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After the breach…


Accidents happen and in the security field, they are usually called an ‘0-day’.

There are (at least) three questions you may be asked by your board, about your AppSec program…

  • Was all the software tested using all of our controls & capabilities that were applicable?
  • Did all the findings that were produced measure below our acceptable risk ratings?
  • Were any/all of the vulnerabilities being fixed according to our accepted remediation timelines?

Lets unpack that for everyone in an attempt to understand the motivations of some of our brightest ‘captains’. (If I was a board member…)

Misinformation – Does this event signal a lack of efficacy of our overall Appsec program? Do the controls work according to known practices? Perhaps, this is an anomaly, an edge case that now requires additional investment? What guarantees do we have that any correction strategy will be effective? If changes are warranted, which part should we focus on, People, Process or Technology?

Jeff says – changing the program can take a large investment for any/all of these. Get back to the basics and start with some metrics to see if you have effective coverage first. Prioritize making policy/configuration visible for each implementation of your security tools and aim for all of your results in one tool.

Liability – Is our security assessment program effective enough? Does this blind spot show us the inability to understand/avoid these threats at scale? Does this event indicate a systemic failure to detect/prevent this type of threat in the future?

Jeff says – Push results from Pentesting/Red Team/Security Ops back into the threat model and show if/how any improvement can be effective. Moving at the speed of DevOps means running more tests, more often, and correlating the findings to show value through velocity by catching and fixing them quickly.

Profit and Loss – Do we have a software quality problem that may require us to consider an alternative resource pool? If digitization is increasing in cost due to loss, maybe we need to improve our control capabilities to detect/prevent bad software from reaching production? Maybe we should take additional steps to ensure we have the right development teams to avoid mistakes?

Jeff says – to stop the bleeding, you might consider a different source of secure code? You might also consider an adjustment to your secure training programs? Maybe your security analysts are having their own quality issues? Consider raising the threshold of approved tools to be considered? Broker communication for your dev teams to take on more of the security responsibility.

For any leadership who is dealing with CyberSecurity these days, these are all very good questions. Security is Hard, Application Security, Cloud Security, Data Security – they are ALL hard individually so how does any one person/team understand them entirely?

I began to ask myself that question almost a decade ago during my mobile penetration testing period. When Facebook had created React which involved more than one software language in the same project. I found a cross site scripting flaw in the mobile client during testing which I felt pretty confident was NOT a false positive. I decided to check the static code findings to see if this could be correlated. (We can save the rest of that story for another blog post).

A light went off in my head, ‘correlation between two or more security tools in a single pane of glass’. What an idea – you need something that can pull in all of the datasets (finding reports) and provide some deduplication (so we don’t give dev teams multiple findings from multiple tools), just the fact that we are confident of the viability of the finding. I investigated some of the tool vendors and worked with them for a few years while the capability began to mature in the industry.

Today, Gartner calls this space Application Security Orchestration and Correlation, a contraction of ‘security orchestration’ (where you apply policy as code) and correlating, deduping the results. When done successfully, it also provides a single pane of glass for the operations team or any other orchestration or reporting software in use in your org. Think of it as the one endpoint with all the answers; a way to abstract away the API schema and various life-cycle changes that are associated with new and existing tool-sets.

Whether you wish to interconnect all of your existing orchestration tooling for your pipelines & other infrastructure or perhaps you want to build out your security governance capabilities by conducting all of your own security testing, ASOC tools are capable of providing security at the speed of DevOps.

There really is no other way to accomplish it at scale!

Categories: Work related, security Tags: ,
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