At one point, cybersecurity statistics showed that more than 80,000 cyberattacks happen daily, totaling around 30 million every year. Ransomware incidents are even growing 350% annually.
These figures alone should tell you that securing websites, apps, and databases should continuously be among the most significant concerns of any online or software-reliant enterprise.
Unfortunately, with the ever-growing demand for software, many companies and developers can overlook fortifying their apps’ and sites’ defenses when creating them. Once infiltrated by cyber hijackers, these exploited tools can become the ultimate cause of massive losses and permanent business shutdown.
So, how can you, as enterprise developers, ensure your software’s safety in 2021? Check out these five cybersecurity strategies:
1. Building a cybersecurity mindset from the start
Having a cybersecurity mindset helps you integrate security measures throughout your product development lifecycle. If you are conscious about keeping your website or software safe from the beginning, you can work more carefully to ensure its security when coding, updating, and deploying it.
One way of building a cybersecurity mindset as you develop your software is by familiarizing the MITRE ATT&CK matrix.
It stands for MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge and is an internationally accessible, curated knowledge base and model for real-life cyber criminal activities.
The MITRE ATT&CK framework shows you the specific adversarial actions and platforms frequently targeted in every phase of the cyberattack journey.
Specifically, the framework reveals the Tactics in columns (see table below). This represents the short-term, crafty antagonistic objectives in an attack.
On the other hand, the Techniques in individual cells depict the deceptive methods cybercriminals use to implement their objectives.
Image source: McAfee.
For instance, take a look at the Lateral Movement column. You’ll notice the “Software Deployment Tool” cell under it. Let’s say you made one such tool for your company, and it turns out to be vulnerable and gets penetrated. Cybercriminals can exploit it to gain lateral movement in your network and remotely execute malicious code in your systems. Eventually, this can empower them to control and wreak havoc on your system — and the company.
The MITRE ATT&CK is similar to the cyber kill chain developed by Lockheed Martin but is more comprehensive. It’s also modernized since it includes cloud-native techniques and tactics (which are lacking in the cyber kill chain).
Moreover, the MITRE ATT&CK is constantly updated with industry input, equipping you with the latest cyber attack trends to guard your software against when building or maintaining it.
2. Testing your product security
Testing your website’s or software’s defenses uncovers and helps ensure its resilience against cyberattacks. When you discover the parts where the app or website is still susceptible, you can correct and optimize them before finalizing and launching your product.
You can work with your IT department and other cybersecurity experts your company brings in to test your software’s security. One contemporary and reliable method for this is implementing an attack simulation.
Breach and Attack Simulation in particular is a new cybersecurity strategy that automatically replicates modern, realistic adversarial penetration attempts and reveals security loopholes in your software — and even your entire IT ecosystem.
It is like an upgraded penetration testing and an automated, continuously implemented combination of red and blue teaming methods (which are often performed manually).
Once you execute this simulation and the BAS tool uncovers any security weaknesses, it lists the necessary priority corrective measures.
A BAS strategy also functions autonomously 24/7. This lets you raise your visibility into your software vulnerabilities, address them promptly, and increase your product security, especially if you have a long lineup of developed tools.
3. Protecting your code
The more your enterprise relies on your developed software, the more urgently you should protect it and its code. Why? Because your software’s code is the lifeblood not only of your tool but also your whole organization. If it gets hacked, you can lose thousands to millions of dollars and even close down your business.
An excellent code security strategy is implementing regular code backups — even if you’re already keeping your code in repositories such as GitHub and GitLab.
As a developer, know that these and other repositories are not completely safe from hackers since they also contain security loopholes. News reports are even abuzz with these incidents, such as the allegedly hacked Microsoft GitHub account in May 2020.
That said, protect your code with robust third-party backup tools specializing in automatically duplicating code repositories. Copying volumes of code is extremely burdensome and time-consuming, risking possible backup leaks and errors. With these outsider tools, you can streamline code backups and move on with your primary developer duties.
Educate yourself also on secure coding, a critical step at the start of your product development. Every programming language has its set of intricate weaknesses and vagaries to watch out for — and to become a better Java or another programmer in 2021, you m-u-s-t be familiar with them. Examples of vulnerabilities for programming languages include:
- Cross-site scripting (XSS) or CWE-119 under the Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE) framework for C and C++ (and web applications written in Ruby and PHP)
- CWE-20 causing input validation issues for Python
4. Installing regular updates
Cyber adversaries attempting to infiltrate and gain access to your app, database, or website always choose the path with the least resistance — and you often find this in insecure, outdated software.
This makes the regular installation of security patches and updates extremely business-critical. Enterprise developers can’t afford to neglect them since a tiny software vulnerability can unknowingly give hijackers free access to control and infect the entire system.
Along with this, you should also disable unused and outdated software. Coordinate with your IT department and find software linked to your company’s systems that have long been idle. Left unchecked, this software can also give hackers quick-and-easy pathways to your IT landscape.
5. Encrypting confidential customer data
If your company stores private user data, such as those by your clients, customers, employees, and board members, be sure to encrypt them adequately.
Keeping unencrypted data assets, especially once exposed to cyber hijackers, can quickly land your enterprise in hot water. Failing to protect sensitive information violates data privacy laws and costs truckloads of financial, reputational, and customer losses.
User data encryption is even more critical if your company uses shared hosting environments where several people can access sensitive files and information.
Never neglect these cybersecurity guidelines for developers.
In 2021, cybersecurity for your apps, websites, software code, and databases is no longer an option. Remember that it only takes a tiny security loophole for hackers to illegally access and exploit your IT system. Don’t let them penetrate by even an inch!
So, keep these cybersecurity guidelines in mind and never neglect them. Together with your IT department, strategize your strict and frequent implementation of them. Doing so can go far in preventing your data assets and business from becoming effortless targets for cybercriminals.