What to look for while choosing application security companies

What to look for while choosing application security companies

No matter what you are trying to build – house or software – you’ve got to do it the right way to succeed. But what if you just can’t see the obstacles?
Code may not be seen by users but it has great value as one mistake may ruin the work of the entire application. For instance, there is a house with defective plumbing and wiring inside the walls. Would it be safe for occupants to stay in such a house? No. Drawing a parallel, the code with limitations can lead to user’s privacy violation and put physical safety in danger.

14% businesses prepared for cyberattacks


Every company seeks to save its money and time. Statistics claim that only 14% of businesses are prepared for cyberattacks to defend themselves. And not to appear in the rest 86%, here comes web app security protection. This would be essential if you want to save your company’s money and precious time. On average, a cyberthreat may cost each business $200.000 no matter if it’s a big company or a small firm. Moreover, it could be a threat not only to your corporate data but also your client’s private data as they have the right to turn to the court (GDPR). At this point, the question will no longer be in thousands, but in millions in cash. But we are here not to scare you but help to prevent these losses. It’s important not to miss out on any of the smallest details.


What are the main threats and how to prevent them?

  • Injection flaws. Injection vulnerabilities are those flaws that allow cyber attackers to inject malicious code in another system (especially to an interpreter) using an application. They emerge from a traditional inability to filter untrusted inputs. Every unknown source accepted by your program must be screened, ideally according to a whitelist. The excellent thing is that “the simple way” of defending against injection is a matter of correct data filtering and checking the untrusted inputs. But the bad news is that it’s essential to correctly sort all inputs.
  • Broken Authentication. A collection of multiple problems that might occur during broken authentication, but they don’t all stem from the same root cause. Using a software framework is the easiest way to prevent this web security vulnerability.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS). This is a relatively common (basically a unique case of the common mistake #1) input sanitization flaw. An intruder sends JavaScript tags to your web application for feedback. When this information is provided to the unauthenticated user, it will be executed by the user’s browser. There is an obvious answer for web security: don’t return HTML tags to the user. The solution is typically transforming all HTML entities
  • Insecure Direct Object References. Accidents of similarly trusting user input happen all the time triggering the security vulnerability. A primary key reference means that an internal object is revealed to the user, such as a file or database key. The issue with this is that this reference can be given by the attacker and if permission is either not followed or is broken, the attacker can access or do things from which they should be exempt. Implement user authorization and whitelist the options correctly and regularly.
  • Insecure Direct Object References. This is clearly a lack of authorization. This means that proper authorization has not been implemented when a feature is called on the server. Approval must always be performed from the server-side. Yes, always. Severe issues would not arise from any exceptions or vulnerabilities.

Main threats


Web app security assessment

Expert analysis indicates that there are low- to high-risk security vulnerabilities in up to 90% of web applications. In reality, in every single application reviewed, the same study showed flaws of some kind

Unlike operating systems, databases, and software applications usually used on enterprise networks, web apps are mostly developed in-house by enterprises with little to no background in the development of commercial software. This is hardly unusual. Far too often, developers see protection only as an afterthought or not at all.

In CSA, our experts are actively taking part in helping you to find the best web app security vendors who will identify the most serious vulnerabilities in web applications.

What does a web app security assessment usually include?

  • Define the type of analysis (black box, white box, or a combination of both);
  • Run automated and manual audits and audits of specific vulnerability groups;
  • Identify the effect of discovered vulnerabilities;
  • Develop situations that a real hacker might use and formulate and implement simulated threats;
  • Try by a set of planned attacks to target the most important vulnerabilities;
  • Audit web application logs to confirm if a suspected problem exists and if so, define the particular exploited flaws;
  • Evaluating the results and giving suggestions to fix the discovered vulnerabilities.

The key outcome of our testing is a report featuring:

  • The methodology of testing;
  • Explanations for all found flaws;
  • Probable success/impact of attacking the most serious security flaws by hackers;
  • Recommendations to fix the vulnerabilities found, even those that may already have contributed to a reported incident.

As well as for instructions on web application firewall security policies and functionality, the picked by CSA experts can also include demo application code to demonstrate how the identified vulnerabilities could be extracted.

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How to choose an application security vendor

And from all this, it follows: who will perform these operations? This task can be assigned to several vendors to perform work using different tools. You can also select only one universal vendor for several tools. But which option is right for you?

There is no perfect option. Why so? Neither method is flawless. Applying different providers may enable organizations from each segment to implement advanced software, but the disadvantage is that they mostly demand studying different systems, including using multiple desktops to handle enterprise-wide testing and application risk. The multiple approaches must also be incorporated into the SDLC.

In most scenarios, within a single business platform and reporting framework, an AST set that involves static analysis, dynamic analysis, SCA, and IAST combines them all.

The potential drawback of that alternative is that in one technology, but missing in another, AST packages may be especially effective.

Here we present some tips on how to choose a web app security vendor:

  • Threat Simulating. You must be sure that the vendor you have chosen will provide this service. Threat modeling is one of the most neglected forms of security assessment. In fact, a threat model is an ‘Attack Scenario’ that allows security testers to interpret the program under review in the same light as the hackers. In order to create creative and efficient test cases that represent the way attackers view the program, security testers use threat modeling as a design analytical method.
  • Testing Methodology. Evaluating the testing methodology employed by the vendor is significant. To determine the effectiveness of an application security test, testing techniques such as OSSTMM and PTES are necessary and product companies should consider them when assessing vendors. Bear in mind, too, that these specifications are unique to application protection and should not be mistaken for compliance.
  • Reporting & Analysis. These are essential things when you are choosing vendors and it‘s not worth neglecting. Because of inadequate reporting, this is one of the main reasons why people dislike security testing. Instead of information on which tab, criteria, and exact steps on how to recreate the vulnerability, when reports provide a high-level explanation of the vulnerabilities, developers spend hours and hours attempting to find the weakness in the codebase.


How can CSA help?

For CSA, security always stands in the first place no matter what. We are ready to provide you with the top application security vendors and we will free you from the hassle of choosing among an immense variety of web application cybersecurity vendors. If you have questions, let’s get in touch!

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