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The Importance of Software Security

What You Need to Know to Protect Your Software and Your Business

As software becomes increasingly important to businesses of all sizes, the need for code security rises along with it. To protect software and your business, security aware software development needs to be a top priority.

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In a nutshell

When software isn’t developed with security in mind, it can be vulnerable to hacker & malware attacks, potentially leading to financial losses for companies as well as exposing customer data. Although bugs and exploits have existed since the inception of programming, recent years have seen an increase in code-based assaults that are both more frequent and more severe than ever before. It is, therefore, crucial to understand how software security impacts your business, what you need to do to protect it, and why it’s worth the effort.

What is secure software development?

Simply put, secure software development is the process by which developers create and test code that’s secure from both internal and external threats. It entails understanding software’s potential vulnerabilities and how threats are exploited. Software security is most successful if it is planned and managed throughout the entire software development life cycle (SDLC), particularly in applications that handle important information or those with critical functions.

Why is software security so important?

Software security and security testing are often an overlooked aspect of software development.
Many businesses don’t realize the importance of it until it’s too late. Here are some reasons why security of code is so important.

01

Software is now a critical part of most businesses

The majority of the companies nowadays heavily rely on some kind of software, and any vulnerability in the code can have serious consequences. Some recent large-scale breaches include the 2021 attack on Facebook, which resulted in exposing the personal information of 1.5 billion users.
02

The number and severity of attacks are increasing

Hackers are increasingly targeting vulnerabilities as a way to gain access to networks and data. Once the software is compromised, it can take years for a business to recover from damage and losses.
03

The stakes are higher than ever

The software industry has seen an explosion of companies and startups in recent years, and the competition between businesses trying to distinguish themselves with their product or service offering is fierce. A vulnerability in software is not only harmful for the users but also for company’s reputation & image.

Our service offering

At Parkside Interactive we offer all of the services needed for ensuring that your software has proper security measures in place at every level of its operations.Our service offering includes software security audits and consulting services as well as solutions for ongoing PS projects, so you can choose which option works best for your company.

01

Basic package

includes code reviews, automated tests, static code analysis (Sonarcloud) and automated dependency checks (Dependabot).
02

Advanced package

as an add-on to our basic package it includes automated scan of Docker images, updates of vulnerable dependencies according to service level agreement (SLA), and software composition analysis (SCA). On top of that we also offer dynamic application security testing (DAST), internal source code / configuration audits and penetration tests.
03

Software security audits

including source code audits for web and mobile applications, configuration & cloud infrastructure audits and penetration tests (whitebox & graybox), together with detailed reports and PoC exploits.
04

Software security consulting

includes implementation of a secure SDLC as well as various workshops, such as threat modelling, upskilling (secure coding & auditing) and tooling for automated security checks (SCA / SAST / DAST).

Advantages of secure software development

Unlike a reactive approach where you deal with problems & consequences once they occur,
a proactive approach to software security will provide several short & long-term benefits.

01

Increased customer trust

When customers know that a company does software development professionally and implements measures to protect them, they’re more likely to do business with that company. This increased trust can also positively affect other aspects of the business relationship, such as contract negotiations or product evaluations.
02

Improved reputation and branding

A good reputation is essential for any company, and having a strong security track record can be a major differentiator in today’s competitive software market. A company that has invested in security of its digital product or application can set itself apart from competitors and enjoy increased brand recognition.
03

Increased sales and market share

Today’s software users are more aware of software security concerns, and they’re often willing to pay a premium for software that is known for its flawless security. A company that takes software security seriously can, therefore, enjoy increased sales and market share.
04

Reduced software systems maintenance costs

Software that’s developed with security standards and best practices in mind from the start can reduce software maintenance costs by limiting the number of software issues. Fewer software bugs mean less software maintenance work.
05

Reduced legal fees and expenses

Some of the software security issues can lead to lawsuits, including cases involving software patents, copyright infringement, and software licensing violations. Hiring or consulting a software development company that takes software security seriously can reduce the risk of legal fees or expenses.
06

Reduced software security testing costs

Many software security issues can be detected with security testing implemented throughout the entire development process. Security testing saves time and money when compared to software testing after the coding is complete.

Top security vulnerabilities in software systems

There are many different security vulnerabilities that companies need to be aware of. According to OWASP the most common ones in 2021. were:

01

Broken access control

An access control flaw occurs when software development companies fail to properly check user permissions before granting them. This often leads to unauthorized users having more access than they should, which can result in data theft or corruption.
02

Cryptographic failures

A software system vulnerability occurs when developers fail to implement adequate cryptographic controls. This often leads to data being exposed or corrupted which can lead to software vulnerabilities, data loss, unauthorized access, and even data theft.
03

Injection flaws

Injection flaws allow attackers to inject malicious code into web applications. This can be used to steal data, execute commands on the server, or even take over the entire application. Sometimes this code is hidden in user input, which can make it difficult to detect.
04

Insecure (software) design

Insecure design is one of the most common code flaws occurring when secure coding practices are not implemented during the coding process. This can lead to applications that are easy targets for hacker attacks and malicious exploits.
05

Security misconfiguration

These flaws occur when code is not configured correctly. Proper configuration can help prevent unauthorized access and many software threats, such as SQL injection and server-side request forgery.
06

Outdated components

Outdated software components can be a major security risk. They often contain known vulnerabilities that have been fixed in newer versions, but many companies don’t update their software components regularly, leaving them open to attack.
07

Broken authentication and session management

These flaws can allow attackers to gain access to restricted areas of websites or steal session cookies, which can then be used to hijack user accounts. The result can be a loss of data, financial fraud and in some cases, it can even put the entire company at risk.
08

Security logging and monitoring failures

If software security isn’t properly monitored, it can be difficult to determine if an attack has occurred or what steps need to be taken to mitigate it. This can lead to increased damage and longer recovery times in the event of a security breach
09

Server-side request forgery

Server-side request forgery (SSRF) flaws occur when an application or service can exploit a particular protocol and send unauthorized requests to internal or external servers. This can be used to access sensitive data or gain control of the server itself.

What can you do right now to make your code more secure

Your software is one of your company’s most valuable assets. Make sure you’re protecting it by following these software security best practices:

— Educate developers on best practices for writing code securely.
— Integrate information security into the development process.
— Test code for vulnerabilities and fix them.
— Establish a security policy and communicate it clearly to all programmers.
— Harden your systems against attack.
— Stay up to date with the latest threats and defenses.
— Continuously integrate and perform security testing throughout the SDLC.

SDLC time bomb — how to prepare for data breaches

For applications to run smoothly, software security time bombs need to be defused before they explode. Software development lifecycle (SDLC) time bomb is a metaphor for the increasing complexity
of applications and the number of external dependencies that are used. As time goes on, more and more issues are identified and fixed in these dependencies. If those fixes are not applied to the code, security vulnerabilities can occur.

The best way to avoid a malicious attack in your application is by keeping it up-to-date.
If a product/application/code has not been updated for an extended period, then it could become vulnerable again and hackers will quickly take advantage if you are not constantly monitoring these kinds of risks.

On a final note

Software security should always be a top priority when it comes to development, but we understand that very few companies have time or resources to invest in proactive measures. Here at Parkside Interactive, our experts work tirelessly during the development phase as well as implement smart automation tools after launch to monitor potential vulnerabilities of any application released the market.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Get in touch with us today to discuss software security
and how we can help you protect both your software and your business.

Contact us