Categories
Risk Management

Does Obfuscation Affect Code Performance?

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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

Defining Data Obfuscation and How It Works Within Your Development

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Nowadays, the stakes of cybersecurity are higher and the methods of data breaches are becoming more sophisticated. Cyberattackers are inventing more lethal data breach strategies such as reverse engineering tools, decompilers, and disassemblers.

In response, developers must take extra steps to ensure the safety and security of their code and their users’ data. The healthcare industry is the most targeted by hackers, followed by the financial services and retail sectors. According to a study cited by the National Library of Medicine, there were 2216 incidences of data breaches reported across 65 countries in 2018 alone. Among these data breach incidences, the healthcare industry faced 536 breaches. 

Software development is one of the most affected industry sectors. In fact, data from the recent IBM report showed that software development was the target of 44% of all ransomware attacks in 2021. Findings from research conducted by Positive Technologies show that mobile banking applications are the most affected by cybercrime. The study also showed that common cyberattacks and cyber vulnerabilities are caused by names of classes and methods explicitly written in the source code, without being masked or encrypted through methods such as code obfuscation.

The need for masking is increasing as stakes in cybercrime rise. Data from CBinsights shows that data masking will grow to be an $800M industry by 2023. As you can see, data obfuscation is important for many reasons. Not only does it protect your intellectual property, but it also helps to keep user data safe and secure.

What Is Data Obfuscation and Why Should I Care?

So, what is data obfuscation? In their guide, Brunton and Nissenbaum define data obfuscation as “the deliberate use of ambiguous, confusing, or misleading information to interfere with surveillance and data collection projects.” In simple terms, it is a method of hiding data by making it difficult to interpret. App hardening is an excellent example of the use of data obfuscation and protection. It’s a technique used to protect information by making it unreadable and unusable to anyone who doesn’t have the proper key to unlock it.

This is accomplished by using some of the best practices of data protection such as encryption, code transformation, and watermarking. In the software development world, data obfuscation is important. It assists software developers to protect intellectual property, ensure the safety of user data, and prevent reverse engineering. For instance, software developers can prevent intellectual property theft through encryption. By encrypting code, it becomes much more difficult for non-authorized people to copy it or reverse engineer it.

The use of data obfuscation is becoming increasingly relevant, especially as businesses and start-ups move to the online space. A survey conducted by 451 Research LLC revealed that data obfuscation techniques are on the rise, partly due to accelerating DevOps and as developers’ access to production data rises. Findings from the survey revealed that 53% of organizations interviewed used data obfuscation methods to protect the organization’s developer infrastructure. However, mobile developers seem to be lagging behind in adopting data obfuscation strategies to prevent data breaches in their development activities. According to research by the Association for Computing Machinery, only 24.92% of the 1.7 million free Android apps from Google Play are obfuscated by the developers.

This is a concern because, as the number of mobile devices and apps increases, so does the risk of data breaches. A recent study by Kaspersky shows that nearly one-in-five (17% of internet users) have had private information leaked to the public without their consent. With the increasing number of data breaches, it is becoming more important than ever for developers to take measures to protect their code and user data. One way to do this is through data obfuscation.

Five Types of Software Vulnerabilities That Affect All Developers

As a developer, it is important to be aware of the different types of software vulnerabilities that can affect your code. By understanding these vulnerabilities, you can take steps to avoid them and keep your code safe. Here are five common software vulnerabilities:

1. SQL Injection

SQL injection is a type of attack that allows attackers to execute malicious SQL code on a database. This can be done by submitting malicious input into an application that then gets executed by the database. SQL injection can be used to access sensitive data, such as user passwords and credit card numbers. SQL injection can be prevented by using data obfuscation techniques, such as string encryption, and parameterized queries.

2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

Cross-site scripting is a type of attack that allows attackers to inject malicious code into a web page. This can be done by submitting malicious input into an application that is then displayed on the web page. XSS can be used to steal sensitive information, such as cookies and session IDs. It can also be used to inject malicious code into the web page, such as JavaScript code that redirects users to a malicious site.

XSS can be prevented by using data obfuscation techniques, such as input validation and output encoding. Input validation involves checking user input to ensure that it is valid before it is displayed on the web page. PreEmptive’s Dotfuscator uses input validation to verify the application’s integrity during runtime.

3. Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

Cross-site request forgery is a type of attack that allows attackers to inject malicious code into a web page. This can be done by submitting a malicious link or form to a user. CSRF can be used to trick users into submitting sensitive information, such as their username and password. It can also be used to inject malicious code into the web page, such as JavaScript code that redirects users to a malicious site.

CSRF can be prevented by using data obfuscation techniques such as input validation and output encoding. Input validation involves checking user input to ensure that it is valid before it is processed by the application.

4. Session Hijacking

Session hijacking is a type of attack that allows attackers to take over a user’s session. This can be done by stealing the user’s session ID. Session hijacking can be used to access sensitive data, such as user passwords and credit card numbers. It can also be used to modify data, such as changing a user’s password or adding new users to a database. PreEmptive’s Dotfuscator is the best app shield against session hijacking.

5. Denial of Service (DoS)

Denial of service is a type of attack that prevents users from accessing a website or service. This can be done by overwhelming the website with traffic or by crashing the server. DoS can be used to make a website unavailable, such as by preventing users from being able to access the website or by slowing down the website so that it is unusable. Denial of service can be prevented by using data obfuscation techniques, such as input validation and output encoding.

Data obfuscation is an important tool that any developer should use in developing security application. By using data obfuscation techniques, such as input validation and output encoding, developers can make it much more difficult for attackers to inject malicious code into their web pages. This can help to prevent a wide range of attacks, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, CSRF, session hijacking, and denial of service.


Don’t Let Your Data Fall Into the Wrong Hands

Data obfuscation is a critical step in software development, yet too often it is neglected. By understanding what data obfuscation is and how to apply it, you can protect your applications from hacking and tampering. PreEmptive’s comprehensive suite of obfuscation tools can help you secure your DevSecOps pipelines and investments. With our help, you can protect your systems and keep your data safe. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services!


Categories
Risk Management

How Your Android App Can Be Stolen for Hacking

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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

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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

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.


Categories
Mobile Application Protection

Preventing Cyber Threats for Mobile Applications

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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. 


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Budgeting for DevSecOps: Key Points To Keep in Mind In Cybersecurity

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Cybersecurity is one of the areas of business that should never be ignored. Experts expect that cyberattacks will cost the world an estimated $10.5 trillion dollars in losses by 2025, making it an urgent priority for companies across every sector to get right. Not only can cyberattacks have a devastating impact on a company’s bottom line by leading to data breaches and other problems, they can also damage an organization’s reputation beyond repair. If a business fails to take the necessary time to address cybersecurity needs in its budget, it takes a significant risk that could cost them significantly if something goes wrong. 

Knowing how to budget for cybersecurity isn’t always easy. There’s more that goes into it than just buying software and hardware. Training staff and developing a culture of security within an organization must also be included.

Read on to find out how companies can make sure their cybersecurity budget meets their needs.

Know the Threat Landscape

Knowing the threat landscape is about knowing one’s enemy. Understanding what types of attacks are being used and by whom can help businesses better plan their security strategy. As malware authors continually evolve their approach, it’s crucial to stay informed about new threats and how they are being used.

In practical terms, that means:

  • Proactively monitoring the latest cyber attacks, including those identified by researchers at leading cybersecurity firms
  • Learning about new hacking and attack methods and vulnerabilities as soon as possible after their discovery
  • Maintaining up-to-date cyber protection on all systems with an internet connection

Companies should develop an acute awareness of the different attack vectors and vulnerabilities likely to affect their organization. Good managers will place themselves in the mind of an attacker and war game ways to overcome their own defenses. Would they implant Trojan viruses, or could they instead target one of the system administrators with phishing emails?

The conclusions that emerge will determine where and how the budget should be prioritized.

Don’t Just Think of One Single Network Perimeter

The best defense is a good offense, and this is especially true when it comes to cybersecurity. Businesses need to be proactive. The hackers are always working on newer, more advanced methods of attack, so defenders should plan for the future as a whole, not just threat parameters across one single network. They need a multilayered approach that will keep their network protected from threats internal and external alike.

Many breaches happen because companies are far too complacent with their cybersecurity measures. They rely too much on one single aspect of DevSecOps. But cyber attackers are getting smarter by the day: Defenders need to be flexible and adaptive.

Avoid Going Overboard

The point here is that cybersecurity budgets, like any other budget, should be managed with care. In determining the right amount to spend on cybersecurity in your organization, think about:

  • Risk Assessment. How high is the risk? What assets are most critical to protecting? What could happen if they were lost or compromised?
  • Cost. How much would it cost to recover from a breach? The more severe the potential financial damage, the more money businesses should consider directing toward cybersecurity.
  • Existing Controls. What defenses are already in place? If a company already has an extensive network of firewalls and intrusion detection systems, it may not need as much investment in additional security measures as another company.

Don’t budget more than is actually needed. The goal is to ensure that the right security measures are place to protect the organization. They don’t have to be the most expensive or sophisticated engineering solutions available.  They just need to work.

Think About the Cost of Underinvesting

The average data breach costs around $4 million, and this is just for the costs incurred directly by the victim. The real cost takes into consideration lost revenue and reputational damage.

Depending on the severity of the breach, businesses may be left dealing with an immediate loss of customer trust and reputation or even litigation from customers. It can also cause them to lose out on future business if customers don’t trust them with their money or personal information anymore.

Needless to say, no company can afford to take DevSecOps lightly.

Cybersecurity Is a Process, Not a Product

Cybersecurity should be a team effort that involves many people and departments throughout an organization. From the executive level to IT professionals to customer support personnel, everyone needs to be involved in cybersecurity efforts for the entire organization  to succeed.

It’s not enough for a network security team to just deploy their solution. Everyone needs to know how those solutions work and how they should be implemented. This includes ensuring that all new hires are trained on how these security solutions operate, so that everyone at the company understands and emphasizes cybersecurity in every aspect of their jobs.

They don’t need to know minute technical details, but they do need to understand the culture of cybersecurity and why it matters for their specific role in the company.

Budgeting Thoughtfully for Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a complex and ever-evolving field. To protect a business from cyber threats, cybersecurity defenders need to stay up to date on the latest security trends and technologies. But implementing good data hygiene practices takes time. There’s no quick fix for making sure all files have been properly encrypted or deleted.

  • Treat cybersecurity as a long-term investment. Cybersecurity isn’t something that can be put off until later — it’s an investment that can save businesses money long-term, but it’s also important to be thoughtful about how much it will cost and how best to spend that money.
  • Think beyond traditional IT solutions. Cybersecurity requires different skills than traditional IT, so don’t expect an existing IT staff to handle everything on their own. Businesses will also want someone who understands how human behavior affects security to help design processes that reduce the risk of someone inadvertently doing something that puts the company at risk.

Finding the Right Solution

One way for businesses to make sure their budgeting is on track is to work with someone who understands what kinds of threats exist and can give them realistic timelines for deploying effective solutions — and at what price point.


PreEmptive is committed to helping companies like yours protect their applications and networks from hackers, as well as ensuring that you are able to take control of your data. We offer free demos so you can see what we have to offer, and if you decide that our products are right for your business needs, we’ll be happy to work with you on a plan that fits within your budget.