Let’s imagine that you’ve recently purchased a sprawling apartment with all the fancy gadgets and equipment. But then one night, an intruder breaks into the front door system, loots all your earnings and leaves. While you are happy that you are safe, you wonder, what went wrong? All though you had all the high-tech system safeguarding your home, the attacker was able to make the most of the weakness in your security system. Such attacks are not just confined to the home’s safety system. 
A vulnerability could be found anywhere, and if an invader finds a loophole, they might easily exploit it. Likewise, when the attacker raids the premises of the computer network, the damages can be unimaginable. Just last year alone, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) logged more than 18,000 vulnerabilities – of which 57 percent of the vulnerabilities were classified as critical. In this article, we will understand what a software vulnerability is, its categories, consequences when this weakness is attacked, how to safeguard your system and more.

What is software vulnerability? 

A code or the operating system is suspectable to flaws or bugs or weaknesses. This glitch in the system is known as software vulnerability. Intruders or hackers encash on these shortcomings to steal valuable data that the company withholds. When the attacker possesses at least one tool that connects with the system weakness, they maliciously enter the den to exploit the vulnerability. Although these days security is tightened somehow, they still fall prey to attackers. There is room for improvement and no stone shall be left unturned. An application code is a host to 82 percent of vulnerabilities. And in 2019, owing to vulnerabilities, 16 percent of the web applications easily gave up the full control of the system to the attackers. In essence, the Committee on National Security Systems of the United States of America defines vulnerability as a weakness in an information system, system security procedures, internal controls, or implementation that could be exploited by a threat source.

What makes the software vulnerable? 

Let’s face it, in today’s world, almost all businesses make use of software to help them reach their goal. Some are built in-house while others are purchased. While some companies fail to update their system, and this small mistake amounts to a great risk. Around 84 percent of companies have high-risk vulnerabilities on their external networks. Often overlooked by the companies, a vulnerable software lures attacker. And as per a report, an attacker can invade 9 out of 10 web applications. Apart from the following mentioned main sources of software malfunction, what also plays a big role is the type of programming language that is used. Most of the programming languages are susceptible to threats, we ought to use the least vulnerable language. 

  • Insecure coding practices

Call it deadlines, pressure, or the impact of the fast-paced life, this rat race has forced the developers to produce function code at lightning speed. Now, when things are done in haste, it leaves rooms for errors. According to a survey, 30 percent of the companies never scan their code for weakness during development. Developing a secure code has become more important than ever.

  • How to avoid precarious coding practices?
  1. Make the most of the discovery phase.
  2. Assess programs for vulnerabilities at every stage.
  3. Put forth a great development team. Be empathic towards them. 
  4. Spend ample time in research. 
  5. Take it easy, don’t crumble under pressure. Remember, a person who write codes in haste, always leave rooms for casualties.

  • Changing trends 

You might assemble the best team that creates great software, but sadly there is always a broken algorithm that catches the eye of an attacker. Trends change and intrudes find new ways to make the most of the loophole. At times, their motive or vision seems to be stronger than the developers, which is why attacks take place.

  • How to overcome the ever-changing threat landscape?
  1. Tighten your security. 
  2. Generate amends to assess the software at every interval.
  3. Adopt secure development lifecycles. 

  • Reusing existing codes

To comply with the deadlines or maybe to save some ‘precious time’, some companies opt for reusing pre-built software components. These codes are already present with the organization or they can take them from a third party. While this has a few pros, the cons are quite severe. Reusing the code does not come with any guarantee. Common threats that loom when pre-existing codes are used are – data breaches, cross-site scripting, injection flaws and others. Mind you, the attackers are smart and quick as they have an idea that insecure code is accountable to vulnerability.

  • How to combat the threat of reusing vulnerable codes? 
  1. Scan the reusable code for vulnerabilities at every stage.
  2. Update the existing code’s versions. 
  3. Use codes from the trusted source.
  4. Keep a track on the supply chain. 

Types of software vulnerability

The company starts a business with a vision their data never gets tampered with. One small mistake and your system will fall prey to the attackers. This is exactly why prioritizing security risks is crucial. Once we understand the different types of software vulnerability, it becomes a tad bit easy to handle them.   

  • Injection Vulnerabilities or Injection Flaws

The glitch in the system gives easy access to the attackers to inject malicious code using an application. Due to lack of validation and failure to sanitize the user input, the attacker’s code can effortlessly read, modify, or delete the information from the database. This is one of the most common types of software vulnerabilities. Underlying types of injection that pose a great threat are – SQL, Command, XPath, XML, and a few others.  

  • Broken Authentication

The attacker here impersonates to be a legal user, and by encashing on the broken authentication, they try to gain access to the whole system. Most websites have broken authentication, where the organization’s sensitive data is at risk.

  • Buffer Overflow

The system becomes vulnerable when the program is fed with surplus data. This corrupts the available space, can alter other information as well, lead the system to crash, and contaminate the data on the stack. Another variant of buffer overflow is heap where global inputs and possibly other program’s data is violated due to the overflow.

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

On the similar lines of SQL Injection, the XSS breach penetrates an injection code into the website. The attacker can modify the information and can take control of the victim’s information.

  • Security Misconfiguration

Security misconfiguration occurs when a web developer applies the wrong application logic or 0component while building the code. This naïve miscalculation makes the system an attackers target.

  • Using components with known vulnerabilities

The thing is a developer can write an immaculate code, but it can still be exposed to the attackers. By using vulnerable components and using code from an untrusted source, the system is exposed to threats.

  • Exposure of sensitive data

When the code has some unnoticed loose ends, the company’s sensitive data jeopardized. Intruders make use of these missing link to take control of the network.

What is vulnerability management?

Precautions are always better than cure. Instead of reaching a panic situation when the system gets violated, it is always better to take proactive measures to avoid such a situation. The 2019 SANS Vulnerability Management Survey conveys that 84 percent of the businesses have taken preventive actions and have created a vulnerability management program. Incorporating this program allows them to efficiently manage the violations posted by the attackers or curb the situation before it goes out of hand. Vulnerability management is a continuous process that detects the risks and creates a plan to overcome or prevent the risk. Making use of the best available technology and hiring a skilled team can help mitigate the threats or weakness in the software at an early stage. 

  • Vulnerability management lifecycle:
  1. Discover: Organize all the company’s data in a structured fashion. Define its importance and who all can access this data.
  2. Assess: This stage involves accurately and efficiently, scanning and testing the organized data for risk. Once the data is examined, prioritize the assets, and determine the baseline risk profile.
  3. Report: After the data is studied, a report is documented which talks about the vulnerabilities and the plan of action.
  4. Remediate: The next step is to work on the plan of action. In this, the old and new threats are monitored and removed. 
  5. Verify: The goal is to minimize or eliminate the risk. This step sees that the goal is achieved.  

How to mitigate threats?

Being vigilant, anticipating threats, and following all security protocol might protect your system. Avoiding threats is the best measure to overcome software vulnerability. Follow these steps for the best results. 

  • Hire the best developers and train them to be impeccable. 
  • Use the best available tools to scan the code for vulnerabilities at every stage. 
  • Use a safe API and the best security. 
  • Procure codes from only trusted sources. 
  • Invest in obtaining a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
  • Use data that is less complex and get rid of unnecessary data.
  • Audit the servers and system regularly. 
  • Follow the vulnerability management program. 
  • Use reliable frameworks. 
  • Regulating patching reduces the threats. 
  • Traffic scanning and filtering to prevent the violation.

Act now!

The number of new vulnerabilities is growing leaps and bounds. If these threats enter your system, the business will surely crumble. In this case, avoiding and protecting your system from such vulnerabilities is half the battle won. We value our clients and focus on delivering polished solutions. Dealing with software threats might seem like an uphill task, however, our skilled team will provide resolutions that will help detect the threats at an early stage or eliminate the risk.
To talk to our experts, kindly contact: https://www.app-scoop.com/contact-us.html


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