Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Application Security

7/9/2019
03:40 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

What the AppSec Penetration Test Found

New data drills down on the types of security misconfigurations and challenges dogging application developers.

It should come as no surprise that misconfigured security by far remains the most common flaw found in applications today with the wave of exposed Amazon Web Services S3 buckets, HTTPS pages, and other high-profile mistakes exposed publicly over the past year. But new data gathered from real-world appsec penetration tests exposes just what types of configuration mistakes organizations are making that expose their data.

Pen-test-as-a-service firm Cobalt found in nearly 1,000 pen tests using its platform in 2018 that 60% of all security misconfigurations are mistakes with security headers and application settings. Security misconfiguration basically is where an app or setting doesn't enforce security controls, according to Cobalt, which has seen misconfiguration as the No. 1 vulnerability for the past three years of its pen testing. Misconfiguration mistakes can include insecure default configurations, exposed S3 buckets, error messages that include sensitive information, and not keeping systems or software and development frameworks updated.

As obvious as properly setting security-headers sounds — ensuring the entire site is HTTPS and doesn't revert to HTTP, for example — it isn't always as easy for organizations to get it right. "These things are often an afterthought. Folks continue to be focused on getting their code completed, done, and released," says Caroline Wong, chief security strategist at Cobalt, which will release its appsec pen-testing report this week. "It's pretty easy to make mistakes."

Ensuring that all Web connections use HTTPS, for example, can be tricky. "There are security features in [platforms] that take these [potential] mistakes out of the hands of developers, but developers still have to use them and include them," she says.

Cobalt found that 30.1% of security misconfigurations were in security headers; 28.5% in application settings; 12.7% in encryption settings; 11.5% in server configuration; 9.6% in mobile settings; 4.9% in cloud settings; and 2.9% due to an improper security control. But the highest-risk mistakes, according to the pen-test report, are server configuration — such as unprotected file shares and unpatched operating systems — and application settings such as error messages that reveal sensitive information and software version disclosure.

Joe Sechman, vice president of Cobalt Core Labs, says security misconfiguration won't be solved overnight, especially with the arrival of Internet of Things devices. "The grim observation is we don't see misconfigurations magically turned around and fixed overnight," he says. "I'll bet it's going to be a little worse in ... IoT devices ... with the rush to market [new] features.

But the good news, he says, is that progress is actually being made on the application side in general. "Be informed before you do pen testing," he advises.

Cobalt also surveyed 150 security, DevOps, and other related professionals across various industries including cloud, retail, and finance, about their secure development practices and pen-testing strategies. Some 92% of those surveyed employ Agile/DevOps, and 20%, waterfall development methods. More than half write their own software, and 26% work with third parties to develop apps.

Cobalt's Wong says the main nugget from the survey, which is part of the overall pen-test report, is that while most of the organizations want to conduct more appsec pen testing, the cost is prohibitive. Half of the organizations say it's too expensive to perform pen tests more regularly than they currently do.

Some 80% say they pen test their apps because it improves their security; 60% because it's part of their development life cycle; 57% because customers request it; 56% to prove security issues were fixed; 54% for regulatory compliance for customers; and 36% for risk assessment for third-party vendors.

Nearly half of the organizations say they pen test some 67% to 100% of their applications; that was the case of just 24% of organizations in last year's survey by Cobalt.

Budget-wise, 60% say pen testing is a high priority and 2% say it's a low priority, according to the new report.

Related Content:

 

Black Hat USA returns to Las Vegas with hands-on technical Trainings, cutting-edge Briefings, Arsenal open-source tool demonstrations, top-tier security solutions, and service providers in the Business Hall. Click for information on the conference and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Cyberattacks Are Tailored to Employees ... Why Isn't Security Training?
Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian,  6/17/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Powerful Cybersecurity Skills the Energy Sector Needs Most
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer,  6/22/2021
News
Microsoft Disrupts Large-Scale BEC Campaign Across Web Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/15/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-32716
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
Shopware is an open source eCommerce platform. In versions prior to 6.4.1.1 the admin api has exposed some internal hidden fields when an association has been loaded with a to many reference. Users are recommend to update to version 6.4.1.1. You can get the update to 6.4.1.1 regularly via the Auto-U...
CVE-2021-32717
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
Shopware is an open source eCommerce platform. In versions prior to 6.4.1.1 private files publicly accessible with Cloud Storage providers when the hashed URL is known. Users are recommend to first change their configuration to set the correct visibility according to the documentation. The visibilit...
CVE-2021-32712
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
Shopware is an open source eCommerce platform. Versions prior to 5.6.10 are vulnerable to system information leakage in error handling. Users are recommend to update to version 5.6.10. You can get the update to 5.6.10 regularly via the Auto-Updater or directly via the download overview.
CVE-2021-32713
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
Shopware is an open source eCommerce platform. Versions prior to 5.6.10 suffer from an authenticated stored XSS in administration vulnerability. Users are recommend to update to the version 5.6.10. You can get the update to 5.6.10 regularly via the Auto-Updater or directly via the download overview.
CVE-2021-32710
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-24
Shopware is an open source eCommerce platform. Potential session hijacking of store customers in versions below 6.3.5.2. We recommend to update to the current version 6.3.5.2. You can get the update to 6.3.5.2 regularly via the Auto-Updater or directly via the download overview. For older versions o...