Over half of all apps have security holes
Dodgy development practices blamed
More than half of all software applications failed to meet an acceptable level of security, according to a study based on real-world code audits by application security firm Veracode.
Around 57 per cent of applications failed to pass muster when first submitted to Veracode’s cloud-based testing service. A similar 56 per cent of finance-related applications failed first testing by Veracode’s security audit. The quality of the code used in many business-critical banking and insurance operations was simply not up to snuff.
Cross-site scripting was the most common vulnerability, accounting for 51 per cent of vulnerabilities uncovered during the testing process. Web applications developed in .NET were particularly susceptible to this class of flaw.
Cross-site scripting holes were to blame for the worms that spread on Twitter on Tuesday. In other environments they can be used in either phishing or drive-by download attacks.
Veracode said eight out of 10 web applications would fail a PCI audit, because they failed against one or other of the top 10 application security risks as defined by OWASP.
Third-party code makes up nearly 30 per cent of all applications submitted to Veracode for review, and third-party components make up a substantial proportion of internal developed applications. Applications developed by third parties had lower security quality than those developed in-house, failing to reach acceptable security standards 81 per cent of the time, according to Veracode.
One positive finding in the otherwise gloomy survey is that developers are repairing security vulnerabilities more quickly. Development teams using Veracode were able to fix problems in 16 days, on average, compared to the 30 days recorded in previous edition of the same study.
Matt Peachey, Veracode’s VP EMEA, said: "Developers continue to focus on functionality, quality, and speed of release. Security slows down The process and often gets overlooked.
"Many of the problems, such as cross-site scripting, are down to sloppy coding. This class of flaw is well known and documented as well as easy to fix but continue to very common."
Veracode's study is based on more than 2,900 applications that were put through their paces over the last 18 months through the Veracode SecurityReview cloud-based Platform. Billions of lines of scanned code from internally developed, commercial, open source and outsourced software running in large enterprises was parsed for problems using this process.
An analysis of this feature was published on Wednesday as part of Veracode's second annual State of Software Security Report. ®
"Developers continue to focus on functionality, quality, and speed of release. Security slows down The process and often gets overlooked."
Fallacy. MANAGEMENT continue to focus on this, because they don't really know anything but how to "manage" people, they push security off the agenda seeing it as un-needed in their opinion. They set the emphasis for their dev teams.
Lack of security comes down to one thing, the cost of doing it properly. Otherwise we'd have grown a culture of doing it right by now instead of sending all our requirements offshore where all the previous lessons of how it should be done weren't learned. Developers in my experience are always happy to learn new stuff and once it goes through QA and security testing, theyre happy to learn round their mistakes and rectify them before it gets to v1. That implies investment in specialist resourcing to test, and qa cycles. Both of which get thrown out as too costly by the beancounters not understanding the value.
The trail always ends up with someone at the company who wrote it skipping adequate testing and qa to save money. Then it ends up as a big spaghetti mess while a load of accountants keep trying to find different ways of asking if having a remote root exploit in firmware is really a issue until they find someone who gives them the answer they want (that itll be ok really). Quite often they've bought in a codebase from offshore to save money and don't even HAVE the expertise or a way forward to seek a fix.
Please can the tone of this article put the blame where it really lies? Developers deliver what management demand of them or they're fired, and any ultimate failure of the system must lie completely with the managers. IT done on the cheap...
@AC 23-Sep-2010 11:52 GMT
They could put the blame where it belongs, but that wouldn't help Veracode sell their software and services now would it?
Zed Attack Proxy
As always there are lies, damn lies and statistics.
But various similar studies have found that there are vulnerabilities in a significant proportion of web applications.
Fixing the root causes will not be not easy, but will involve a combination of better developer training, static source code analysis tools, automated scanners and pen testing.
One thing that I've found is that most developers consider pen testing to be a 'black art', but I believe that if you dont know how people will attack your app then you wont really understand how to defend it.
So heres a bit of self promotion :)
I've released the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP): http://code.google.com/p/zaproxy/
Its a pen test tool explicitly aimed at developers (and functional testers).
Its free, open source and cross platform.
And involvement in the development of ZAP is actively encouraged!