Welcome!

Recurring Revenue Authors: Elizabeth White, Karthick Viswanathan, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez

Blog Feed Post

Vulnerability Assessment with Application Security

The longer an application remains vulnerable, the more likely it is to be compromised.

Protecting web applications is an around-the-clock job. Almost anything that is connected to the Internet is a target these days, and organizations are scrambling to keep their web properties available and secure. The ramifications of a breach or downtime can be severe: brand reputation, the ability to meet regulatory requirements, and revenue are all on the line.  A 2011 survey conducted by Merrill Research on behalf of VeriSign found that 60 percent of respondents rely on their websites for at least 25 percent of their annual revenue.

And the threat landscape is only getting worse. Targeted attacks are designed to gather intelligence; steal trade secrets, sensitive customer information, or intellectual property; disrupt operations; or even destroy critical infrastructure.  Targeted attacks have been around for a number of years, but 2011 brought a whole new meaning to advanced persistent threat. Symantec reported that the number of targeted attacks increased almost four-fold from January 2011 to November 2011.

In the past, the typical profile of a target organization was a large, well-known, multinational company in the public, financial, government, pharmaceutical, or utility sector.  Today, the scope has widened to include almost any size organization from any industry. The attacks are also layered in that the malicious hackers attempt to penetrate both the network and application layers.  To defend against targeted attacks, organizations can deploy a scanner to check web applications for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross site scripting (XSS), and forceful browsing; or they can use a web application firewall (WAF) to protect against these vulnerabilities. However a better, more complete solution is to deploy both a scanner and a WAF.  BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) version 11.1 is a WAF that gives organizations the tools they need to easily manage and secure web application vulnerabilities with multiple web vulnerability scanner integrations.

As enterprises continue to deploy web applications, network and security architects need visibility into who is attacking those applications, as well as a big-picture view of all violations to plan future attack mitigation.  Administrators must be able to understand what they see to determine whether a request is valid or an attack that requires application protection.  Administrators must also troubleshoot application performance and capacity issues, which proves the need for detailed statistics.  With the increase in application deployments and the resulting vulnerabilities, administrators need a proven multi-vulnerability assessment and application security solution for maximum coverage and attack protection.  But as many companies also support geographically diverse application users, they must be able to define who is granted or denied application access based on geolocation information.

 
Application Vulnerability Scanners

To assess a web application’s vulnerability, most organizations turn to a vulnerability scanner.  The scanning schedule might depend on a change control, like when an application is initially being deployed, or other factors like a quarterly report.  The vulnerability scanner scours the web application, and in some cases actually attempts potential hacks to generate a report indicating all possible vulnerabilities.  This gives the administrator managing the web security devices a clear view of all the exposed areas and potential threats to the website. It is a moment-in-time report and might not give full application coverage, but the assessment should give administrators a clear picture of their web application security posture.  It includes information about coding errors, weak authentication mechanisms, fields or parameters that query the database directly, or other vulnerabilities that provide unauthorized access to information, sensitive or not.  Many of these vulnerabilities would need to be manually re-coded or manually added to the WAF policy—both expensive undertakings.

Another challenge is that every web application is different.  Some are developed in .NET, some in PHP or PERL. Some scanners execute better on different development platforms, so it’s important for organizations to select the right one.  Some companies may need a PCI DSS report for an auditor, some for targeted penetration testing, and some for WAF tuning.  These factors can also play a role in determining the right vulnerability scanner for an organization.  Ease of use, target specifics, and automated testing are the baselines.  Once an organization has considered all those details, the job is still only half done.  Simply having the vulnerability report, while beneficial, doesn’t mean a web app is secure.  The real value of the report lies in how it enables an organization to determine the risk level and how best to mitigate the risk. Since re-coding an application is expensive and time-consuming, and may generate even more errors, many organizations deploy a web application firewall like BIG-IP ASM.

A WAF enables an organization to protect its web applications by virtually patching the open vulnerabilities until it has an opportunity to properly close the hole.  Often, organizations use the vulnerability scanner report to then either tighten or initially generate a WAF policy.  Attackers can come from anywhere, so organizations need to quickly mitigate vulnerabilities before they become threats. They need a quick, easy, effective solution for creating security policies.  Although it’s preferable to have multiple scanners or scanning services, many companies only have one, which significantly impedes their ability to get a full vulnerability assessment.  Further, if an organization’s WAF and scanner aren’t integrated, neither is its view of vulnerabilities, as a non-integrated WAF UI displays no scanner data.  Integration enables organizations both to manage the vulnerability scanner results and to modify the WAF policy to protect against the scanner’s findings—all in one UI.

Integration Reduces Risk

While finding vulnerabilities helps organizations understand their exposure, they must also have the ability to quickly mitigate found vulnerabilities to greatly reduce the risk of application exploits. The longer an application remains vulnerable, the more likely it is to be compromised.  F5 BIG-IP ASM, a flexible web application firewall, enables strong visibility with granular, session-based enforcement and reporting; grouped violations for correlation; and a quick view into valid and attack requests. BIG-IP ASM delivers comprehensive vulnerability assessment and application protection that can quickly reduce web threats with easy geolocation-based blocking—greatly improving the security posture of an organization’s critical infrastructure.

image

BIG-IP ASM version 11.1 includes integration with IBM Rational AppScan, Cenzic Hailstorm, QualysGuard WAS, and WhiteHat Sentinel, building more integrity into the policy lifecycle and making it the most advanced vulnerability assessment and application protection on the market.  In addition, administrators can better create and enforce policies with information about attack patterns from a grouping of violations or otherwise correlated incidents. In this way, BIG-IP ASM enables  organizations to mitigate threats in a timely manner and greatly reduce the overall risk of attacks and solve most vulnerabilities.

With multiple vulnerability scanner assessments in one GUI, administrators can discover and remediate vulnerabilities within minutes from a central location.  BIG-IP ASM offers easy policy implementation, fast assessment and policy creation, and the ability to dynamically configure policies in real time during assessment.  To significantly reduce data loss, administrators can test and verify vulnerabilities from the BIG-IP ASM GUI, and automatically create policies with a single click to mitigate unknown application vulnerabilities. 

Security is a never-ending battle.  The bad guys advance, organizations counter, bad guys cross over—and so the cat and mouse game continues.  The need to properly secure web applications is absolute. Knowing what vulnerabilities exist within a web application can help organizations contain possible points of exposure.  BIG-IP ASM v11.1 offers unprecedented web application protection by integrating with many market-leading vulnerability scanners to provide a complete vulnerability scan and remediate solution.  BIG-IP ASM v11.1 enables organizations to understand inherent threats and take specific measures to protect their web application infrastructure.  It gives them the tools they need to greatly reduce the risk of becoming the next failed security headline.

ps

Resources:

Technorati Tags: F5, big-ip, virtualization, cloud computing, Pete Silva, security, waf, web scanners, compliance, application security, internet, TMOS, big-ip, asm

Connect with Peter: Connect with F5:
o_linkedin[1] o_rss[1] o_facebook[1] o_twitter[1]   o_facebook[1] o_twitter[1] o_slideshare[1] o_youtube[1]

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter is an F5 evangelist for security, IoT, mobile and core. His background in theatre brings the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together to cover training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5. He's also produced over 350 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Writer, speaker and Video Host, he's also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others.

@ThingsExpo Stories
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...