Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Application Security
Online security is an ever-evolving process. As businesses and experts invent new ways to protect vulnerable data, cybercriminals increasingly find ways around them. Companies need to be alert to the latest web app security to prevent falling victim to a cyberattack.
Here is what you need to know about application security (App Security), including what it is and key ways to protect your app, customers, and business from a cyberattack.
Why Application Security Matters
Companies of all sizes are more dependent on their technology than ever to run their businesses. Yet, cybersecurity is under more threat than in years past. From escalation of cybersecurity threats related to current events such as the Russia-Ukraine war to breaches at some of the largest (and most secure) corporations, no one can afford to ignore the security of their applications.
Many companies expect that their web developer will create a completely secure site impervious to dangers. However, this is a myth, as no app is safe on its own. Developers concentrate on optimizing, efficiency, and intuitive navigation within your app, and they often do not have the training of a cybersecurity expert. Online attackers are searching for flaws and lapses in security policies. They often use website vulnerability scanners to quickly and easily identify weaknesses in applications to exploit.
This mistake is making most organizations vulnerable to cybercriminals. In fact, one recent study found that 50 percent of web applications were vulnerable to an attack in 2021.
These vulnerabilities are costing businesses, too: companies in 2021 lost about $1,797,945 each minute to cybercrime. And small businesses are not exempt from this statistic. One survey of more than 6,000 professionals in the United States and across Europe found that the average cost of a cyber-attack on a small business is over $25,000.
These numbers are only expected to grow. 2021 had 50 percent more cyber-attacks each week than 2020. Some sectors were up by almost 75 percent.
Application security is critical to implementing the techniques and strategies that secure web browsers and applications. These strategies ensure that a company’s digital assets, whether mobile applications, websites, payment systems, or more, are secure against digital threats.
Without an effective strategy, companies of all sizes risk being attacked.
Toyota and Microsoft Fall to Cyberattacks
Even some of the largest companies with robust security measures have fallen victim to malicious actors in the past year. A couple of the most recent include Toyota and Microsoft.
Toyota was forced to close its Japanese production line due to a system failure resulting from a cyberattack. They traced the attack back to their supplier of air conditioning systems, which kept the servers from communicating with Toyota.
This shutdown had a significant impact on an already-strained car shortage. It affected the production of approximately 13,000 vehicles, which is about 5 percent of their monthly output.
Even one of the most secure companies, Microsoft, is not immune to an attack. On March 20, 2022, a hacker group Lapsus$ posted a screenshot that indicated they breached Microsoft. Two days later, Microsoft confirmed that the attacks had occurred and that they stopped the attack before any customer data was compromised.
Microsoft's statement confirming the attack provided details about the tactics the group uses, which indicates they have been aware and studying Lapsus$ for some time.
5 Keys to App Security
You don’t have to fall victim to cyberattacks. Here are some ways to improve your app security:
Secure Your NAS device by updating QNAP
Many companies invest in NAS because it gives them a greater layer of data protection. However, in the past year, QNAP users have had additional vulnerabilities. In August of 2021, a security research firm identifiedransomware targeting QNAP NAS devices. In January of 2022, they identified a newer type of ransomware called DeadBolt. Cybrella also uncovered serious security flaws in a popular NAS platform.
As a result, QNAP issued a statement directing NAS users on how to secure their devices. They strongly encourage updating QTS to the latest version to avoid a potential breach. If you’re using older versions of QTS, you could be open to attack. Ensure that your software is updated often and the latest available version.
Even the most conscientious NAS user occasionally misses the latest security patches and updates. That is why it's critical to sign up for security alerts and use best practices for passwords to avoid vulnerability.
Improve Your API Security
Application Programming Interface (or API) is fundamental to modern software because it allows software applications to communicate with each other. API security is how companies protect their APIs from attacks. However, APIs are becoming the top target for attackers because they are so common and provide access to sensitive data.
As a result, API security is one of the most fundamental aspects of modern web application security. Companies need to regularly test their APIs to ensure there is no vulnerability and address them with security best practices.
Understand and Follow Standard Compliance
Compliance with security standards is not the same as security, but it provides a crucial baseline for ensuring your app is secure. Application security is not something that can just be added on: it needs to be foundational to the process and enforced throughout the development process. Standards such as the OWASP Top 10 that list the most significant web app security risks are critical for offering best practice guidelines for secure app development.
It's essential to keep updated on these standards as they can change. For example, Broken Access Control is the top risk in the OWASP Top 10 2021 list, whereas it was fifth in 2017.
Test for Vulnerabilities
If your company relies heavily on a web app you’ve developed, uncovering and fixing vulnerabilities before bad actors do is critical. Penetration testing, also called pen testing, is essential to do that. It simulates a cyber-attack either internally or externally to see if there are weaknesses in your system.
here are specific pen testing methodologies that can help guide your process, including:
· PCI DSS
Put Security Measures in Your Software Development Life Cycle
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a design framework to produce software that meets or exceeds customer expectations. It seeks to create the highest quality software at the lowest cost in the fastest time possible.
Security needs to be built into your SDLC process to avoid critical vulnerabilities. While it is a business-savvy process with a worthy goal, it can potentially leave the software open to vulnerabilities. However, you can create a secure SDLC by integrating security testing and safe processes throughout development. For example, you could perform an architecture risk analysis while in the design phase and write security requirements along with your functional requirements.
Secure Your Web Application Against Bad Actors
Web security has never been more critical or vulnerable. Companies of all sizes increasingly rely on them for business, giving hackers more sensitive data and an incentive to attack.
The best way to prevent a web application attack from hijacking your system is by getting the help of an experienced application security penetration tester. However, that doesn't mean that you necessarily need to hire more workers or create your cybersecurity team. Outsourcing your cybersecurity provides peace of mind and expertise in a customized, scalable solution.
To find how Cybrella can help you build your application security to prevent attacks, reach out to one of our experts today!
 Dickler, J. (2022) Cybersecurity attacks surge as Ukraine-Russia war rages on. Here is how to protect yourself. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/15/how-to-protect-yourself-from-cyberattack-during-ukraine-russia-war.html
 VentureBeat. 2022. Report: 50% of all web applications were vulnerable to attacks in 2021. Retrieved from https://venturebeat.com/2022/02/21/report-50-of-all-web-applications-were-vulnerable-to-attacks-in-2021/
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 Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center. 22 March 2022. DEV-0537 criminal actor targeting organizations for data exfiltration destruction. Retrieved from https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2022/03/22/dev-0537-criminal-actor-targeting-organizations-for-data-exfiltration-and-destruction/
 Nigam, R., Zhang, H., et al. 10 August 2021. New eCh0raix ransomware variant targets QNAP Synology network-attached storage devices. Palo Alto Networks. Retrieved from https://unit42.paloaltonetworks.com/ech0raix-ransomware-soho/
 Ramon, Y. 26 May 2021. Cybrella discovers serious security flaw in leading NAS system. Cybrella. Retrieved from https://www.cybrella.io/post/cybrella-discovers-serious-security-flaw-in-leading-nas-system
 QNAP. 26 January 2022. Take immediate actions to stop your NAS from exposing to the internet, and update QTS to the latest available version. Fight against ransomware together. Retrieved from https://www.qnap.com/en/security-news/2022/take-immediate-actions-to-stop-your-nas-from-exposing-to-the-internet-and-update-qts-to-the-latest-available-version-fight-against-ransomware-together
 OWASP Top 10. OWASP. Retrieved from https://owasp.org/www-project-top-ten/
 Why Pen Testing is Vital to your Company’s Cybersecurity. Cybrella. Retrieved from https://www.cybrella.io/post/why-pen-testing-is-vital-to-your-companys-cybersecurity