As Halloween approaches, everyone is searching for the scariest costume to outdo their friends at this year’s work party. But teams of developers aren't haunted by your typical ghosts, witches, and vampires. So what are developers’ really afraid of?
What really frightens them are the different security mistakes that they can make on a daily basis which can haunt their team for years to come, generating unwanted vulnerabilities in the software and technical debt for ages.
When a hack hits, the headlines everyone focuses on who and what was hit because numbers and big names are tantalizing the most important detail of a hack that should be of interest is the “how” and when it comes to open source vulnerabilities people tend to point fingers at the different mistakes made. Common development mistakes become the helping hand for hackers to infiltrate web applications and more.
As we are in the Halloween mood, here is the 5 scary mistakes that are continuously haunting your developers.
Prolonging Security till the end of the Project
The first and most common mistake is the assumption of leaving security til the end. Sure you need to perform checks at the end, but why wait for all the issues to accumulate and jump out at your team at the very end?
For every organization, the importance of having a security plan in place from the beginning of the development process is a must. Adopting a shift-left mentality allows your developers to find issues earlier in the development process when they are much easier and cheaper to fix.
Providing the proper attention to security allows developers to adopt a secure architectural and design approach, which in turn helps them to secure their code at every stage of the SDLC.
A well planned out security strategy is a requirement with today software developers who will ensure application users the safety of their information gathered from using their applications.
Not Verifying Security of Open Source Components
Software today is not written as much as it is compiled. It's much more likely that your developers have grabbed the code on GitHub or a different third-party software site and they customized it for their application.
We often see how poorly managed open source components are and can be filled with easily exploitable vulnerabilities that were not noticed by the project managers. Unfortunately, many developers simply lack the knowledge of which third-party components they're using and their potential security risks that they could be heaping on their products.
Institute policies that developers cannot add new components that they’ve found elsewhere without verifying that they don’t have any known vulnerabilities that could come back to bit them later.
A Project is Only as Strong as It’s Weakest Component
This common mistake tends to occur when it comes to managing large custom projects in an organization. When a team of developers divides their work inside the team, it's a challenge to secure all the different areas of the application.
No matter if each developer’s project security might be flawless, the entire application as a whole might have bigger security issues which have been created from different team members. This happens more often than you would think.
Every member of your team should have their code checked before it is added to the build, ensuring that one person’s mistake doesn’t compromise everyone else’s hard works.
Not Taking Advantage of Software Development Security Tools
Organizations often think they don’t need or are not ready for software security tools. This is a massive mistake. No matter the size of the development team or the project, your products need to make it out the door as secure as possible.
Cost can be a concern for small organizations, but they need to think more about the risks that they face by not securing their code. By adding vulnerable open source components to their products, they open themselves up to risk post-deployment.
In the best of scenarios the issue is caught and can be remediated, even if it means annoying tear and replace ops. At worst, well, have you heard of Equifax? Now that’s a scary story.
Not Testing Enough
Everyone thinks it obvious to test out the code or the applications that your team is making but this mistake happens more than you would think. Too many organizations view testing as just confirming that your code works. This is nowhere near enough, no matter the size or the content of the application you need to test for flaws, defects and security risks. In addition to developers to testing manually, there are great testing tools which will make the developer's life much easier. These kinds of tools help your team of developers change from manually testing to automating the process. Also, the automated tools provide a deeper dive into your applications for a clear view of your security.
No More Security Skeletons in Your Closet
Understanding these common security mistakes made by developers with applications will allow your team to avoid these haunting errors. So this year, we hope that your team enjoys more treats than tricks when it comes to building their applications.