A new report written by Osterman Research notes that most websites use third-party libraries to simplify common functions, but these same libraries often have application security risks. Organizations also typically lack visibility into third party code, making it difficult to determine if websites and web applications have been compromised.
Many organizations use 3rd party libraries to help speed up development and use the code to enable functions like ad tracking, payment integration, chatbots, customer reviews, social media integration, tag management, among others. Because these functions tend to be needed across many types of websites and applications, they’re often re-used by many organizations, increasing the available attack surface that attackers have when targeting these libraries.
According to the report, 99% of the survey respondents said that their websites use supply chain vendors or third-party code from vendors who also obtain code from their partners. Over three-quarters (80%) said third-party scripts account for 50-70% of their website’s functionality. This exposes most websites to the risks of shadow code.
The lack of visibility into this third party code is starkly apparent, as nearly half (48%) of the survey respondents could not definitively say that their websites had not suffered a cyber-attack.
With the risk from third party libraries, organizations need to take steps to prevent their websites and applications from being attacked and any existing vulnerabilities from being exploited. While many look to WAFs to protect their applications in production, there’s plenty of evidence that WAFs are less than effective at protecting web applications. Often overlooked is the category of products known as runtime application security protection, that can protect web applications and their vulnerabilities from being exploited in real time.
Take a Page from NIST to Improve Application Security
Even the National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST), has recently recognized the need for runtime application security NIST’s SP800-53 that was just released on September 23, 2020, includes a requirement for runtime application security also known as runtime application self-protection (RASP). The latest revision of NIST SP800-53 includes the requirement of RASP (Runtime Application Self-Protection) and IAST (Interactive Application Security Testing). It’s a first in recognizing these two advancements in application security by now requiring them as part of the security framework.
In addition, there are a number of simple measures an organization can take to improve their web application security stance. First starts at the very beginning of application development, and that’s making sure developers take security into consideration when developing and coding applications. Second, is making sure that software and operating systems are kept up to date, with the latest updates and patches to ensure known vulnerabilities that have patches are not exploited.
In addition to these two fundamental starts to application security, there’s still a need to ensure security for web applications running in production, especially against threats either missed or not typically secured by network or system level security. The OWASP Top 10 Web Application Security Risks are a great example of risks that aren’t typically protected with network or system level security.
A RASP solution sits on same server as the application, and provides continuous security for the application during runtime. By running on same server as the application, RASP solutions provide continuous security for the application during runtime. For example, as mentioned earlier, a RASP solution has complete visibility into the application, so a RASP solution can analyze an application’s execution to validate the execution of the code, and can understand the context of the application’s interactions.
IAST is the other new recommendation for application security coming from the NIST revised draft, and if you haven’t heard of IAST, there’s a good definition available from Optiv
“IAST is an emerging application security testing approach which combines elements of both of its more established siblings in SAST (Static Application Security Testing) and DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing). IAST instruments the application binary which can enable both DAST-like confirmation of exploit success and SAST-like coverage of the application code. In some cases, IAST allows security testing as part of general application testing process which provides significant benefits to DevOps approaches. IAST holds the potential to drive tests with fewer false positives/negatives and higher speed than SAST and DAST.”
With these two new requirements (RASP and IAST) for application security being added to the NIST framework, it’s really time to rethink how your organization is doing application security.
Here at K2 Cyber Security, we’d like to help out with your RASP and IAST requirements. K2 offers an ideal runtime protection security solution that detects true zero-day attacks, while at the same time generates the least false positives and alerts. Rather than rely on technologies like signatures, heuristics, fuzzy logic, machine learning or AI, we use a deterministic approach to detect true zero-day attacks, without being limited to detecting attacks based on prior attack knowledge. Deterministic security uses application execution validation, and verifies the API calls are functioning the way the code intended. There is no use of any prior knowledge about an attack or the underlying vulnerability, which gives our approach the true ability to detect new zero-day attacks. Our technology has 8 patents granted/pending, and has no false alerts.
We’ve also recently published a video, The Need for Deterministic Security. The video explains why the technologies used in today’s security tools, including web application firewalls (WAFs) fail to prevent zero day attacks and how deterministic security fills the need for detecting zero day attacks. The video covers why technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, heuristics, fuzzy logic, pattern and signature matching fail to detect true zero day attacks, giving very specific examples of attacks where these technologies work, and where they fail to detect an attack.
The video also explains why deterministic security works against true zero day attacks and how K2 uses deterministic security. Watch the video now.
Change how you protect your applications, include RASP and check out K2’s application workload security.