Category Archives: Software Security

Executives waking up to cyber threats: how should they approach them?

Yaniv Valik, VP at Continuity Software, explains why cyber threats are no longer just for the IT department to worry about as executives finally wake up.With the stakes so high,

The post Executives waking up to cyber threats: how should they approach them? appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

A Smarter Approach to Security Will Reduce the Risk of Malware

Despite the cybersecurity industry advancing at a promising rate, malware continues to plague organizations. In fact, it was found that the majority of data breaches have happened after a malware infected attachment

The post A Smarter Approach to Security Will Reduce the Risk of Malware appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

SMBs Fear Phishing, Fall Short on Cyber Training

In surveying 500 small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across the US, Webroot discovered that many fail to recognize the many cybersecurity threats their businesses face, in large part because they lack in-house

The post SMBs Fear Phishing, Fall Short on Cyber Training appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Maliciuos hacking activity increasingly targeting critical infrastructure

In this podcast, Andrew Ginter, VP of Industrial Security at Waterfall Security Solutions, and Edward Amoroso, CEO of TAG Cyber, talk about how the traditional focus of most hackers has been on

The post Maliciuos hacking activity increasingly targeting critical infrastructure appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

State Department Email Breach Hit Hundreds of Staff

The US State Department has confirmed an email security breach which may have affected hundreds of employees, exposing their personal information to attackers. Reports emerged on Monday that the incident

The post State Department Email Breach Hit Hundreds of Staff appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Facebook Increases Security For Political Campaign Staff

Facebook is introducing new security tools for political campaign staff, concerned about dirty tricks in the run-up to the mid-term elections. On his personal Facebook page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted

The post Facebook Increases Security For Political Campaign Staff appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Analysis of half-a-billion emails reveals malware-less email attacks are on the rise

FireEye analyzed over half-a-billion emails from 1H 2018, and found that 32% of email traffic seen in the first half of 2018 was considered ‘clean’ and actually delivered to an

The post Analysis of half-a-billion emails reveals malware-less email attacks are on the rise appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

“Zero Trust” Is the Opposite of Business

The term zero trust has been cropping up a lot recently, with even a small conference on the topic recently. It sounds like an ideal security goal, but some caution is warranted.

The post “Zero Trust” Is the Opposite of Business appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Application Security: How to Secure the Many Apps in Your Enterprise

Today’s enterprises are struggling to secure their applications. With thousands of applications in use and new threats emerging daily, large organizations face a monumental task. Compounding matters is the fact

The post Application Security: How to Secure the Many Apps in Your Enterprise appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Phished credentials caused twice as many breaches than malware in the past year

Personal device use for remote work poses the biggest security risk to organisations safeguarding their increasingly mobile and cloud-based IT environment, according to a new survey of 100 UK-based senior

The post Phished credentials caused twice as many breaches than malware in the past year appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

Cybersecurity as catalyst for greater adoption of agile development

Agile development increases the output of software development projects by using a faster, more iterative engineering process. This pace also allows rapid course correction, which is great for meeting customer

The post Cybersecurity as catalyst for greater adoption of agile development appeared first on The Cyber Security Place.

SWAMP, the Software Assurance Marketplace

SWAMP-Logo-Final-Med

I recently took a fresh look at the “SWAMP”, the Software Assurance Marketplace- it is a great idea and a valuable resource.  The short and incomplete story is that SWAMP is a suite of software analysis tools integrated into a centralized, cloud-based software testing environment- and it is available to software developers, software tool developers, and researchers- for free.

From their website:

“Software is a crucial component of daily living, affecting worldwide economic structures and the services we depend on every day. With the increasing rate of security breaches, it is clear that conventional network security solutions are no longer able to defend our privacy, corporate data, and critical banking information. Today’s applications need to be built more securely at the code level, and that code needs to be tested regularly.

The SWAMP was developed to make it much easier to regularly test the security of these applications and to provide an online laboratory for software assessment tool inventors to build stronger tools. Testing is often complicated and challenging, because comprehensive testing requires the use of several disparate tools with no central means of managing the process. The SWAMP is a no-cost, high-performance, centralized cloud computing platform that includes an array of  open-source and commercial software security testing tools, as well as a comprehensive results viewer to simplify vulnerability remediation. A first in the industry, the SWAMP also offers a library of applications with known vulnerabilities, enabling tool developers to improve the effectiveness of their own static and dynamic testing tools. Created to advance the state of cybersecurity, protect critical infrastructures, and improve the resilience of open-source software, the SWAMP integrates security into the software development life cycle and keeps all user activities completely confidential.”

The current test environment is able to test software written in C/C++, Java (including Java on Android), Ruby and Python- with JavaScript and PHP in development.  SWAMP will support eight languages by the end of the year.  There are currently sixteen tools in the suite with more being added, and numerous commercial companies are participating- including Veracode, CodeDX, Goanna, GrammaTech, and Parasoft.

The Marketplace team includes some serious academic centers for technology, the Morgridge Institute and the Department of Computer Sciences at U of Wisconsin-Madison, the Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  In my conversation with Bart Miller and Miron Livny of SWAMP it was clear that this project was built for practical use in the real-world, it is not an academic exercise- this is immensely practical and useful stuff.

There are many more details on their background page, including some impressive tech specs (at least I consider 700 cores, 5 TB of RAM, and 104 TB of HDD impressive).

We are going to try to get folks from SWAMP on the Security Weekly Podcast to discuss the marketplace in depth.  Stay tuned for more on that.

 

Jack

Software Security – Hackable Even When It’s Secure

On a recent call, one of the smartest technical folks I can name said something that made me reach for a notepad, to take the idea down for further development later. He was talking about why some of the systems enterprises believe are secure really aren't, even if they've managed to avoid some of the key issues.

Let me explain this a little deeper, because this thought merits such a discussion.

Think about what you go through if you're testing a web application. I can speak to this type of activity since it was something I focused on for a significant portion of my professional career. Essentially the whole of the problem breaks down to being able to define what the word secure means. Many organizations that I've first-hand witnessed stand up a software security program over the years follow the standard OWASP Top 10. It's relatively easy to understand, it's fairly well maintained, and it's relatively easy to test software against. It's hard to argue with the notion that the OWASP Top 10 is not the standard for determining whether a piece of software is secure or not.

Herein lies the problem. As many of you who do software security testing can testify to, without at least a structured framework (aka checklist) to go against, the testing process becomes never-ending. I don't know about you, but I've never had the luxury of taking all the time I needed, everything always needed to go live yesterday and I or my team was always the speed bump on the way to production readiness. So we first settled on making sure none of the OWASP Top 10 were present in software/applications we tested. Since this created an unreal amount of bugs, we narrowed scope down to just the OWASP Top 2. If we could eliminate injection and cross-site scripting the applications would be significantly more secure, and everything would be better.

Another issue, then. After all that testing, and box-checking, when we were fairly sure the application didn't have remote file includes, cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL Injection or any of that other critical stuff - we allowed the app to go live and it quickly got hacked. The issue this caused for us was not only one of credibility, but also of confusion. How could the app not have any of those critical vulnerabilities but still get easily hacked?!

Now back to the issue at hand.

The fact is that even when you've managed to avoid all the common programming mistakes, and well-known vulnerabilities you can still produce a vulnerable application. Look at what EBay is going through right now. Fact is, even though there may not be any XSS or SQLi in their code - they still have issues allowing people to take over accounts. Why? It's because there is more to securing an application than making sure there aren't any coding mistakes. Fully removing the OWASP Top 10 (good luck with that!) from all your code bases may make your applications more safe than they are now - but it won't make them secure. And therein lies the problem.

When you hand your application over to someone who is going to test it for code issues like the OWASP Top 10, and only that, you're going to miss massive bugs that may still lurk in your code. Heartbleed anyone? Maybe there is a logic flaw in your code. Maybe there is a procedural mistake that allows for someone to bypass a critical security mechanism. Maybe you've forgotten to remove your QA testing user from your production code. Thing is, you may not actually know if you just test it for app security issues with traditional or even emerging tools. Static analysis? Nope. Dynamic analysis? Nope. Manual code review? Maybe.

The ugly truth is that unless you have someone who not only understands what the code should do under normal conditions - but also what it should never do, you will continue to have applications with security issues. This is why automated scanners fail. This is why static analysis tools fail. This is why penetration testers can still fail - unless they're thinking outside the code and thinking in terms of application functionality and performance.

The reality is that for those applications that simply can't easily fail - you not only need to get it tested by some brilliant security and development minds, but also by someone who understands that beautiful combination of software development, security, and application business processes and design. Someone who looks at your application and says: "You know what would be interesting?"...

In my mind this goes a great deal to explaining why there are so many failing software security programs out there in the enterprise. We seem to be checking all the right boxes, testing for all the right things, and still coming up short. Maybe it's because the structural integrity hasn't been validated by the demolitions expert.

Test your applications and software. Go beyond what everyone tells you to check and look deep into the business processes to understand how entire mechanisms can be abused or entirely bypassed. That's how we're going to get a step closer to having better, more safe and secure code.