Experienced cybercriminals can gain control of the digital elements of your business merely by accessing and altering its code. With more companies turning to digital features and processes, hackers have been attempting more attacks by changing your code.
There are ways for organizations to prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to their code, and one of them is to apply secure coding practices.
This post covers what secure coding is, the types of risks that your code could be vulnerable to, and methods you can deploy to secure your company’s code.
Secure Coding Explained
Secure coding is a system that organizations use to write their code for software in a way that prevents hackers from gaining access to it. This is incredibly important in today’s landscape due to how software developers are coming under more pressure to deliver products faster.
This can lead to poor practices that leave code vulnerable to attacks. Therefore, it’s best to implement secure coding practices as a standard part of the code writing process. This helps to keep code secure at every stage of its development process.
Many organizations are unaware of how many risks their code is exposed to which makes secure coding more difficult. One of the first elements to consider when secure coding is knowing the types of vulnerabilities that your company’s software is exposed to.
There’s a range of common security vulnerabilities that businesses should be aware of. Once you have a better understanding of how hackers gain entry to your systems, you can feel more confident about how and why to implement secure coding.
Open Source Software
Using open-source software can be incredibly useful for helping companies create code quickly. However, it also comes with a higher risk of your software being more vulnerable to attacks.
Open-source software is open for the public to use which means that its vulnerabilities are also easily available to find. Cybercriminals can be lurking among open-source software forums and websites to gain information about the vulnerabilities.
This provides them with an opportunity to infiltrate these vulnerabilities when carrying out cyber attacks. This is especially since open source software doesn’t always prioritize secure coding which leaves software being more vulnerable.
Code injection occurs when cyber criminals send a specific code into an application to alter the way that it functions. This can provide them with access to the database of a website which can include all kinds of sensitive information.
Credit card details, usernames, passwords, contact information, and email addresses are all the types of sensitive information that hackers can gain access to through code injection.
Company’s that are missing secure coding make it easier for hackers to inject code into web applications and steal sensitive data.
Cross-site scripting is a heavily targeted vulnerability that hackers attempt to exploit. It involves someone injecting a script with malicious content into web applications.
Hackers render these scripts within the browser which makes it difficult for organizations to detect that they have malicious content as it doesn’t look foreign.
Once hackers have completed their cross-site scripting attack, they’re able to gain access to information that is stored within the browser history. As a result, they can have total access to the information stored on the end user’s browser.
Buffer overflow involves developers not creating enough memory for a program to run smoothly. This leads to data overflowing the system where they can be left more exposed to cybercriminals.
Once hackers gain access to parts of the sensitive information that has been overflown, they can use it to rewrite the code and give themselves an entry point to the rest of the programs.
Secure Coding Practices
Now that you know a little more about what some of the best secure coding practices have to offer, you can take a look through the section below. It includes more information about some of the best secure coding practices that you can start implementing.
OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) provides free resources for testing applications. They’re a non-profit organization that helps organizations keep up to date with the latest testing procedures.
You can find updated testing guides to help find and prevent new security vulnerabilities that may have gone unseen.
Input validation helps to ensure that all the data being sent via web applications are thoroughly checked. This process enables developers to become aware of code injection and cross-site scripting attacks.
Blacklisted and whitelisted are the two types of input validation. Blacklisted validation involves inputs that come from a blacklist being prevented from passing validation checks.
Whitelisted validation only allows for data that developers are anticipating to come through the web application. Generally speaking, whitelisted validation checks are more reliable when it comes to securing code.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) involves developers running finished software through pretend cyber attacks. This provides developers with a better idea about how secure their software is before they deploy it.
Practising DAST gives you a clear indication of weak areas that hackers are likely to target if the app is deployed. The big advantage of this type of testing is that it provides you with scenarios that can only be exposed once the software is being used.
It’s a testing procedure that’s becoming integrated as a standard part of the development life cycle due to how it effectively highlights potential vulnerabilities that can be fixed before going live.
Ensuring that your company’s code is secure sometimes isn’t enough to prevent hackers from gaining access to your system. If the vendors that you’re using aren’t as tight with their security as you are, it can lead to breaches through third-party elements.
Therefore, it’s best to establish a layer of protection between the data within your company and the vendors that you’re using.
It’s also a good idea to monitor your vendors for security risks. This can help you stay one step ahead by identifying vulnerabilities from vendors so that they can be fixed before the breaches affect your business.
Cybercriminals are continuously coming up with new ways to infiltrate businesses and steal data. Therefore, you must take security just as seriously as development.
Secure coding practices can be implemented throughout every stage of a development cycle. Therefore, it can help to mitigate a lot of vulnerabilities from being exploited and causing damage to your company.
Be sure to integrate the secure coding practices mentioned in this post to keep your data secured and prevent hackers from carrying out cyber attacks.