Everything You Need to Know About Software Vulnerabilities

Mitigating software vulnerabilities is crucial for your business continuity. Breaches and attacks by malicious agents can cost companies thousands or even millions of dollars on average, which could greatly impact business operations, as well as its finances. 

Software vulnerabilities must be nipped at the bud before it causes damning damages. To effectively do this, you must first understand what these vulnerabilities are, how they come to be, and how to successfully address and prevent them.

What is a Software Vulnerability?

In a nutshell, software vulnerabilities are flaws that exist in a code and are often used by malicious agents to get unauthorized access to networks, steal valuable and sensitive data, and compromise company systems.

How Vulnerabilities Get into Software

The truth of the matter is, application vulnerabilities are a top concern for security professionals, but it’s not getting prioritized by businesses and developers. It’s often just an afterthought once a breach or attack has already taken place and the network has already been compromised. 

Insufficient attention to identifying and preventing software vulnerabilities is a result of numerous things, including inadequate comprehension of application security. Hence, companies need to have a clear understanding of the main sources of vulnerabilities to make sure they’re better prepared to create an effective mitigation strategy.

Insecure Coding Executions

Especially now because of the pandemic, countless companies rely on software for day-to-day internal operations as well as their main source of innovation for external products and solutions. Oftentimes, businesses put an immeasurable amount of responsibility and pressure to developers to build functional software in the shortest possible time. 

Security is usually jeopardized because the focus is primarily on speed and functionality during the development process. This fact is supported by a study published by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2, 30 percent of companies never scan for vulnerabilities during code development.

Since they’re in charge of creating the code, developers usually take the majority of the blame when security vulnerabilities cause issues in an organization. Of course, developers must ensure that the code they create is safe and doesn’t have flaws, but being obligated to quickly create usable and unique code can cause them to be more negligent on secure coding best practices. They also tend to overlook the importance of security assessments altogether to meet their deadlines.

Ever-Changing Threat Landscape

Numerous software is developed without thinking about how the threat landscape constantly changes. During the early phases of the development process, despite following best practices and using strong cryptographic algorithms, developers will realize that once the software is complete, the algorithm is already broken. 

Malicious agents are highly motivated to find weaknesses in a company’s network. This causes them to become more innovative in uncovering ways to find even the smallest flaws to infiltrate applications quicker than developers are producing methods to keep them safe.

Reuse of Vulnerable Components and Code

Most third-party and open source components do not undergo the same strict security assessment as custom-developed software. This is an issue that industry organizations like OWASP, PCI, and FS-ISAC are attempting to fix by recommending clear policies and control. 

Enterprises that utilize many code repositories will find it troublesome to specifically define every software wherein a jeopardized component is applied. This puts countless web and mobile applications at risk, especially when new vulnerabilities are publicized. 

It’s a common occurrence for developers to take code from open source libraries rather than to build specific codes from scratch. So even if there are weaknesses found in the code, they are not as burdened by it.

Top Software Vulnerabilities

Injection Flaws

Injection flaws allow an attacker to compromise systems by transmitting harmful code from one application. It’s one of the most common types of software vulnerabilities out there. These threats consist of different factors such as the use of third-party programs via shell commands, calls to the operating system, and SQL injection.

Unprotected input fields due to missing input filters during development are compromised by these attacks. 

Broken Authentication

By pretending to be an authorized user, broken authentication allows malicious agents to access systems, creating critical security weaknesses. Authentication flaws jeopardize a company’s sensitive data, network files, and operational systems.

Sensitive Data Exposure

When a company’s database is poorly secured, businesses endanger their sensitive data. Attackers who have a hold of an unencrypted database can easily exploit the exposed information. Taking advantage of this flaw is easy for hackers, especially since the system lacks a layer of protection.

Broken Access Control

Access control is a policy put in place to define and limit user functions. Therefore when it’s broken, it can bring about data tampering, information leaks, system interference, and more.

Security Misconfiguration

In a nutshell, security misconfiguration is the inefficient implementation of security controls for software. These flaws are regarded as an easy target for attackers since they’re quick to detect and exploit, which can cause a great deal of damage, such as data leakage for businesses.

Cross-Site Scripting

Cross-site scripting flaws are exploited by hackers to administer malicious scripts in a targeted application. For an app that holds sensitive data, the consequences are more critical. Attackers utilize XSS to steal a user’s login information, perform unauthorized activities, or even gain control of software.

Insecure Direct Object References

Insecure direct object references take place when an app shows a reference to an internal implementation object. This weakness allows a user to get the information of other users and serves as a vital issue in application security, especially since a lot of industries are using apps to collect user’s data, such as medical and banking apps.

Cross-Site Request Forgery

Cross-site request forgery is a threat that compels a user to carry out malicious actions on an application in which they are authorized. For normal-level users, the victim can be prompted to perform state-changing requests like changes in login credentials, funds transfer, and more. However, if admin users are compromised, this puts the entire application in jeopardy.

Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

When you use unverified code from untrusted sources, you risk being vulnerable to numerous software flaws. Components that have vulnerabilities allow malicious agents to breach and compromise your existing network. 

Instead of taking the risk, it’s a wiser decision to utilize third-party software that has Code Signing  so you can be assured that the component is authentic, trustworthy, and safe.

Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

One of the main reasons businesses have difficulties in efficiently managing security breaches is insufficient logging and monitoring. Your system then becomes open to tampering, extortion, or destruction.

Unfortunately, improper logging and monitoring give attackers more time to compromise your data and system as much as they want since you will have difficulties tracing the breaches. Hence, addressing the malicious activities would take even more time.

Benefits of choosing a trusted software development vendor

Innovative and secure software development is vital for a company’s success. That’s why hiring a trusted and experienced software development vendor is a must.

If you’re still wondering if outsourcing software development is the best choice for you, these reasons might help you conclude.

Efficiency

An expert software development vendor will improve your company’s efficiency by helping you uncover business needs, communicate them to the development team, guarantee functional and secure code, and also train your employees to use and maintain the new program. 

Cost Savings

It’s often assumed that hiring third-party vendors are more costly compared to hiring an in-house development team. However, outsourcing your development project is a more efficient and financially sound choice since you no longer have to hire and train an entire team to create a solution.

Delegating this duty to a seasoned partner will save you valuable resources, which you can allocate for business growth.

Security

Established custom software development vendors are experts in their field, especially with system security. They are knowledgeable about the existing dangers in the industry and how to mitigate them. 

Partnering with the right development firm means you’ll have access to the best talent pool, with pros that would turn your business and security requirements into a viable and reliable product.

Expertise

Once you partner with a trusted software development vendor, they can have a better understanding of your business and steer you in the right direction that would give your company an advantage in the industry.

Your partner can propose important features for your software, how to safely collect and store data, the best platform to build on, and more. Open communication throughout the partnership is also essential to establish trust and confidence.

Support

From new user training to database maintenance and security assessment, your software provider will support you, so your organization can get the most out of your new product. 

Software vulnerabilities are not easy to deal with. However, being well-informed, addressing issues early, and facing attacks head-on, especially with the help of experts, guarantees effective mitigation of weaknesses, ensuring the safety and success of your business.