All IT solutions now need to be highly stringent with their security measures. And the applications need the best security practices. If robust security features are ensured from the development phase, then when coupled with other security measures, the overall system gets the best possible security. And, this starts with an all-inclusive application security risk assessment.
A security risk assessment of an application is a stepwise process of investing, analyzing, and strategically managing the potentialities of risk associated with the application.
Such an assessment helps the developers step into the shoes of the cybercriminals to check where they can penetrate the system. Loopholes & vulnerabilities are easily cognized through such an assessment.
And, this all translates into ‘something’ that avoids the devastating consequences to the organizations.
With this vision, Team InSemi have come up with a 10-step checklist for implementing a perfect Application Security Risk Assessment. So, let’s delve into the details!
Essential Elements of the Assessment Model
For all the assessment models, irrespective of the domain or dimensions, there are essentially 4 major parts.
The first step is having a clear understanding of the software components and its supply chain as well. The whole system is an attack surface for the breaches, and must therefore be taken care of accordingly.
After the understanding, now the time is to investigate the components susceptible to the attacks. Some parts and surfaces are more vulnerable and therefore must be safeguarded with more technical strength.
With the information accrued with the first two steps, the developer team needs to fabricate a security strategy that will assist in mitigating risks associated with the different components.
With the strategic approach to mitigate and manage the risk potentialities, the final step is putting tools and tactics to work. With better communication among developer teams, automated scans, and specialized tools for security, one can ensure better safety.
Implementation Steps for the Security Risk Assessment
Howsoever tough it gets, still prioritizing security and implementing the best-in-class cyber security measures are a must. The following steps will be of great help in covering the aspect of application security.
1. Collecting Complete Information
Apart from the service code, data, and other underlying systems that compose the application, the development infrastructure and supply chain needs an extensive examination first. Interactions among key elements and proper security documentation are a must, and the first step to success.
2. Reviewing Management Systems
Organizations ought to timely review access management so that they can be sure of the least privilege model. This means the users can access only what is needed, without any additional access.
Strong passwords, multi-factor authentications, and secured identity standards must be used at all access points.
3. Ensuring Proper Configuration
The deployment environment, software supply chain, and the associated elements of the application need to be properly configured, as in the absence the loopholes will easily open up and will lead to attacks.
A proper check over the configuration includes code repositories, security controls, clouds & servers, admin interfaces & permissions, and data access controls.
4. Securing the Supply Chain
The software supply chain, which is used to develop & deploy the application, is increasingly a popular place for breaches by attackers. From here, any vulnerability can be embedded within the application and this will be passed on to the end users. This vulnerability can be tapped to gain their advantage while disrupting the whole organization!
Scanning the development pipelines for gaps and leaks, securing SDLC infrastructure, and managing the end user’s session with the application can help in securing the supply chain.
5. Rechecking Authentication Protocols
After the reviewing step of the management system and user access, the same must be assessed at regular intervals, without fail. There must be password reset policies and procedures, user session management, and changing multi-factor authentications in place.
6. Applying Encryption Code
Using encryption protocol for sensitive information protects data in transit, obstructing the readability of unauthorized users. And this encryption methodology must be strengthened & upgraded with each passing day!
7. Eliminating Sensitive Data from Code
During the development phases, sometimes, the username and passwords are left in the hardcoded form. These sensitive data are leveraged by the attackers when they gain access to the code. Scanning the system for such information can halt the attackers to gain additional access within the organization.
8. Testing Front End
9. Testing the Business Logic
It means that there must be regular tests on the application to ensure proper functioning, in line with the ideation. There must be no scope for any erratic or eccentric behavior, as it might translate into vulnerability for the attackers. Overlooked trust factors, data integrity, and duty segregation lead to such behaviors, so must be checked accordingly.
10. Assessing Error-Handling Procedures
The way an organization handles errors in the application, sometimes, gives the opportunity to the attackers. This is because improper handling or negligence in rectifications might expose sensitive data to unauthorized accounts. It is imperative to minimize the disclosed information and execute test server behavior to identify unexpected behaviors in advance. Log activities for the data access points must also be monitored.
Though it has been mentioned still it’s worth repeating that security aspects of the application are the foremost priority for not only the success of software but also for the organization.
From the development phase to the test server execution keep this checklist at hand and never miss any step at any cost.
A proactive approach to address risk potentialities obstructs the penetration points and strengthens the security of the application- which also interprets the reputation and future of the organization.