Top 5 Ways to Increase Application Security
As we depend more and more on software and applications, the risk and implications of cyber-attacks increase.
According to the Washington Post, cyber-attacks caused a loss of $1 trillion in 2020. The most straightforward way of avoiding these attacks is to make applications more secure.
You can improve the app architecture and create a web design that supports the app better.
Here are the top 5 things that every development team needs to consider and make a part of their software development life cycle to ensure that the end product is safe.
1 – Incorporate security into the SDLC from the start
Suppose there is one thing that can never be over-stressed about application security. It is essential to baking security into the software development lifecycle (SDLC) from the first development day.
The worst security mistake that any developer can make in creating an application is making security an afterthought.
It would be best if you started working on security right from the time when you wrote the first line of code.
Nothing you do after the application has been developed can make it as safe and secure as taking care of security from the start.
At the initial stages, you need to go with SAST (static application security testing) tools. These tools mainly scan the code and find out any vulnerability that it might have.
It enables you to practically nip the evil in the bud and move ahead with a secure code.
2 – Strict Input Rules
The most vulnerable area of any application is the input. This is where most of the cyber attacks originate from.
If input rules are not strict enough, hackers can jeopardise both the app and the user’s security.
Some of the input rules that you need to implement are:
The first and the most critical thing about inputs is the password requirement. Weak passwords are the leading cause behind application security being compromised.
The longer and more complex a password, the lower is the chance of it being guessed or compromised by a brute force attack.
Brute force attacks work by attempting many random passwords to try and get access to the application’s sensitive data.
The most effective way to prevent such an attack is to limit the number of inputs from a single computer/IP address at a time. This can significantly stall or even render useless brute force attacks.
An added layer of security can be two-factor authentication.
This requires the user to enter a unique one-time code/password sent to them via a text message or an authentication app in addition to their password.
SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks are the most common and happen by malicious data being fed to the app.
To prevent this from happening, sanitise any input entered into the app so that no harmful data/code makes it inside the application.
3 – Encrypt Everything
It is good that you have a strong password requirement and two-factor authentication, but who’s looking after your data while it is in transit between the server and the user?
The biggest mistake that any app developer can make is sending the data to the user as plain text. Anyone with rudimentary hacking knowledge can access the data while it’s in transit.
There’s only one solution to this, encrypt the data between the server and the user.
Encryption turns the data into random strings of characters that you cannot access unless you have the decryption key. So, even if the data is stolen, no one can access the contents.
4 – Testing
Testing is necessary from the start of SDLC, but it does not end with deployment.
Hacking techniques keep improving over time, and you need to make sure your application can stand against the newest techniques. There are two main ways you can do that.
Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is a type of application security testing that tests the application externally.
A DAST Tool tests the application based on inputs and outputs while it is running. These tools are updated regularly, and make sure your app is up to the mark to resist the latest hacking practices.
Brute forcing might be the most primitive technique of compromising the security of an application, but it still works.
Given enough time and computing power, any application or website can be brute-forced.
If you try to brute force your app, you can identify the weak points and resolve the causative issues to make sure that someone else cannot use this method to compromise its security.
5 – Make Container Security a Priority
Containerisation has recently become very popular among developers.
It makes it possible to scale their product with virtually no physical boundaries and little to no increased resource requirement.
What developers fail to realise is that containers bring a unique set of security threats to the application.
Without adequate security, people can exploit container vulnerabilities for sensitive data theft or unauthorised changes to the internal working of an app.
Here are the main things that you need to consider to make containers secure:
- Container access must only be given to the administrators, and the least required level of access should be given.
- Outdated containers should be updated or removed.
- Old user data, like the credential of inactive users, would be invalidated as soon as possible.
Application security is essential. To make an application secure, the first thing to do is to make security a part of the SDLC from the very start.
In addition to that, you can enhance the security of an application by setting strict input parameters, using encryption wherever possible, testing the application for the latest threats, and adopting the best container security practices.
Author Bio: Adam Smith is a content writing guru at Contenterist. He is adept in IT as well. He loves to write on different topics. In his free time, he likes to travel and explore different parts of the world.