How The Cloud Helps Ensure Security At The Code Level

How The Cloud Helps Ensure Security At The Code Level

Minor code flaws can become fatal when a cyber attack looms over the project. We’ll tell you what threats applications often face, how to secure them, and how the cloud can help.

Secure Code: Key Principles

The best strategy is to plan the application, taking into account all possible errors and threats to minimize the likelihood of their occurrence during the productive operation of the application. It is essential to adhere to the basic principles of secure development, which, for example, are recommended by OWASP:

1. No security guarantee: No one can give a 100% guarantee of security, but risks can be minimized – for this, protection mechanisms can be introduced, and losses from potential hacking can be minimized. This will reduce the risks of hacking from a practical point of view – no one wants to spend enormous resources on hacking for little gain.

2. Defense in depth: This principle comes from the previous one – you can never guarantee one hundred percent safety or the absence of blind spots, so you need to “secure” the safety contours and use more than one tool for protection, and for susceptible elements, introduce connectors – this will allow you to avoid exchanging data with them directly.

3. Fail safe: The essence of the principle is that even in an attack on a service or software, users can access it wholly or partially. There are many options to ensure fault safety: microservices, duplicating essential components, and fault tolerance of modules with user data. For example, using Kubernetes provides the opportunity to use deployments that automatically restart in case of failures and allow you to maintain stable operations.

4. Minimization of powers (Least privilege): It is necessary to provide the least privileges—the component should only have access to those essential rights for its correct functioning. If, for example, a test requires extended permissions, do not forget to remove them in production.

5. Separation of duties: Distribute functionality and rights between application components – microservices can also help.

6. Simplification of security mechanisms (Economy of mechanism): Try to find a balance between security systems: there may be so many of them that they begin to react to each other. In addition, many measures can become a field for hackers to maneuver, and their management can be too time-consuming and unreasonably expensive.

7. Complete mediation: Carefully ensure that every chain and process is filtered and authorized at the backend level.

8. Public information about architecture (Open design): The architecture of any service should be closed, but some of the data can still be publicly available. For example, you can publicly post API contracts but keep the implementation private from the public.

9. Minimization of standard processes (Least common mechanism): If your systems have components accessed by users with different levels of permissions, try to reduce the reuse of components. In addition, this eliminates the risks if attackers hack a separate module: the lower its value, the less the entire system will suffer.

10. Psychological acceptability: When designing, you should always remember the end users. For example, from a security point of view, many CAPTCHAs can be good tools, but they can be highly inconvenient from a user’s point of view. Therefore, to prevent users from circumvention, test the tool before implementing it.

11. The principle of the weakest point (Weakest link): Always test your code to find the bottleneck of your security system – after all, its level is limited by the lowest component.

12. Leveraging existing components: It would be more practical to implement ready-made components and security libraries and adapt them – at least because the work with them has already been debugged and the serviceability has been verified.

Recommended Tools For Secure Development

The OWASP DevSecOps Guideline highlights several solutions for writing secure code:

  1. Credentials leakage scanning (SDLC).
  2. Static application security testing (SAST).
  3. Software component / Composition analysis (SCA).
  4. Interactive application security testing (IAST).
  5. Dynamic application security testing (DAST).
  6. IaC scanning.
  7. Infrastructure scanning.
  8. Compliance check.

Particular attention should be paid to the first three:

Searching for secrets in code (Credentials leakage scanning) – carrying out such an analysis is aimed at identifying secrets in the code, due to which the security of user data may be at risk or lead to other consequences. They can be found in application code, configuration files, etc.

Static application security testing helps identify weaknesses before it is launched. As part of this analysis, they look for SQL injections, XSS vulnerabilities, and so on and then generate a report. All this helps to find errors at the development stage before full use of the software begins.

Analysis of software components for vulnerabilities (Software component / Composition analysis)

This analysis includes scanning libraries, frameworks, and other elements so that if a problem occurs, developers can replace them, increasing the security level of the entire system.

Also Read: Collaboration Between Hackers Increases The Effectiveness Of Attacks


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