Dec 21, 2020
Nowadays, everyone in the software development ecosystem should be aware of the security risks that lie in unmanaged open source vulnerabilities. Most people are familiar with some security vulnerabilities that make headlines, but many people do not know that they are only a sliver of the thousands of vulnerabilities that are revealed every year.
Because the number of vulnerabilities increases every year and many are publicly disclosed, attackers have an easy shot at hitting the jackpot. Having a vulnerability remediation process in place is essential for any company that cares about the safety of their customers and the reputation of their business.
Before we move into the basic steps of the vulnerability remediation process, it’s important to know what it consists of and why having a vulnerability remediation process is essential for every company.
In order to be ahead of malicious attacks, cybersecurity experts need to have a process where they can track and manage known vulnerabilities. Today, security teams can continuously track their company’s software inventory with automated tools and match them against different databases, security advisories or issue trackers in the software development space. This will ensure their products and services do not depend on risky code. Alternatively, if tracking results shows that they are, they need to locate the vulnerable component and mitigate the risk in the best possible way.
These steps may seem easy, but without a vulnerability remediation process, a company may find itself behind in the race against cyber attackers.
The initial step in the vulnerability remediation process is to know what you are working with. That means continuous tracking of your software inventory to know the software components you are using and what might need quick attention.
When it comes to proprietary code, SAST (Static Application Security Testing) and DAST (Dynamic Application Security Testing) tools that analyze source code or applications in their dynamic running state enable quick discovery of any vulnerabilities that may cause risk to the security of a company.
Additionally, pentesting your company’s application periodically to evaluate the security of your products is a great way to discover any security vulnerabilities that may be hidden in your code before releasing it.
While the combination of these tools offers a good solution for keeping your proprietary code vulnerability-free, they don’t cover open source components.
With open source security vulnerabilities, Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools are the way to go. This automated tracking tool enables security experts and software developers to automatically detect all open source components in the system of a company, identifying them as soon as they are added to the code base and alerting admins when risky open source components are added.
This is essential because the most popular open-source components are supported by a big community that always collaborates on checking and updating code. Security vulnerabilities are sometimes found in versions that have been used and trusted for many years. Without an automated tool that always tracks your open-source inventory and matches it against updated security advisories, these vulnerabilities can be missed and become a mess if discovered too late.
When working with proprietary code, companies need to have prioritization policies in place. They need to evaluate the risk of the vulnerabilities they found by checking the company’s system configuration, the probability of an occurrence, its impact and the security controls that are in place.
If possible, a company’s critical components and systems, the ones that will be destroyed by a cyber attack, will be separated before an attack occurs.
Once all these are evaluated and it’s clear to all security experts whether or not an important system is being threatened and what the impact of an exploit might be, remediation efforts can be prioritized and the workload distributed among members of the team to ensure their system and products are risk free, without halting the development lifecycle.
Once you have established the security vulnerabilities that need the utmost attention, you have to map out a timeline and plan for the fix.
Vulnerability remediation in proprietary code requires that you consider the basic cause of the security vulnerability when you attend to the fix and includes manual and automated processes. Remediation to proprietary code may include disabling the vulnerable process, patching, updating system configuration, removing a vulnerable component or updating the platform that your team members are using.
All these can work as a permanent solution to a security vulnerability. In all cases, it’s ideal to test the update or fix outside of your production environment to ensure the fix does not cause any regression in your products or system. After the patch or fix is deployed, it’s important to continue monitoring it to ensure its security and that it does not affect other configurations or processes in the system.
Additionally, newly discovered security vulnerabilities may raise a need to add more security to the perimeter of your system. Nevertheless, it’s essential to bear in mind that having good perimeter protection does not eliminate the need to monitor and manage security vulnerabilities, updating, patching and reconfiguring when necessary.
Security vulnerabilities can put the most innovative services and products at risk of exploitation. As the application security ecosystem continues to change along with the security expert's approach, a professional cybersecurity company like Vicarius can help integrate automated tools throughout your products or services lifecycle. We have the tools to address the ongoing risk of software security vulnerabilities and uphold security.
It’s essential that development organizations have the processes and policies to leverage the innovative software composition analysis and testing tools that are available to secure their systems and the privacy of their customers.
Do you need help with security vulnerability remediation to protect your company from cyber attackers? If yes, reach out to the team of security experts at Vicarius today. Vicarius offers a vulnerability management software that targets cybersecurity officers and operators, as well as IT managers and operators. You can make use of our product TOPIA for accurate cybersecurity and ensuring your assets are well protected. You can check our product page to learn more TOPIA.
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