The Challenges of Software Development Security in 2020

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Security challenges are ever-present during the process of designing, developing, and testing software and application development projects. They are not only found in outside threats and vulnerabilities but also in the processes and approaches sometimes used by companies within the Software Development Life Cycle itself.

The best way to fully understand the hurdles and issues that a software project may have to overcome is by taking a close look at a few of the top challenges. Only after comprehending these challenges can businesses and software development outsourcing companies, such as BairesDev, begin to figure out ways to avoid these pitfalls while developing new software.

Common Issues in Software Development

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Application security spending alone will reach $7.1 billion by 2023, increasing from $2.8 billion in 2017. To be sure that organizations are getting the most out of their own individual security spending, they must know the kind of threats that could have an impact on their software development projects – both from outside sources and issues within their own company’s process.

  • Injections – The most common type of security problems for application and software development projects are injections. Accounting for 19% of all vulnerabilities, this common type of security threat has seen a 267% increase since 2017. There are two typical types of these injection vulnerabilities: SQL injections and remote command execution (RCE). The first type involves the insertion of a database query into the software so that the hacker is able to read and modify data within the database or perform other malicious activities.

SQL injections are common when software developers include user-supplied input while creating dynamic database queries. Remote command execution happens when hackers are able to add their own code to the database to execute commands, including inserting malicious code and escalating their privileges to gain additional access.

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  • Internet Information Server (IIS) Issues – There are many security threats associated with IIS vulnerabilities. For example, a Denial-of-Service attack occurs when the IIS is configured to allow for anonymous attackers to log in and create a long directory name that creates an overflow condition. An Elevation of Privilege attack launches through crafting an anonymous HTTP that is able to request access to a location that typically requires authentication.
  • Cross-Site Scripting – Commonly known as XSS, this type of security threat is when an attacker is able to execute scripts within the visitor’s browser without the visitor knowing on a vulnerable site. This can cause a redirection to a malicious site or other types of potentially harmful activities.
  • Lack of AppSec Plan – Application and software development projects do not happen overnight nor without a plan. A formal plan must be in place ahead of starting a project that documents the many assets and specifications required by the Software Development Life Cycle and organizational standards. An AppSec Plan can help organizations improve their performance for each project they complete.
  • Expedited Timelines – Application and software development is happening at an unprecedented rate nowadays. These shortened timelines open teams and their projects up to outside threats and internal mistakes. While it may get the software product on the market faster, it is not without serious risk. Security must be a priority throughout the entirety of the Software Development Life Cycle, and an expedited timeline may mean that there is not enough time to check every nook and cranny of code to prevent the worst from happening.
  • Inherited Weaknesses – Developers often use long-standing languages (such as JavaScript) to leverage application frameworks. While this can help them create and prototype things at a faster pace, it also means relying on many dependencies that can pull in components from unknown internet sources. This can open the software up to a wide variety of threats.

Preventing Software Development Issues

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While it is impossible to avoid every single possible threat or problem during the process of software development, there are a few actionable steps that businesses and development teams can take to prevent them.

  • Use a variety of security testing tools. – Security testing should not be a one-and-done kind of step. It takes much more than one or two tools to thoroughly test new software. In addition to quality assurance and testing professionals, a wide range of testing tools should be used as well as manual testing and threat modeling.
  • Take the time to build the right team. – Software security goes far beyond just the actual developers. A developer is not going to make security the top priority if forced to adhere to expedited and unreasonable deadlines. A full software development team, such as those offered by BairesDev, should include quality assurance professionals and cybersecurity experts to help proactively prevent as many issues as possible.
  • Fully assess components from libraries. – It is very common for software development companies to use third-party or open-source components to build software. The issue lies in the fact that they sometimes skip the step of evaluating ant patching these components during the development process. Each sourced component should be thoroughly assessed and checked for vulnerabilities before use.
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By making a few changes and choices before and during the development process, organizations can avoid common pitfalls and challenges to produce higher quality, more secure pieces of software.

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