How to improve relations between developers and security teams and boost application security

3 weeks ago 14
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Chris Wysopal shared a past acquisition astir the improvement of exertion information and proposal connected however to marque each apps much secure.

chris wysopal legislature  proceeding  1998

Veracode CTO Chris Wysopal shared the highlights of his vocation successful exertion information during an OWASP event, including his 1998 grounds to Congress arsenic a subordinate of the hacking corporate The L0ft.

Image: Chris Wysopal

In December 1996, exertion information adept Chris Wysopal published his archetypal vulnerability report. He recovered that information could beryllium edited oregon deleted successful Lotus Domino 1.5 if permissions were not acceptable decently oregon URLs were edited. That information hazard — breached entree power —  is the fig 1 hazard connected OWASP's 2021 Top 10 database of exertion information risks.

"We cognize astir this occupation truly good and cognition astir the occupation isn't solving the problem," helium said. 

Wysopal, who is Veracode's CTO and co-founder shared a abbreviated past of his clip arsenic an exertion information researcher, from his clip with The L0ft hacker collective to testifying successful beforehand of Congress to doing information consulting with Microsoft successful the aboriginal 2000s. Wysopal spoke during a keynote astatine OWASP's 20th day event, a free, live, 24-hour lawsuit held connected Friday.

Wysopal said that helium started retired arsenic an outsider successful the tech world, which gave him a unsocial position to telephone retired problems that bundle engineers, institution leaders and authorities officials did not see. Over the past 25 years appsec researchers person moved from critics lasting connected the extracurricular looking successful to nonrecreational colleagues moving with bundle engineers to amended security. 

SEE: How DevOps teams are taking connected a much pivotal role 

"As William Gibson said, 'The aboriginal is unevenly distributed, and I deliberation we tin larn from the past and larn from those already surviving successful the future," helium said. 

He shared proposal connected however to physique person moving relationships among developers and information experts arsenic good arsenic however the appsec assemblage has evolved implicit the years. 

Building relationships to amended security 

Wysopal said helium sees the latest improvement of appsec arsenic information experts becoming authoritative members of the bundle improvement team.  

"Success is being portion of a squad that is shipping unafraid codification connected schedule, moving to continually amended the process and doing little enactment for the aforesaid unafraid outcome," helium said. 

Wysopal said beardown relationships betwixt the 2 teams is different cardinal to making appsec work. Individual developers and information squad members should see these questions and find the answers:

  • Who is your adjacent successful improvement oregon security?
  • Do you conscionable with them?
  • Do you recognize each other's goals?
  • Are you sympathetic to each other's struggles?

Another cardinal to occurrence is ensuring shared accountability betwixt some the information and bundle engineering groups:

  • How tin we found the shared extremity of shipping unafraid bundle connected time?
  • What tin the information squad bash to marque definite the dev squad does not person to dilatory down?  
  • What tin the dev squad bash to assistance the information squad to trial faster?

"Also, this accountability has to beryllium measured and reported on," helium said.


Veracode CTO Chris Wysopal explained the interaction information measures person connected closing flaws successful bundle during an OWASP event.

Image: Chris Wysopal

Wysopal said immoderate applications by their precise quality are harder to unafraid than others. His squad considers some the quality and the nurture of each exertion erstwhile moving to amended security.

The perfect situation for applications that are casual to unafraid looks similar this:

  • Small organization
  • Small exertion
  • Low flaw density
  • New application 

It's harder to unafraid older, larger applications with precocious flaw densities built astatine large companies, Wysopal said. 

In presumption of nurturing unafraid applications, improvement teams usage predominant scans and a assortment of scanning types. Static and infrequent scanning marque it harder to amended exertion security. 


Veracode CTO Chris Wysopal presented this illustration during his keynote remarks to exemplify the magnitude of clip it takes to lick a bundle flaw depending connected the benignant of situation an exertion exists in.

Image: Chris Wysopal

Wysopal besides shared immoderate proposal astir however changing information practices tin amended appsec, careless of whether an exertion is casual oregon hard to secure. In a bully environment, champion information practices tin trim the half-life of a vulnerability from 25 to 13 days. In a little than perfect environment, improving information practices tin trim the half-life of a vulnerability by much than 4 months.

The improvement of appsec

After helium published his archetypal vulnerability report, Lotus acknowledged the occupation connected its location page, explained however they fixed it, credited him for uncovering the occupation and thanked him for doing so, Wysopal said.

"There was a caller consciousness that immoderate developers really appreciated vulnerability probe adjacent successful 1996, and it made america commencement to deliberation possibly we should speech to developers," helium said. 

He and his chap hacker Mudge (Peiter Zatko) started talking to bundle companies, including Microsoft astir vulnerability research. In May 1998, helium and his L0ft colleagues testified astatine a Congressional hearing, "Weak machine information successful Government."

"This woke up the satellite that manufacture and authorities request to enactment with vulnerability researchers," helium said.

Then successful November 2001, Wysopal got an email astir the motorboat of OWASP. The adjacent signifier was moving with Microsoft engineers and the adjacent situation was to determination from being an extracurricular professional to collaborating with developers. 

Early tools were built for appsec researchers, not developers, and that meant that developers didn't usage those tools to amended security, Wysopal said.

Appsec teams needed to bash much than simply find flaws due to the fact that that attack made developers aggravated and stalled progress. 

"We needed to tread lightly oregon thing would get fixed astatine all," helium said. "This attack mightiness person been a measurement backward successful the aboriginal days of automation."

The absorption past shifted to fixing problems with an accent connected training, illustration repairs and unafraid libraries, helium said. This was the commencement of modern appsec. 

"One of the champion things that has happened to appsec is processes changing to agile and DevOps ," helium said. "This was truly a forcing relation to modernize however appsec was working."

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