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.

Risk

12/6/2013
04:33 PM
50%
50%

Experts Offer Advice For Developing Secure Cloud Applications

Research paper offers security advice for application developers for cloud environments

Building security into the application development process has always been a challenge. The reality of cloud computing, however, introduces new hurdles that need to be identified and overcome.

In a new paper, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and the Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code (SAFECode) joined forces to help developers navigate the sometimes troubled waters of application security. The report focuses on security considerations for platform-as-a-service (PaaS), though the authors say their advice is relevant to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) as well.

"Among all of the cloud security challenges, this report is focused on the challenges faced by software developers who are developing applications for the cloud," says Eric Baize, senior director of the product security office with EMC. "Most of the activities required to develop secure software for the cloud are identical to the fundamental security practices required for any software. However, cloud has some unique characteristics that demand some customization of these practices."

The most notable among these is multi-tenancy, Baize says. Multi-tenancy, the report explains, allows multiple consumers or tenants to maintain a presence in a cloud service provider’s environment in a manner where the computations and data of one tenant are isolated from other tenants.

Cloud providers should model all of their application's interfaces with threats to multi-tenancy in mind, such as information disclosure and privilege escalation, the report advises. In addition, providers should use a "separate schema" database design when building multi-tenant applications as opposed to adding a "TenantID" column to each table.

"APIs are the front door into any application, and it is critical that they are properly secured," the report states. "In many ways, API security for cloud applications is similar to API security for web applications hosted in data centers. Traditional application layer security risks, such as the OWASP Top 10, are still present when deploying your application to the cloud."

To secure APIs, the report recommends determining whether the APIs can be restricted so that only trusted hosts can call them and ensure that interservice communication is securely authenticated. Also, testing should be used to validate security monitoring and alerting capabilities.

The paper touches on a number of other topics as well, including the use of trusted compute pools and the challenges of dealing with authentication and identity management. The focus is on mitigating the primary threats to cloud computing: data breaches, data leakage, denial-of-service, and insecure application interfaces.

The report can be viewed as a set requirements and capabilities that PaaS should be providing to developers, says Steve Orrin, chief technologist for Intel Federal.

"To that end, organizations and their developers need to evaluate the security capabilities and services that their PaaS provides and then ensure they adopt these security capabilities and/or demand their availability from their provider," he says.

Security, Baize adds, has increasingly become an integral part of the design process.

"CSA cloud security recommendations are widely used by cloud practitioners, and SAFECode secure software development practices are increasingly part of standard software engineering processes," he says. "What this report provides is the connection between these two sets of practices by translating cloud-specific security requirements into security practices for software developers."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add Your Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Brian Prince is a freelance writer for a number of IT security-focused publications. Prior to becoming a freelance reporter, he worked at eWEEK for five years covering not only security, but also a variety of other subjects in the tech industry. Before that, he worked as a ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
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-2020-15734
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
An Origin Validation Error vulnerability in Bitdefender Safepay allows an attacker to manipulate the browser's file upload capability into accessing other files in the same directory or sub-directories. This issue affects: Bitdefender Safepay versions prior to 25.0.7.29.
CVE-2020-7924
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Usage of specific command line parameter in MongoDB Tools which was originally intended to just skip hostname checks, may result in MongoDB skipping all certificate validation. This may result in accepting invalid certificates.This issue affects: MongoDB Inc. MongoDB Database Tools 3.6 versions late...
CVE-2021-27486
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
The Fatek Automation WinProladder Versions 3.3 and prior are vulnerable to an integer underflow, which may cause an out-of-bounds write and allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2021-3465
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Further investigation showed that it was not a security issue. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-15942
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
An information disclosure vulnerability in Web Vulnerability Scan profile of Fortinet's FortiWeb version 6.2.x below 6.2.4 and version 6.3.x below 6.3.5 may allow a remote authenticated attacker to read the password used by the FortiWeb scanner to access the device defined in the scan profile.