Do you know where your apps are at 2am? Do you know who’s using them? Or what are they using them for? If you can’t answer one (or any) of these questions, then you should be curious if there’s a way to get answers to these problems. Read on to learn more! 

 

No matter what industry you’re in, your organization makes goods and services by creating software that allows your employees to run your business–and it’s more than likely that you provide some type of software available to your customers too. Whether you know it or not, you are in fact a software organization. The software you make is out there in the wild, available for anyone to mess with, leaving you vulnerable.

The problem with traditional security approaches

We know that traditional security perimeters are necessary but are increasingly ineffective against attacks on apps that live outside the security perimeter. As such, we’ve moved on from the concept of simply building bigger walls around our apps to keep the bad guys out. That thinking began to change when the term “zero trust” became popularized in the industry back in 2010 and it became commonplace to assume that there is no traditional network edge, meaning no user or application should be trusted by default.

Now more than ever, security practitioners and application owners are realizing that the apps they create, whether mobile, desktop, or web-based, contain working examples of how to bypass the traditional security infrastructure. For example, if your favorite retail store app can’t get past the firewall, the same said store won’t be able to allow you get in either to buy your favorite pair of shoes.

As a result, the biggest banks, gaming companies, retailers, and media companies in the world are all using a combination of anti-tampering and obfuscation techniques to implement a type of app security called “application shielding”. This prevents the working examples contained in your apps from being both exploited and tampered with.

Unprotected apps become attack vectors

Threat actors know that if they can get their hands on an app, they can steal that working example and use it to access the backend systems, personally identifiable information, the IP, or the other crown jewels of their victims. Most alarmingly, they can get access to your app the very same way you or anyone else can, through the increasing number of apps available in legit stores, like the ones provided by Apple and Google.

Once they get their hands on an app, they can reverse engineer it which can lead to problems like the Magecart attack that occurred a few years ago and other BankBot-type malware, like SharkBot. This results in apps that allow credentials theft fraud, crypto jacking, and IP theft. Thus, customers are looking for ways to build secure software that addresses each of these challenges – and this is exactly what Digital.ai App Sec can provide.

Build secure software 

So, how can you protect the apps that you plan to put out into the wild? You build software securely.

But this isn’t a problem that’s easily fixed by sending all your developers back to college to learn how to code securely. After all, many developers’ backgrounds inadequately prepare them to address such cybersecurity concerns. According to a blog post by Janet Worthington, Senior Analyst and Researcher Scott Bartley at Forrester, none of the top 50 undergraduate computer science programs in the U.S. require a course in code or application security for majors.

While we wait for the coders to catch up to the threat actors, we have a way of providing protection in the meantime. Digital.ai secures your app in three ways:

  • Protect: “Shift left” in order to embed security as part of the app dev process
  • Monitor: Provide visibility into when your apps are at risk
  • React: Automatically respond to threats with Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP)

Let’s break down these three components.

Protect by embedding security into app development

This entails building security protections into software at the compile stage where a protection blueprint, written by your developers, is built into the code. Digital.ai does this across more platforms (including mobile, web, and desktop) and for more languages, more IDE’s, and more versions of those IDE’s/languages, than any of our competitors. The protections we help you add make it more difficult for adversaries to tamper with or reverse engineer your applications.

If you’re a current Digital.ai Agility, Analytics, Release or Deploy customer, then you know that Digital.ai is a one stop shop for optimizing your entire CI/CD pipeline.

You can configure the protections yourself, have us build protections for you, or use an autoconfig file to build baseline protections into your applications automatically. You can also apply the full suite of protections on premises or have us apply protections for you in the cloud.

Additionally, we provide key and data protection through white-box cryptography which ensures that your communications are secure even if your applications are cracked.

Monitor by providing visibility into risk

How do we monitor? By providing a means for our customers to monitor the apps they’re running outside their traditional perimeter for signs of tampering or reverse engineering through standalone dashboards that show which protections or guards have been activated.

We also show where the adversarial actions are taking place and the operating system on which the action is taking place, as well as a myriad of other details that are vital for remediation and reaction to occur.

If desired, we can integrate our reports with your existing reporting tool of choice so that you’re not stuck with yet another dashboard in your security operations center.

React with automatic response to threats

Finally, we provide a means to automatically react in real time when and if tampering or reverse engineering is detected using RASP. For example, if a certain tamper action is detected, you can program your app to automatically prompt the user to authenticate using two-factor authentication.

You can also automatically add reactions that would alter features of an app. Lastly, you can add reactions that will simply shut down any app that has been tampered with, effectively making that working example that your app contains unavailable to a threat actor.

To learn more about how a “Protection Blueprint” secures applications, check out our webinar: How to Build a Blueprint for Secure Software

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