When launching a new website or updating an existing one, it’s crucial to ensure your application security is up to par. After all, you don’t want your hard work and investment compromised by something as easily preventable as a security breach.
In this blog post, we’ll go over the basics of application security and provide you with a handy checklist to help ensure your site is safe from attack. Let’s get started.
Website security principle
You’ve probably heard the saying, “defense wins championships.” Well, the same principle applies when it comes to website security. Whether launching a new website or updating an existing one, ensuring your application security is up to par is critical.
What is application security?
App security protects mobile applications and digital identities from vulnerabilities that lead to data loss, identity theft, or intellectual property grabs.
This can be accomplished through technological means and company best practices with an understanding of what’s new in app development today so you’re safe tomorrow.
Application threat categorization
Malware installation and app architecture are two critical aspects that malware writers need to be aware of. They can use these platforms for malicious purposes, such as intercepting function calls or messages to execute their evil plans on your phone.
The app stores all the data in a database or file system, cache, and Keystore. The configuration files keep track of what’s been stored for future reference.
Reverse engineering, key generation algorithms, and embedded credentials are all techniques that hackers use to gain access to a system.
Reverse engineers take an existing product or program and attempt/in some cases, successfully rebuild it from scratch by looking at its code which can give them information about vulnerabilities in the process.
This includes bugs allowing for memory corruption, among other things. Keygen means creating something new out of nothing; think passwords based instead on known patterns like English words beginning with “B,” so you don’t have to keep typing-and encryption.
Application security risk assessment
The application security risk assessment is a procedure for determining, evaluating, and handling the possible risks to your app. This helps you prevent exposure to flaws in code or vulnerabilities that hackers could use for exploitations; it also lets users see what they might face when using an online platform through someone else’s eyes, like criminals’.
OWASP Top 10
The OWASP security checklist is a well-known, accessible aid for any business that likes to generate more protected applications.
This crucial guide provides critical insights into how best practices can be adjusted to optimize the safety of your creations while also being engaging and informative with its readership. It makes this perfect material if you’re looking at adding an extra layer or two to what currently exists.
The importance of an application security checklist
Security is an essential concern for any business, and as a result, developing applications can often be put off due to time constraints.
However, if you want your company’s data protected from hackers, then it’ll require taking this step not to have anything compromising their valuable assets.
The security risk assessment is essential in ensuring staff members’ and clients’ safety and well-being.
If you neglect the application security checklist step, it could lead to the following:
Not finding hidden exploits in your application
New vulnerabilities could be hidden within your apps with continual development and growth in cybersecurity dangers. By bypassing the assessment and not applying the checklist, you will not be able to identify exposures or threats.
Having a proactive approach when it comes to keeping your application secure.
How can you be ahead of cyber criminals? Proactive techniques to preserve your app as secure. Prioritizing protection lets, you do that on your terms rather than responding swiftly after a breach has been committed.
No compliance with laws and regulations of cybersecurity
The current climate of cybersecurity laws has become increasingly stringent, with new regulations emerging in Canada and globally. Those laws force the notion of implementing an Application Security Checklist Before A Launch Or Update. Not doing so leaves you uncompliant.
Loss of sensitive data
When hackers target a company, it can devastate the business. There may need to announce depressing news about what happened and how much money was lost because of this attack on their network security system. The checklist can be implemented to avoid all of those future misfortunes.
4 Steps for a successful web application security checklist
The identification of vulnerabilities in a software application can be difficult. Understanding where your company’s data is coming from and how it was constructed will help you identify any potential weak points before they become costly mistakes.
Risk assessments are an integral part of software development. When you have assembled details about your data, any dependencies, and the supply chain itself, it’s time to assess risks in that particular system or process flow, but how do we know if potential problems exist? That’s where automated tools come into play.
Mitigation is an integral part of any application risk assessment. Once you’ve collected data on your dangers, it’s essential to define the mitigation tactics so that they can be eliminated and minimize overall vulnerabilities, for there not only be a low likelihood or possibility something will go wrong but also, if possible, avoid having anything happen at all.
The goal of prevention is to assist minimize threats and dangers before they become an issue. This can be done by educating team members about how the software works and implementing automated scanning tools on your codebase or environments to analyze new vulnerabilities continuously.
Also, creating better development pipelines with testing frameworks like Configuration Management Systems (CMS), which deploys releases at defined intervals throughout the day based on config files installed onto servers worldwide to ensure that every change is securely implemented.
Additionally, it’s crucial to establish incident response plans in case something does happen. This includes having a dedicated team or person responsible for managing security incidents, communicating with all involved parties, and documenting clear steps to remediate the issue quickly and effectively.
10 Phases for a successful web application security checklist implementation
Taking security seriously doesn’t have to feel like an impossible task. With the right tools and processes in place, it’s possible.
We’ve prepared this checklist for you below to cover every base before launching your next project or going live with new software on old infrastructure.
If weaknesses are along those lines, people can quickly cause serious problems without even being phased by consequences later down the road.
Collect application information
Understanding how an application is built and maintained can be critical to ensuring its security.
You need a good understanding of all the components, their interactions with each other, data input points for users along any software supply chain, including systems and infrastructure processes, and potentially vulnerable spots where hackers might look to exploit them.
Gathering this information takes time but ensures you’re prepared when it comes downright protecting yourself and your company from attack.
One way to do this is by creating a threat model, which helps visualize and prioritize potential threats based on their likelihood and impact.
This can be done through engaging developers, architects, and other stakeholders in a discussion about the application’s functions and architecture, along with external factors such as user behavior or regulatory compliance requirements.
Secure appropriate system configuration
There are many things to consider when it comes to application security. These include ensuring system configuration, deployment environments, and software supply chain.
Each part of the process should be closely monitored for vulnerabilities that could lead to an attack on applications or data within them,
This may result in compliance failures due to poor practices, neglecting essential steps such as reviewing configurations before launching new products, promptly not patching systems and software, or overlooking potential threats from third-party vendors.
Establish a secure development lifecycle
One way to mitigate these risks is by implementing a secure development lifecycle (SDL), which includes identifying security requirements early in the development process, constantly assessing and testing for vulnerabilities throughout, and ensuring proper remediation and response measures are in place.
Another important step is educating employees on security best practices, such as creating strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, and being aware of phishing attempts. It’s also crucial to have a comprehensive incident response plan should a security breach occur.
Discover access management systems
Identity and access management systems should be reviewed to guarantee that they are executed in a favorable model, with users granted only what is required for their assignment. Authentication methods can also use multi-factor authentication where appropriate;
privileged accounts may require stronger passwords than those used by other employees or contractors who do not have this privilege on company devices/software applications.
When using SSL certificates, ensure they’re from trusted sources such as StartCom Ltd. Comodo irregularities could indicate an attempt at hacking, so don’t rely solely upon them.
Additionally, regularly review who has access to specific systems, applications, or data and update as necessary. Employees may change roles within the company or leave altogether, and their access should be revoked promptly to prevent unauthorized use.
Review authentication procedures
To maintain the highest level of security, you must revisit your authentication procedures periodically.
This includes strengthening passwords and ensuring they are not being reused. It also includes optimizing how users reset their session information or replacing knowledge-based authentications with multi-factor authenticators for added protection.
We recommend you revisit your authentication procedures periodically to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest best practices.
This could include strengthening password policies, optimizing reset passwords by phone or email address, and reassessing user session management techniques like two-factor authentication (2FA).
Ensure the supply chain of the software
Securing the software supply chain is more than just a nuisance- it’s an opportunity. Cybercriminals are always looking for vulnerabilities in applications that can be given to users, disrupting business operations or resulting in breaches of applicable intellectual property.
To protect your company from these risks, we recommend scanning development pipelines with Secure Development Life Cycle solutions so you can avoid potential threats before they make their way onto production servers where hackers could take advantage.
Clear the sensitive data from the code.
Malicious hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities to gain access. They can quickly identify application code with data, such as passwords and usernames, that could be used later on if they were compromised during development.
While this does not guarantee complete protection against cyberattacks (since there’s no way you would know whether or how these developers stored shared secrets), scanning tools will catch any embedded Secrets left behind within your application’s code.
By regularly scanning your code, you can catch any vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them and potentially decrease the likelihood of a successful attack on your organization’s data.
So why wait until it’s too late? Start incorporating Secret Scanning into your regular security protocol now to ensure the safety and protection of your company’s valuable information. Happy scanning.
Implement encryption protocols
Encryption is a must for all organizations that store or transmit sensitive data. This includes credit card numbers, personal medical records, and government employee emails.
With so much information now being transmitted via email instead of physical mail delivery systems such as UPS/FedEx etc.
Proper encryption protection becomes even more critical because hackers can easily access those digital communications without any hurdles if they have “managed” their way onto an individual’s device.
The same goes for online banking transactions versus going down old-fashioned roadmaps like USPS to deposit a check at the bank.
But what exactly is encryption, and how does it work? Encryption essentially encodes data so only authorized individuals can access or read it.
This helps to ensure privacy and prevent unauthorized parties from accessing sensitive information. To put it in layman’s terms, think of it as locking up your house with a key; only individuals with the correct key can enter, while those without it will be locked out.
Business logic for a dynamic application security testing
To protect against hackers, it’s essential to check your business logic. This way, you can be sure that the application is acting as anticipated and not departing room for unpredictable conduct, which could creatively leverage into a violation or invasion.
Business Logic Testing, which includes dynamic and static application security testing, will find any weaknesses in feature misuse; overlooked trust relationships between components (such as data integrity).
Duties performed by individual modules within an app if they’re not adequately separated into different roles with distinct responsibilities, known informally around these parts as “role-based access control.”
In addition to Business Logic Testing, it’s also important to regularly update software and keep an eye out for any application security controls and patches that may be necessary.
Front end testing
The front end is where you will find all of your users. Any application bugs must be found in this part because it’ll affect how people interact with and perceive what they see on the back-end side.
It’s essential to remember that front-end testing should be one of many steps taken during the development process. Testing for security and functionality on the back end is critical in ensuring a smooth and safe user experience. This includes running through server-side validation checks and testing for SQL injection attacks, to name a few potential concerns.
Overall, front-end testing is essential to the development process to ensure a secure and functional user experience. Remember also to consider back-end security when conducting your tests.
Check error handling
The errors that occur within an application pose a threat to its users as they can unintentionally reveal sensitive information.
To minimize this risk, it’s critical that only authorized personnel see any exposed data, and testing should be done on server behavior when receiving requests for nonexistent files or log entry points where data is entered into your system’s database.
If there are vulnerabilities present, you will know about them beforehand, so instead of just fixing one problem with poor coding practices that may not exist, you’ll have time set aside expressly towards finding these sorts of progressions before someone else sees exploits them.
Some common ways to prevent these errors are input validation, proper authentication, access control measures, and implementing secure coding techniques such as using prepared statements instead of dynamic SQL queries. It’s also essential to keep your software up-to-date with any security patches that may be released.
However, it’s essential to remember that errors can still occur, and it’s necessary to have a plan for when they do. This includes regular backups of data, monitoring logs, and a process for quickly addressing any security incidents that may arise.
Overall, application errors pose a potential threat to the safety of user data, and it’s essential to take steps to prevent them and have a plan in place for when they occur. With proper precautions, you can protect your users and maintain the integrity of your application.
Maintain proper reporting and documentation
This web app security checklist is the perfect starting point for strengthening your digital defenses. It provides you with a solid foundation to build upon, including incident response plans that will keep information safe in times of crisis and when conducting regular audits throughout every department’s workflows.
Maximize application security
Security is a top priority when developing web applications. The OWASP Application Security Checklist can help you identify potential security vulnerabilities before they evolve into problems by employing remedies to fix them.
Neglecting this task means giving up any chance at preventing hackers from getting bigger and having far worse consequences for your business than if you had proactively addressed these risks.
So there you have it, our 10-step application security risk assessment checklist. Of course, this is a partial list, and your specific business may require additional steps.
But by following these guidelines, you can help ensure the safety of your users and protect your company from costly data breaches. For more information on how to keep your applications safe, check out our website or contact us today. We’d be happy to help.