Software development life cycles are a series of six steps that software developers use to create and test high-quality software products. This is a common framework that developers use. Each step can introduce security risks to an application. To avoid bugs in your application, it is important to know what each step entails from a security perspective. These issues can be fixed much more quickly if they are not corrected correctly the first time. This article will go through the entire lifecycle, and highlight the security-related tasks for each stage. These guidelines will help you create a secure application at the end.
Planning and Analysis
This phase is about understanding your application’s requirements. This includes understanding the functionality required by the application, the resources needed to complete it, setting deadlines, and understanding security requirements.
Outline Security and Compliance requirements: This covers both the regulatory and technical requirements for your application. This would include ensuring that you have adequate encryption for data storage and transit. The regulatory requirements are the knowledge of the data that the software stores and transports, as well as all applicable laws. These laws include the HIPAA or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard . These laws require that customer information be collected, stored, and transported securely. You should be familiar with all regulations that may affect your application.
Security Awareness Training: If you work with a team of developers, they must be trained in the security practices that are relevant to your project. This will ensure that everyone is familiar with the requirements and minimize the chances of making mistakes.
Third-Party Software Components for Audit: Third-party components are often used to speed up software development and add more functionality to an application. Third-party software can introduce vulnerabilities to an application. Veracode estimates that 90% third-party software does not conform to enterprise security standards such as the OWASP Top 10. Auditing any third-party software you intend to use is crucial.
Once you have defined the requirements for your application the next step is to document and define the product requirements. This is often done using an SRS (Software Requirement Specification), which outlines all product requirements that will be developed and designed throughout the project.
Threat modeling: This is the process of identifying possible attack scenarios for your application. An example of this is SQL injection. This is when a SQL query is entered into an input form to extract the data from the database. You can then design countermeasures that will protect your application from the most likely attacks.
The Implementation phase allows you to begin building your application. Also, you can debug the code by inspecting it. This is where the goal is to create a functional and stable first version of your application.
Use the Secure Coding Guidelines: To avoid making the same mistakes, it is worth doing some research on common insecure programming practices. You can avoid these mistakes while coding your products. CERT Secure Coding, a community-based coding initiative, has compiled a list of common coding errors here. These guidelines will help you avoid making many mistakes when you code.
Scan your source code:There is a tool called Static Application Scanning Tools (SAST), which can scan your source code and find vulnerabilities. These tools can be used as you code to identify and fix bugs. There are many SAST tools available, but these six SAST tools are worth considering for your projects.
Manual code review: Even with the help of software, code reviews are still necessary. While automated scans may not catch all errors, they lack the critical thinking skills required by humans. After the application’s first draft is complete, the source code should still be reviewed manually by an expert in security bugs in software programming.
This stage is for fixing and discovering bugs in the application. This stage tests the application at runtime using several input types and sees if it handles them correctly.
Fuzzing & Dynamic Scanning:Dynamic App Scanner Tools(DAST) simulate attacks during runtime to test for vulnerabilities. Fuzzing, an automated software testing method that generates random, invalid, or unexpected data for software inputs. This is to make sure that hackers cannot bypass security features. SQL injections (XSS) and Cross Site Scripting are two common ways that users input data. You can find some of the most popular DAST tools.
Penetration Testing: A penetration test is a simulated, authorized cyber attack against your application in order to find areas of weakness. This is a crucial step to make sure that your plans and designs are effective. This can be done by either hiring security personnel individually or through a company. Or, you can use a bug bounty program to crowdsource the steps.
Test Environment Removal: A test environment should be removed from the internet or deleted if it is a VM. Many companies are concerned about the risk of leaving a test environment online after a project. This environment is a potential target for hackers, and it’s less likely to be updated or patched than other computers. Any vulnerabilities found in the applications will be there forever. This is why it is important to link the life expectancy of the environment with the duration of the project. It also allows dev teams to request additional time, if needed.
After an application has been released, it must be maintained and patches issued to ensure that it is secure.
Accept feedback: Security researchers, hackers and others with good intentions constantly look at software for weaknesses. If someone finds a problem with your application, they should be able to reach you. This feedback can be completely anonymous in many cases. You just need a way to obtain it and create a solution.
Ongoing patching: As bugs are discovered in your application, you need to make patches available for your users. This should continue throughout the life of your application.
Security Testing: Applications should be tested for security weaknesses at least once per year.
End Of Life
End of Life is a term that refers to software that has been discontinued by its developers. End of life means that there are no updates, patches or bug fixes. If there is a regulatory requirement or business necessity to keep sensitive data, it must be removed from the system and disposed off.
Data retention: The government and regulators have different data retention requirements. Before you get rid of an application, it is important to confirm your retention requirements. It is possible to keep data for business purposes. However, it must be documented as to who made the decision and why.
Data disposal: All sensitive information should be deleted at the end of an app’s life. This includes all personal information, encryption keys and API access keys. You can be fined if you keep information that you don’t have a clear use for and if there is a data leak. In the past 2 years, fines for violating the GDPR privacy law of the European Union have exceeded $100 million dollars. You can find some helpful tips for disposing of data no longer required here
Software development is a popular template. Each step requires a different approach to create a secure application. This article outlines the main activities required for each phase. First, plan the regulatory and technical requirements to secure your application. Next, you will need to create your application’s infrastructure using secure coding best practice. Next, you will need to test your application. You will be using automated scanning tools, expert code review and hiring professionals to check your application for flaws. After the application goes live, it must be checked regularly and fixed if bugs are discovered. It’s important to secure the data you have and to dispose of the rest properly to avoid it being stolen.