Security is too often an afterthought in the software development process. It’s easy to understand why: Application and software developers are tasked with getting rid of bugs and adding in new features in updates that must meet a grueling release schedule. 

Asking to include security testing before an update is deployed can bring up problems needing to be fixed. In an already tight timeline, that creates tension between developers and the security team. 

If you’re using traditional pentesting methods, the delays and disruption are too great to burden the development team, who are likely working a continuous integration and continuous delivery process (CI/CD). Or if you’re using an automatic scanner to detect potential vulnerabilities, you’re receiving a long list of low-level vulns that obscures the most critical issues to address first. 

Instead, continuous pentesting, or even scanning for a particular CVE, can harmonize development and security teams. And it’s increasingly important. A shocking 85% of commercial apps contain at least one critical vulnerability, according to a 2021 report, while 100% use open-source software, such as the now infamous Log4j. That’s not to knock on open-source software, but rather to say that a critical vulnerability can pop up at any time and it’s more likely to happen than not. 

If a critical vulnerability is found–or worse, exploited–the potential fines or settlement from a data breach could be astronomical. In the latest data breach settlement, T-Mobile agreed to pay $350 million to customers in a class action lawsuit and invest additional $150 million in their data security operations.

This is why many companies are hiring for development security operations (DevSecOps). The people in these roles work in concert with the development team to build a secure software development process into the existing deployment schedule. But with 700,000 infosec positions sitting open in the United States, it might be hard to find the right candidate. 

If you want to improve the security of your software and app development, here are some tips from Synack customers: 

  • Highlight only the most critical vulns to the dev team. The development team has time only to address what’s most important. Sorting through an endless list of vulns that might never be exploited won’t work. Synack delivers vulnerabilities that matter by incentivizing our researchers to focus on finding severe vulnerabilities.
  • Don’t shame, celebrate. Mistakes are inevitable. Instead of shaming or blaming the development team for a security flaw, cheer on the wins. Finding and fixing vulnerabilities before an update is released is a cause for celebration. Working together to protect the company’s reputation and your customers’ data is the shared goal. 
  • Embrace the pace. CI/CD isn’t going away and the key to deploying more secure apps and software is to find ways to work with developers. When vulns are found to be fixed, document the process for next time. And if there’s enough time, try testing for specific, relevant CVEs. Synack Red Team (SRT) members document their path to finding and exploiting vulnerabilities and can verify patches were implemented successfully. SRT security researchers can also test as narrow or broad a scope as you’d like with Synack’s testing offerings and catalog of specific checks, such as CVE and zero day checks.

Security is a vital component to all companies’ IT infrastructure, but it can’t stand in the way of the business. For more information about how Synack can help you integrate security checkpoints in your dev process, request a demo.

Posted by Charlie