponsored actor. The information stolen includes names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords, and in some cases, security questions and answers. While the cause of the breach is still under investigation, it highlights the importance of security applications and app hardening.

3. Target (2013)

The personal information of more than 70 million Target customers was exposed in this data breach. Hackers accessed Target’s point-of-sale (POS) systems and were able to steal customer names, credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes. This breach cost Target approximately $292 million.

4. JPMorgan Chase (2014)

Hackers accessed the contact information of 76 million JPMorgan Chase customers in this security breach. The security breach was the result of a spear-phishing campaign that allowed hackers to obtain employee credentials, which they used to gain access to the company’s servers.

JPMorgan Chase is one of the world’s largest banks, with more than $2 trillion in assets. The security breach affected 76 million households and 7 million small businesses.

The hackers accessed customer names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and dates of birth. They also obtained customer account information, such as account numbers and balances.

5. Anthem (2015)

The personal information of 78.8 million Anthem customers was exposed in this security breach. The security breach occurred when hackers gained access to Anthem’s servers through a phishing attack.

The hackers accessed customer names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, street addresses, email addresses, and employment information, as well as Anthem member ID numbers.

Five Major U.S. Data Breaches in 2021 – How They Happened

The year 2021 was marked by a number of high-profile data breaches. Here’s a look at five of the biggest security breaches that occurred in the U.S. last year.

1. Microsoft Exchange Server Data Breach (January 2021)

In January 2021, it was discovered that a number of vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server software had been exploited by a Chinese state-sponsored hacker group. The vulnerabilities allowed the hackers to gain access to the email accounts of Exchange Server users. However, it is now thought that China sucked up a lot of data to enhance their artificial intelligence (AI) program.

The attack was made possible by a number of vulnerabilities in Exchange Server that were first discovered in early 2021. These vulnerabilities, which are known as “zero-days,” were not made public until after the attacks had been carried out.

The security breach affected more than 30,000 organizations in 150 countries. The hackers are thought to have used a number of techniques to gain access to Exchange Server systems, including password spraying and brute-force attacks.

Once they had gained access to a system, the hackers planted malicious code on the victim’s servers. This allowed them to remotely run commands on the server and steal data.

The data that was stolen includes email addresses, subject lines, and the contents of emails. The hackers may also have gained access to contact lists, calendar entries, and tasks.

The breach was discovered by a security researcher who goes by the name “Orange Tsai.” Tsai reported the breach to Microsoft, and the company released a patch for the vulnerabilities in March 2021.

2. Facebook (April 2021)

Facebook has since attributed the breach to its tool to sync contacts. The company cited that hackers took advantage of a vulnerability to compromise and scrape user data.

Even though Facebook recorded one of its largest leaks in 2021, the problems began way back in 2013 when the social network started facing data breaches. This exposed it to vulnerabilities of which hackers took advantage in 2021. One of Facebook’s spokespersons confirmed to Business Insider that this incident was due to vulnerabilities that ensued in 2019.

In 2019, one of Facebook’s security issues was that company employees had access to 600 million user accounts. Additionally, the company had stored Facebook and Instagram account IDs and passwords in plaintext files, which is risky.

During the same period, UpGuard revealed that two third-party-developed Facebook apps with 540 million user records did not protect their data records, thus exposing user information to the public. The same year, investigations revealed that hackers tampered with Facebook’s application programming interface (API) along with user IDs, phone numbers, and names.

Following these eventualities, Facebook’s over 530 million users were affected in 2021, and 300 million others were affected in 2019. The company encountered an outage in some countries, which cost the company $40 billion. The company also faced some reputational nightmares. The data scraping went on for two weeks before being detected, as per Facebook’s report.

3. Colonial Pipeline (May 2021)

In May 2021, the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies fuel to the US East Coast, was hit by a ransomware attack. The attack resulted in the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which caused fuel shortages and panic buying across the U.S. East Coast.

The attack was carried out by a group of hackers known as DarkSide. The group is thought to be based in Russia and operates as a ransomware-as-a-service operation.

It is believed that the hackers gained access to Colonial Pipeline’s network through a phishing attack. Once they were inside the network, they deployed ransomware and encrypted Colonial Pipeline’s data.

The hackers then demanded a ransom of $4.4 million in Bitcoin. Colonial Pipeline eventually paid the ransom, but not before the attack had caused widespread disruption that resulted in fuel shortages, panic buying, and soaring fuel prices.

4. JBS (May 2021)

JBS, the world’s largest meat supplier, was hit by a ransomware attack in May 2021. The attack caused JBS to shut down its operations in the U.S., Australia, and Canada.

The attack was carried out by a group of hackers known as REvil. The group is thought to be based in Russia and operates as a ransomware-as-a-service operation.

It is believed that the hackers gained access to the JBS network through a phishing attack. Once they were inside the network, they deployed ransomware and encrypted JBS data.

The hackers then demanded a ransom of $11 million. JBS did pay the ransom, but the attack still caused significant disruption to the company’s operations. The attack also had a knock-on effect on the global meat supply chain.

5. Peloton Data Breach (January 2021)

In December 2020, Peloton, the exercise bike company, suffered a data breach. The breach resulted in the compromised personal information of up to 2.4 million customers.

The breach occurred when Peloton’s website was hacked. The hackers were able to gain access to Peloton’s customer database, which contained information such as names, email addresses, and birthdates.

Peloton was made aware of the breach in December 2020 and took steps to secure its website. However, the damage had already been done, and the personal information of Peloton’s customers was now in the hands of the hackers.

These are just some of the biggest security breaches that have occurred in recent years. As we can see, no company is safe from attack, and all companies need to be vigilant about security. The best way to protect your company from a security breach is to invest in security applications and app hardening. These measures will help to make your company’s data more secure and less attractive to hackers.


Your Safety and Security Come First.

The above incidents of data breaches and the aftermath can have a devastating effect on businesses, no matter their size. That’s why it’s critical for organizations to take steps now to protect their data and applications. 

At PreEmptive Solutions, we provide a range of products that help make applications more resistant and resilient to hacking and tampering. Our layered approach provides multiple layers of protection, making it much harder for attackers to succeed. 

If you want to learn more about our products or how we can help your organization protect its data, please contact us.


Categories
Risk Management

Best Practices When Using JavaScript in Development

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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.


Categories
DevSecOps

Application Development Security Trends 

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Threats to application security are ever-evolving, and finding ways to adapt to these changes is key to successfully protecting businesses and the privacy of their customers. 

In 2021, developers working on application development security shifted their focus to an earlier stage in the SDLC. Rather than putting measures into place to react to security threats and attacks once they happen, developers began trying in earnest to integrate security measures into the code. 

Developers were also spending a lot of time on cloud security in 2021. Corporate applications and application programming interfaces (APIs) are becoming increasingly cloud-based, so strengthening cloud security measures is critical. Unfortunately, companies remain extremely vulnerable to attacks. In a study of corporate sites in 2021, NTT Application Security found 50% had at least one serious exploitable vulnerability. 

For this reason, security efforts in 2022 are in many ways expanding on concepts from the previous year. These are some of the most significant trends in security for applications that have emerged in recent years.

Protection for APIs

APIs become more integral to businesses every day. In fact, 98% of enterprise leaders say that APIs are an essential part of their plans for digital transformation. They can be seen in practically every aspect of day-to-day life, from reserving plane tickets to ordering dinner to transferring funds. 

Such explosive growth in API usage has equated to a significant increase in attacks against them, and subsequently created a need for equipping APIs with better defense mechanisms. The primary focus for many web developers used to be web application security, but due to recent trends in API usage they have now begun to shift their focus to improving security for APIs.

Today, the web attack surface for corporations has become more of a mixture of both web applications and APIs, so it’s important to pay equal attention to security for both. While there are some parallels and overlaps between security for web applications and for APIs, there are also unique API challenges that developers are encountering for the first time. 

In response, experts expect to see continued developments in security measures designed specifically for APIs. By reducing their vulnerabilities, developers will create a much more secure digital network for businesses.  

Consolidating Security Operations

In a world of near-constant cyber attacks, security operations center (SOC) teams have never been more necessary or more overloaded. A study by Enterprise Management Associates shows that 79% of security teams feel overwhelmed by the volume of threat alerts, with 27% seeing more than 1 million alerts per day. 

This creates a number of problems. For one, urgent threats can get lost in a sea of alerts, putting companies at risk. When genuine threats slip through the cracks, they can quickly become incredibly costly for businesses. 

Another hindrance for modern SOCs is that business networks are comprised of so many different elements. In many cases, various aspects of networks, including on-premise environments and the cloud, are protected by separate security solutions. This creates an inefficient and cumbersome system that makes security more challenging for everyone involved. 

To rectify these issues, there is a push to consolidate and simplify security systems so that they can address a company’s entire IT network. On top of that, there is increasing pressure to incorporate the implementation and testing of security into every stage of the SDLC

Ensuring that all members of a company across all departments have a consistent understanding of the potential cyber-threats that exist, how to prevent them, and what to do if they occur is vital for maintaining robust cybersecurity measures. Ultimately, a company-wide understanding of cybersecurity makes threat detection and response more efficient and effective. 

Automation in Security Operations

Adding to the struggle to optimize SOCs is the tendency for teams conducting manual research to follow-up on false positives. No matter how well trained a team may be, human error is unavoidable. Studies have shown that almost half of all alerts are actually false positives. When they are pursued, the result is wasted resources, excessive downtime, and enormous financial losses.  

One strategy to reduce the frequency of false positives is more reliance on machine learning and artificial intelligence. These automated systems are capable of analyzing data with a very high degree of accuracy, and they have also been shown to reduce costs and response times.  

Despite all of these benefits, there is still a lot of work to do to fully capitalize on automation in SOCs. Additional research and expertise in how to train and maintain automated systems are necessary for them to be truly effective. Overall, however, automation in SOCs is a valuable and promising area for developers to pursue. 

Integrated Security Solutions for the Cloud

Finally, it’s impossible to discuss current security trends without addressing cloud-based programs and systems. There are substantial benefits to using cloud storage and systems, including the fact that it is flexible and allows for remote work. These and other factors have led to an enormous cloud services market that is only expected to continue to grow. The notable downside is that security developments have lagged behind the rapid market growth. 

In contrast to all its advantages, the cloud creates dangerous vulnerabilities for corporate assets and data, so securing it is of the utmost importance. At this stage, businesses store at least 48% of their data on the cloud, including classified and unencrypted material. For this reason, one of the biggest efforts in application security for the foreseeable future will be finding better solutions for securing the cloud. 

One necessary step is to improve and increase the number of security solutions that are actually designed for, and at times integrated, into the cloud. This is not only a better system, but it is also the preference of business leaders. 


The Best App Security

Application security is a complex landscape with high stakes. Properly protecting applications and data can mean the difference between having a successful or failed business. 

In these circumstances, seeking out the best possible security provider is an important step. As a global provider available for use on multiple platforms, PreEmptive offers professional app hardening with a line of premium obfuscation tools. There’s no better time to make application security a priority. Visit the PreEmptive products page to see all of the available options for increasing your application security.


Categories
Mobile Application Protection

Preventing Cyber Threats for Mobile Applications

Reading Time: 5 minutes

With the advent of new technologies and the rapid shift in consumer habits, applications on smartphones and tablets have become prevalent in our everyday lives. It has never been easier to access mobile banking than it is now, let alone to book flights or shop online. But with this ever-increasing dependence on our smartphones and tablets, we are also more exposed to cybercrime than ever before.

The myth that mobile apps are invulnerable to cyberattacks hasn’t withstood scrutiny. It’s true that mobile apps, on average, have fewer vulnerabilities than desktops or laptops, but their widespread use and application present hackers with a broad. and nearly irresistible, attack surface area.

The good news is that there are many steps the tech industry can take to protect itself from threats.

Mobile Application Breaches

Mobile devices are vulnerable because of their open architecture and their ability to connect to other devices and networks. Mobile apps are particularly at risk. Hackers can exploit bugs and errors, either in the code of the app or on the app store that hosts them.

The top vulnerability is unencrypted data transmission. Bad actors can easily intercept unencrypted data when it travels from one device to another. That often happens when a user goes online while using an unsecured network, like their coffee shop Wi-Fi network, and connects their device to it.

But there are other potential problems, especially in app development. Incorrect default credentials or failing to validate input parameters before storing them in memory can lead to serious vulnerabilities within the app itself.

In one major breach that just happened recently, cybercriminals uploaded a counterfeit crypto wallet to the iOS App Store. The unfortunate users who downloaded it and entered their credentials, thinking it was safe, were instantly deprived of their funds. And this while using iOS, often considered a safer alternative to Android! 

How Mobile Application Breaches Affect the Industry

Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives and we depend on them for everything from banking transactions to social networking. They contain sensitive information, such as passwords and payment card data, which makes them especially vulnerable to security breaches. 40% of all data breaches were traceable in some way to a mobile device. 

These breaches create a lack of confidence among users and can cause them to question whether it’s safe to conduct transactions on their mobile device. As more people use mobile devices for financial transactions, the number of security breaches will probably continue increasing at an alarming rate.

The Industry Response

App developers must double down on their security practices during and after development. That includes investing in secure coding practices like encryption and making sure they’re using the latest version of any tools they use. They should also consider implementing application hardening tools, such as those that PreEmptive offers, that can help uncover any security threats before they become major problems.

The added expenditure into security means that the tech industry is spending more money on product development. After many painful lessons, industry leaders have learned to take the threat of mobile cyber attacks seriously, no matter the platform. This means that not only are companies creating more secure applications and platforms, but they are also investing in security tools that can help them identify vulnerabilities.

Mitigation Measures Within App Development 

The risks of launching untested applications are clear: potential data breaches and reputational harm. But how can companies mitigate these threats? There are several things to consider before releasing an application, including legal matters and security vulnerabilities. Here are some best practices for mitigating these risks:

  • Make sure developers understand the app’s purpose and requirements.
  • Conduct thorough testing before launch, including penetration testing, end-to-end testing, and user acceptance testing.
  • Make sure to have documented processes in place to handle any security issues that arise after launch.

App testing, for example, is the process of ensuring that an application meets its business requirements, functional requirements, and quality standards before being deployed for use by end users.

Software testers play an important role in ensuring that applications are free from defects and ready for release. They identify errors or defects in software requirements, design, code, and other elements of the software lifecycle. They also help ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations. Testers can work as part of a group or individually on specific projects within the organization.

Developers can also contract with third parties like PreEmptive to help them reduce security vulnerabilities in their apps. Third-party utilities can be used to scan the code for vulnerabilities, perhaps even finding some that would be otherwise missed by the developers themselves.

Building More Secure Mobile Apps

Given the threat of mobile breaches, there’s an ever-increasing need for developers to create more secure applications. App developers can start reducing their risk at multiple different levels:

  • Secure Coding Practices. Developers need to use secure coding practices that provide protection against common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting and insecure data storage. These types of bugs can expose sensitive data to unauthorized parties or even allow attackers to take over an app.
  • Protecting Sensitive Data. Sensitive data includes credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other personal information. User data should always be encrypted and securely stored, whether on a company’s own server or a hardened server owned by a third-party.
  • User Authentication and Authorization. User authorization refers to restricting what resources each user can access at a given authorization level. An example is only allowing certain users to access specific features or functionality within the app based on their role within the organization.
  • Auditing, Testing, and Training. App developers can hire a team of experts to audit their apps, both internally and externally. They should also test their apps to make sure they work as intended. New security-oriented training procedures can be implemented across the entire organization as well.

Whether speaking about a corporate entity or an independent developer, mobile app security is a serious issue that can have disastrous implications if not approached carefully.

Companies should build their apps with security in mind from the start. PreEmptive is the leader in application security testing and analysis. We provide solutions that are easy to use, yet effective in preventing many types of vulnerabilities and defects in common mobile applications and systems. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you.