Attacks didn’t decrease after the pandemic. On the contrary, the frequency and severity of threats make application security testing a must. Agile and DevOps environments, with their fast-paced development rhythm, Agile and DevOps environments can make it challenging for security to keep up.
Malware has been around for a long time, increasing in the last years, and protecting applications against malware intrusions have become more difficult. Regardless of your software development environment, you need to bake application security testing into the development process.
Static application security testing is a critical method that identifies and mitigates security vulnerabilities in software early in the development process. This post will explore how static application security testing can have an essential role in protecting against malware attacks.
Malware is still a preferred attack vector.
Malware is still one main problem worldwide, but the attack vectors evolve as cybercriminals change their tactics to exploit new vulnerabilities. Here are some recent malware statistics:
- Business-disrupting ransomware attacks are increasing: According to a report by Mimecast, 61% of organizations surveyed were victims of a ransomware attack that disrupted their business operations.
- IoT malware increased a 66% from 2020.
- Malware variants will be increasingly sophisticated and elusive in 2021.
Malware was also used as a form of warfare before and during the war in Ukraine.
A few hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine started, Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center alerted of a new piece of “wiper” malware directed to Ukraine’s government ministries and financial institutions, according to an article in the NY Times. The malware code aims to erase (wipe) data on the infected computers. Microsoft’s Threat Center quickly disarmed the malware, called “FoxBlade,” preventing an infrastructure disaster.
The Harvard Business Review reports the Ukrainian government called the attacks were “on a completely different level.”
These types of attacks are not new. In 2017, the “NotPetya” Russian attack disrupted Ukrainian infrastructures, such as airports, banking, and transportation.
How static application analysis is used in malware analysis?
Malware analysis is the collection of techniques and processes used to assess and determine the purpose and functionality of the malware. This process will identify the type of malware, its family, the potential severity of the attack and give insights into how to remove it.
Therefore, the first step in this process is to identify the suspicious file. Two main types of malware analysis enable security teams to examine it safely, without risking further spreading, static and dynamic.
SAST (Static Application Security Testing), also called static analysis, is a testing technology that enables security teams to analyze source code at rest and find security vulnerabilities. It is also called white-box testing.
This methodology doesn’t require a running application to examine the code, so it is implemented early in the software development cycle. Therefore, it can detect vulnerabilities at the beginning of the process, fixing them quickly and producing more robust code. Most SAST tools also provide visibility and reporting, highlighting the suspicious code and giving in-depth recommendations on fixing it.
3 Benefits of Static Application Security Testing
Static application security testing offers several advantages to protect against malware infections. The sooner you eliminate vulnerabilities in application development, the better you can reduce the risks of a malware attack. Here are the top three:
1. It helps shift security left.
Static application security testing is at the core of the Shift Left Approach. This methodology consists of testing the software extensively for security loopholes, code errors, bugs, and vulnerabilities, as early as possible in the software development cycle.
A SAST tool can scan millions of code strings in minutes, identifying critical issues that can open the door to attackers, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and others. As it doesn’t require the code to run, these tools can examine the source code for imperfections even if it is still not functional. It also eliminates the tedious task of manually reviewing the codebase for developers.
2. Empowers secure coding
Producing secure code is a golden standard for every development company, regardless of the application destination. When developers rush into production and overlook proper testing, you can produce poorly coded software which is an easy target for attackers.
The consequences of poorly coded applications can range from loss of data to ransomware or damage to software or hardware. By implementing security testing early, a SAST tool ensures the production of secure code. It helps to adhere to secure code standards and actively prevents security issues. When this tool is applied in an Agile environment, the result is a quick reduction of vulnerabilities and more code integrity.
3. Delivers accurate and fast insights
Because a SAST tool can scan millions of lines of code in a fraction of the time you can do it manually, you can use it to automate your vulnerability detection and mitigation strategy.
The SAST solution will monitor the code, constantly enhancing the efficiency of your development process. Thus, developers don’t have to remember to check on the code all the time. Additionally, the tool’s quick visibility capability and reporting enable the organization to easily track and mitigate vulnerabilities and gain analytics over the code’s weak spots.
At this point, we hope this article gave you a rounded overview of SAST and its role to prevent malware attacks. Implementing a static application security testing tool into your development pipeline will increase defenses against potential security risks.