What is Application Security Vulnerability Management (ASVM)?
Application Security Vulnerability Management (ASVM) is one of the most crucial yet very infamous parts of the security practices of organizations all around the globe. ASVM refers to the vulnerability management process of applications utilized by an organization as a part of its daily dealing with its clients, transactions, management, etc. But Hold on!! What are the applications precisely utilized by organizations? They can be anything from Android applications, and web applications to integrated industrial control system software which are constrained to using legacy systems that are considered outdated by today’s standards. Now, let’s dive a bit deep into the process to understand it clearly.
Top Level Overview of Application Security Vulnerability Management
- Firstly, We have to gather information and define the present assets and infrastructure of an organization to gain a clear insight necessary for the prioritization process later on.
- Second, comes the process of correlating the effect of applications to the assets gathered in the first step.
- Now comes the third part wherein the potential entry points and weaknesses are identified for an application and a security profile for each application is constructed.
- Now comes the major part of identifying and prioritizing threats posed by the applications. Threats are identified on the basis of the risk-centric model.
How can it be done?
Application security vulnerability management can be performed through a combination of techniques and tools, such as:
Information gathering and Security Profile creation phase:
- Identifying Assets: Before starting to scan for vulnerabilities and problems, we need to have an idea of what all are present which can be scanned and which are needed to be scanned. Here comes asset identification which jots down a list of all information present about an organization’s assets.
- Correlating the assets with the value they deliver: After the identification of assets is done, we need to analyze and categorize them on the basis of the value they deliver to the organization like: Are they critical or crucial systems? Are they 3rd part systems and so on… This is done in order to gain clarity about the value of each asset.
- Creating security profiles: After the identification and analysis of assets, a security profile of each asset is created which contains information pertaining to each asset’s entry points and known weaknesses.
Security testing phase:
- Application Security Testing: There are three main categories under this umbrella of Application security testing. Namely SAST (Static App Security Testing), DAST ( Dynamic App Security Testing), and IAST ( Interactive Application Security). Let’s dive into it a bit more deeply:
- Static Application Security Testing (SAST): White box testing is enabled using SAST tools. They assess application code, scanning it to find errors, weaknesses, or other flaws that can lead to security problems. SAST can operate on either compiled or uncompiled code or even both. SAST analysis can find problems such as Race conditions, Path traversals, incomplete input validation, numerical or data type mistakes, references or pointers that are not safe, etc
- Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): To check for security flaws in operating applications, DAST tools employ black-box testing techniques. When it is operating, they undertake dynamic analysis of the source code. Fuzz testing, which entails bombarding the application with a lot of random, erroneous requests, is a technique used by DAST often. Conditions that point to security flaws can be found by DAST include: unprotected or weak interfaces, abnormalities in a session, issues with authentication and access control, etc
- Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST): A hybrid strategy called IAST combines SAST and DAST. Static and dynamic analysis are combined in the interactive security testing method, which allows for the identification of known vulnerabilities as well as the assessment of their applicability and potential for exploitation.IAST tools can simulate complicated attack patterns and collect in-depth data on application execution flow and data flows. It may see how a running application behaves while it does a dynamic scan of the application and modifies its testing as necessary. This may generate new test cases automatically, among other things (much like a human penetration tester).
- Penetration testing: Organizations can conduct penetration testing to identify vulnerabilities that may be missed by automated tools. This involves simulating attacks on the application to find weaknesses that can be exploited by attackers.
Correlation and Vulnerability Mitigation phase:
- Deduplication: It is a standardized process by means of which the information gathered while testing the applications are gathered together, analyzed, and then clubbed together if found to be a duplicate issue or an issue of the same nature which is affecting the same functionality.
- Risk-based Prioritization: Risk-based prioritization is the way to go after identifying the vulnerabilities and issues in the applications as it focuses more on the Risk possessed by the issue rather than on the issue itself. This strategy helps in prioritizing effectively and mitigating real-world critical issues first.
- Mitigation: Now comes the favorite part wherein a collaboration between security researchers and application developers happens wherein they work in a streamlined manner to effectively address and deliver a solution for the vulnerabilities.
Continuous monitoring phase:
Finally, all these phases listed above work in a cycle and don’t have an end. We have to constantly monitor all the assets and be updated about the vulnerabilities and patches released by means of security bulletins.
Overall, effective application security vulnerability management requires a holistic approach that includes both technical and non-technical measures to ensure the security of an organization’s digital assets.
How ASPIA can help you in Application Security Vulnerability Management?
The security of an application is evaluated by application security teams using automated static and dynamic test results as well as manual testing results. Each test delivers results in different formats. Different test platforms describe the same flaws differently, resulting in duplicates. Security teams end up using spreadsheets to manually keep track. As a result, it is extremely difficult to prioritize the severity of flaws. Software development teams receive unmanageable reports and only a small portion of the flaws gets fixed ultimately!!!
One of the challenges is that there is no simple method for the security and application development teams to collaborate on these issues. The project of remediation suddenly becomes too much to handle.
Here comes ASPIA application security orchestration to rescue! with our unique software vulnerability aggregation and management platform you can easily have aggregated vulnerability data, current organization security posture, and remediation of vulnerabilities all at your fingertips!