Application Security

Security Requirements over and above ASVS

Today, having a secure software development cycle is a critical feature for developers to ensure that applications and systems can operate without interruption. Security development practices are crucial to minimizing vulnerabilities in an application. So let’s understand about security requirements over and above ASVS.

The Open Worldwide Application Security Project (OWASP) has developed a set of security standards known as the Application Security Verification Standard (ASVS) to ensure that companies can add more security to their applications. However, the DevSecOps culture is not limited to these standards and includes other measures to prevent threats.

You can implement additional secure development practices to safeguard your applications ahead of the requirements outlined in the ASVS. It is worth remembering that such practices, when applied from the beginning of the application design, are more effective in reducing the need for correction and rework. This practice is known as Shift-Left.

Threat Modeling

The so-called Threat Modeling aims to integrate security throughout the application by identifying threats and generating requirements to address them. If left unaddressed, these threats can lead to vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of, resulting in interruptions, unavailability, and even data breaches.

For this reason, Threat Modeling is a fundamental practice for ensuring security in software development, classifying the associated risk with each threat, enabling them to be classified according to their criticality for the business.

Threat Modeling should be a continuous practice and carried out whenever there are changes in the application. New threats may arise over time, and with each software update, its components should be re-evaluated to ensure that corrections are executed for each associated risk.

Pentest or Penetration Test (also Intrusion Test)

Penetration Test is performed by specialized professionals attempting to discover vulnerabilities and how to exploit them through simulations of cyberattacks. Performing penetration testing is a substantial practice to assess the security of an application and can even include tests related to the requirements identified in the Threat Modeling, which allows the identification of vulnerabilities that went unnoticed by the ASVS and to development of additional security measures.

In addition, through penetration testing, it is also possible to analyze the behavior of applications in genuine attacks, further helping to secure such applications. It is also worth noting that, although performed in a guided manner, the practices of this test can be harmful if not properly planned and executed, including appropriate documentation to prevent a real compromise of the environment.

Secure software development

Secure software development (S-SDLC) is a crucial practice for ensuring the security of an application, which involves using security coding standards and eliminating vulnerabilities in the code.

The S-SDLC is an approach that aims to incorporate security from the beginning of the software development process. This means that security measures are integrated into the planning, design, implementation, and maintenance stages of the software.

This approach helps to identify and correct security flaws quickly. Secure software development involves implementing security practices such as threat and risk analysis, secure coding, security testing, and developer training.

One of the main advantages of secure software development is that it can help reduce the cost and time spent on fixing security flaws. It is because vulnerabilities are detected and patched earlier in the development process, which implies there is no need to fix major security flaws after the software has been supplied.

Vulnerability management

Vulnerability management involves identifying, assessing, and prioritizing vulnerabilities, succeeding by implementing measures to fix them.

One of the most critical steps in vulnerability management is assessing and prioritizing the vulnerabilities found. It involves classifying risks and determining the probability of exploitation by an attacker, prioritizing those with greater criticality.

Understanding the life cycle of a vulnerability is as extensive as remediating it, as it enables you to gauge the effectiveness of existing controls.

Authentication and access control

Authentication and access control are crucial points for protecting applications from security threats. The concept of least privilege ensures that users have access only to the necessary resources to perform their activities. Authentication and access control play a critical role in software security.

Authentication is usually secured by: passwords, security tokens, multi-factor authentication, or biometrics. The authentication mechanism needs to be strong enough to ensure that only authorized users can access the software and that they are assigned roles that correspond to their authorized tasks.

Access control can be defined through attribute-based access policies, which restrict access based on components containing geographic location or access time.

In the thick of other things to meet the requirements, access control often requires reviewing to revoke any unnecessary access.

Access control is an essential aspect of any Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) system to ensure the security and protection of data and resources involved in the process of software developing and deploying continuous software.

Understanding Security Requirements over and above ASVS

At the same time, ASVS is a needed tool to support software security, but it is not enough to protect against all potential threats. ASVS provides a set of requirements that companies must follow to ensure their applications are secure.

However, ASVS does not address all security threats that applications face. To ensure S-SDLC, companies must adopt additional measures over such requirements.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” in the validation process; various practices and methodologies can be addictive, but it is imperative that all information have to be documented, ensuring the execution of each of the steps foreseen in the environment.

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About author


Graduated in Information Security Technology from FIAP. Acts as an Information Security Analyst, providing consulting in several different environments. Have a long road in different segments in the IT area.
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