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12/3/2010
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IBM Bolsters Secure Development Tools

Rational AppScan improvements meant to help developers code more secure applications and sidestep web-based vulnerabilities.

How Firesheep Can Hijack Web Sessions
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Slideshow: How Firesheep Can Hijack Web Sessions

IBM on Friday announced the release of new tools aimed at helping developers code more secure applications.

"As vulnerabilities become more prevalent, testing across the entire development lifecycle without having to invest in additional development resources and skills is significant for the bottom line," said Steve Robinson, the general manager of IBM security solutions, in a statement.

Accordingly, IBM said it's enhanced its Rational AppScan product line to make it easier for developers to spot and analyze security vulnerabilities in their code. In particular, Rational AppScan Enterprise Edition now provides a consolidated view of static and dynamic code analysis. This scanning capability, which supports JavaScript, gives developers a better look at potential vulnerabilities, said IBM.

IBM Research also contributed new techniques to AppScan for tracing web application vulnerabilities back to their source. "As part of the new features, IBM Research provided string analysis, a software development capability that helps simplify the security testing process by automatically detecting and verifying which web application development input needs to be cleansed to remove security risks," said IBM.

According to statistics from IBM's X-Force threat analysis service, web applications now account for 55% of all known software, and the job of safeguarding code against known bugs continues to get more challenging. Indeed, IBM's researchers found that compared with 2009, the number of new threats rose by 36% in the first half of 2010.

IBM said its security offerings continue to build on its acquisitions of Watchfire in 2007 and Ounce Labs in 2009. Both organizations focused on developing tools and services for helping organizations to create more secure software.

According to Robinson, IBM security solutions is now aiming to provide "more comprehensive security governance, collaboration and risk management solutions that further protect organizations from malicious attacks."

Speaking recently by phone, he said that "we've made the decision to start to aggregate the overall security portfolio that we have," to better blend IBM's long-standing services organization, products, technology services, hardware and appliances, as well as its security acquisitions. "We have about $1 billion in revenue in this space, and we're looking at what additional problems we can tackle with this team."

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