Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Comprehensive Guide To Performing A Software Security Review

Table Of Contents

     Around 84% of codebases have at least one vulnerability that can go undetected when scanned using open-source security tools. Making your application suspectable to potential vulnerabilities that can expose sensitive data in your software security review.

    While these, secure code review tools are helpful they might not always provide you with an accurate analysis. This inevitably subjects applications to security concerns leading to data breach which can cost your organization millions.

    A thorough application secure code review for software security is recommended to enhance the application code. Not only does it secure applications from being exploited for sensitive data, but it also affects your organization's reputation, along with financial losses incurred for repercussions for data theft.

    So, let me tell you why application security code review is so important.

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    Why is Application Code Security Review Important?

    Application security reviews are important to ensure that vulnerabilities are found and patched before they can be exploited by hackers. Conducting regular reviews also ensures that you can quickly build trust with customers and prospects to help your company's growth prospects.

    Other reasons include:

    1. Proactive Risk Mitigation

    Using an application security checklist to conduct a secure coding review is a positive, proactive step towards mitigating risks. A secure code review for applications empowers you and your development teams by detecting and finding remediation of security issues before they can be exploited by attackers, reducing the likelihood of security breaches.

    2. Adherence to Compliance & Regulations

    Regulatory requirements for data and application security differ based on the industry your software applications or product will be used for. Regular AppSec code review ensures that your SaaS web application security complies with industry standards, reducing the risk of non-compliance and potential penalties.

    3. Reliability

    Web app vulnerability scanning through code review improves application security as well as the reliability and stability of your software. It ensures that your applications perform as intended and are secure from all known vulnerabilities without causing any unexpected disruptions in your software.

    4. Reducing Attack Surface:

    One of the biggest advantages of rectifying security issues through secure source code reviews is that it reduces the attack surface of your applications. Along with this, manual code review also limits the potential entry points for cyberattacks and minimizes the risk of exploitation.

    5. Competitive Advantage:

    When you demonstrate a commitment to security policies and code reviews, it gives you an advantage over your competitors. This is particularly important for your development team and your organization.  Customers and partners often choose to work with SaaS security-conscious businesses, that follow static application security testing and dynamic application testing protocol.

    6. Improved Code Quality:

    The process of reviewing and refining software during a security code review often leads to improved quality of application code. It will improve web application performance, reduce maintenance costs, and enhance user experience as developers work to identify potential security issues.

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    How does the Software Security Review work?

    When securing your software applications, automated processes help make security code review more efficient. Automated security testing tools enhance the accuracy of your security assessments.

    Automated Application Security Review Processes

    1. Whitebox Code Review with Static Analysis Tools (SAST)

    One of the key components of a secure code review process is the use of static analysis tools (SAST). Ideally, these tools should easily integrate with your developers' Integrated Development Environments (IDEs).

    SAST tools can rapidly scan large codebases and help in vulnerability assessment for software. They analyze the source code without executing it, making them an invaluable part of any comprehensive secure code review process.

    2. Black-Box and Gray-Box Vulnerability Scanning

    To mimic the real-world threats that your application might face, it's essential to perform black-box and gray-box and security scanning. This has to be done while the application is running. In this web application security tools work similar to the processes employed by actual hackers. These tools can identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your application by interacting with it as an external user would. 

    3. End-to-end API Security Testing

    API secure code review tools play a critical role in software applications. An API security tool helps in the assessment of the APIs in your apps. An automated end-to-end API security tool with automated endpoint discovery is an excellent choice. This tool not only helps your developers identify vulnerabilities but also assists in removing them. These code analysis tools can also uncover "shadow APIs" that might be hidden or undocumented within your application and can pose a threat to your applications. 

    Manual Code Security Review Processes

    Manual secure code reviews are crucial for software security testing. While they require more planning and resources, they do provide a more in-depth analysis that automated tools may not achieve. Resources that are required for manual secure code review are:

    Feature Planning Meetings

    Security should be an integral part of the software development process from the very beginning. For this, it's essential to discuss security features and controls during feature planning meetings. This early engagement helps to identify potential security issues and integrate security into the design and development phases of your application.

    Security Header Analysis

    A free security header analysis tool can be employed to verify if your application has the necessary security headers configured correctly. These headers provide an added layer of protection against common web vulnerabilities.

    Application Security Checklist

    During the source code review process, a comprehensive application security checklist can be employed. This checklist serves as a guideline for identifying security controls, potential vulnerabilities, and adherence to best practices. A manual review of the source code allows for a detailed assessment of the security measures implemented so that no potential weaknesses are overlooked.

    Web App Penetration Testing

    Conducting regular web application penetration testing is necessary for your application's security. The manual pen testing process involves simulating real-world attacks by attempting to exploit vulnerabilities. For a more comprehensive assessment, it's advisable to consult and work with a web app pentesting services company that specializes in security testing. They utilize advanced and updated techniques and frameworks to discover security threats and provide analysis reports and possible remediations.

    How Can I Choose The Right Application Security Review Tools?

    You need to choose an automated security testing tool that is compatible with your software development environment. This will save you the time and effort of making multiple changes to your existing software development and security testing infrastructure. Cyber Chief is a great automated threat modeling and vulnerability assessment tool that can be easily integrated into your software development lifecycle. It will make your applications more secure by detecting potential security vulnerabilities.

    Cyber Chief is a developer-first automated code testing tool. This means that your development team doesn't necessarily need to have a background in security testing for applications. Using Cyber Chief, you can conduct comprehensive tests for web apps, APIs and cloud environments. It will provide you and your development team with a detailed report and possible fixes that can be implemented to protect your applications.

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    Elements of Secure Code Review

    Application security review involves a meticulous examination of the source code and software design to identify and rectify vulnerabilities and security risks. Let me tell you how the application security code review process works and why it's crucial in maintaining your software's integrity.

    1. Preparation: The web app vulnerability review process begins with defining the scope and objectives of the review. This includes specifying which parts of the code or application will be scrutinized and setting security standards and guidelines.

    2. Code Analysis: Advanced security experts perform a thorough examination of the source code to identify security vulnerabilities. Security teams use automated vulnerability testing tools and manual inspection to identify security issues such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and insecure authentication.

    3. Documentation: Findings of the code review are then documented, this includes details such as the location of security vulnerabilities, their severity, and recommendations for remediation. This documentation forms the basis for subsequent actions.

    4. Recommendations: Based on the analysis report, security experts provide recommendations and guidance on how to fix identified SaaS security vulnerabilities. These suggestions often follow best practices and may include code changes, security configurations, or architecture changes.

    5. Testing and Verification: After implementing the recommended changes, your development team will address security vulnerabilities. The revised application code is subjected to testing and verification. This step ensures that the identified security issues have been effectively resolved and the software security is improved.

    6. Reporting: A detailed report summarizing the entire code review process, including documentation of findings, recommendations, and verification results is generated. This report will serve as a valuable resource for developers encountering a similar issue in SDLC. This documentation of security issues will help them understand the identified vulnerabilities and how to address them.

    Secure code reviews and analysis help you to identify and rectify vulnerabilities before they can be exploited, reducing the risk of data breaches and security incidents. Many industries have strict regulations governing data security for their software and apps. Conducting regular security reviews ensures compliance with these data security requirements.

    Along with this, you as a developer can benefit by addressing security issues during product development. Making it a cost-effective and time-efficient option rather than resolving them after deployment. This also prevents potential exploitations and data breaches through security issues.

    How Can Cyber Chief Help With Software Security Review?

    Cyber Chief is an automated vulnerability testing tool that makes web app security code review for applications easier for your development team, resulting in improved code quality for your applications. Cyber Chief can make security monitoring easier for your development team.

    You can schedule application tests at 1 a.m. and review the critical security issues in the analysis report the next morning. It can help with continuous monitoring of your application and API security protecting your application from cyber threats with each new update.

    Apart from this, Cyber Chief's intuitive cloud security compliance dashboard will give you a quick view of all the security compliance tests your software has passed as per industry requirements. This makes it easy for you to follow the cloud compliance guidelines for industry-specific requirements and avoid penalties.

    Application secure code review should be an integral part of your software development workflow. It eliminates the chances of known vulnerabilities going undetected even when the application is released.

    While the threats for cyber-attacks keep evolving with each passing day, including application security reviews into your CICD process helps protect your applications and cloud data from cyber threats. Employing automated testing tools along with manual testing techniques is a need of the hour to protect your applications.

    SaaS Brief