Difference to Know: Cyber Security, Software Security, Application Security

Cyber Security vs Software Security

Did you know that when we talk about online security, cyber security, application security, and software security are all different? Sometimes, software security and application security are used interchangeably.

However, there is a key difference between these two; both are different from cyber security.

Application security is a more reactive approach and software security, on the other hand, has a more proactive approach. Ensuring the safety of software, security must be built in such a way that it covers all the phases in a software development life cycle, aka SDLC.

On the other hand, cyber security protects networks, systems and programs against any unauthorized attack or access.

In this article, we will share with you the difference between cyber security vs software security vs application security. Let’s begin with a better understanding.

What is Cyber Security?

Cyber security is defined as the practice of defending servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, computers, and data from unauthorized and malicious attacks. It is also known as electronic information security or information technology security.

Moreover, cyber security is applied to various contexts, from mobile to business computing. There are various types of cybersecurity attacks:

Malware Attack

This is a more common kind of cyberattack. Malware means malicious software virus, which includes spyware, ransomware, worms, trojans and adware. Malware breaches the network, and the user clicks on a dangerous link, thereby downloading an infected link or using an infected pen.

Password Attack

Under this attack, a hacker cracks your passcode using various programs. These password attacks include dictionary attacks, keylogger and brute force attacks.

Phishing Attack

These are the most prominent and widespread types of cybersecurity attacks. It is a social engineering attack where an attacker impersonates a trusted contact and sends fake emails.

There are various other types of cyber attacks. However, you should know the ways to mitigate the risk of cyber attacks. This can be done by:

  • Updating and upgrading software as soon as it’s available.
  • Enforcing signed software execution policies which ensures the securing of the software.
  • Limiting and controlling account access for a zero-trust framework.

What is Software Security?

Software security is used to secure and protect computers, servers, and mobile devices from unauthorized access, viruses, intrusions, viruses and other threats. It can defend users, information, organizations and systems from a wide range of risks.

As the name suggests, it is that security which is used to secure programs from malicious attacks or hacking. The process includes creating, designing and testing security software programs.

There are software vulnerabilities that must be identified and prevented. Vulnerabilities are not always found by manual codes and testing and impact the performance of the software.

The most common types of vulnerabilities are:

Sensitive data like passwords, addresses, account numbers, etc., must always be protected.

Access Control

User restrictions must always be ensured well. If broken, they can create a software vulnerability.

Include Software Security within the SDLC

If you intentionally include the software development life cycle, SDLC, it will ensure secure software in your regular business practices.

Rigorous Testing and Risk Analysis

The sooner you test, the better it is. Spotting vulnerabilities sooner will help you in fixing them fast.

Insecure Designs

These are related to flaws in designs and include at least one of the following

  • Secure design pattern
  • Secure design principle
  • Threat modelling
  • Reference Architecture

There are many other software vulnerabilities, such as security misconfiguration. However, it is essential to know the ways to strengthen software security.

The ways to Strengthen Software Security are use Code Signing Certificate such as Comodo Code Signing Certificate are used by most commercial publishers and developers who distribute software over the internet. They are at risk of being compromised by hackers and malicious attackers. Its a great way to fix this issue.

They are one of the best software security best practices and are used to digitally sign applications, programs and other software to serve as authentication to other users. Using this certificate, users can be sure of downloading the original version of a particular software, which hasn’t been altered by anyone.

What is Application Security?

Application security is the practice of using hardware techniques and security software to protect computer apps from any external security threats; this is the primary point of difference between software security vs application security.

Security today has become an essential aspect of application development. Moreover, application security holds excellent importance from planning to deployment and beyond.

Recommended: Top 10 Web App Security Risks & Tips to Prevent

Application security helps improve security practices in the SDL and the entire life cycle of the application. The ultimate goal is to prevent attackers from modifying, accessing or deleting sensitive information or data.

There are examples of application vulnerabilities, such as

Data Integrity and Software Failure

Applications using extensions and modules from unauthorized sources increase the risk of compromise and malicious code.

Hash the Passwords instead of using Encryption

The chances of someone decrypting the encrypted password are high. To avoid this, you can hash the password.

Do not add Secret Backdoors to the Software

Whether there is a genuine reason or not to do so, it’s best to avoid secret backdoors. These will eventually be exposed. It can damage your organization’s reputation, portraying you as the bad guy.

SSRF

SSRF refers to service-side request forgery, which is an application vulnerability that allows the attacker to send fake requests to unwanted locations. It happens even if firewalls and VPNs protect it.

However, with these come the ways to strengthen application security, such as Comodo EV Code Signing Certificate gives an extra layer of security, with the validation being a bit more intensive.

The EV Code Signing Certificate is issued and protects you against unauthorized access. It helps in turning a digital security issue into a physical one and hence makes it much easier to manage.

Recommended: How to Digitally Sign Applications?

Cyber security is a process of providing security to networks and computer systems from unauthorized access, attack and damage.

Software security is a process that provides security to software against malicious attacks and risks from other hackers.

Application security is the process that involves developing, testing and adding security features to the applications to prevent any security vulnerabilities against threats, including unauthorized modification and access.

All these are related to each other as application securities aim to protect the software app and data against cyber threats. Whether it’s programs, software, network or the computer system, all of them need to be protected. Application security and software security are both a part of cybersecurity, and this is how all three are connected.

Tips to Safeguard Your Data

There are a few tips to follow to safeguard your data, such as

Protect Communication between Apps

You must use apps with signature-based permission, non-exported content provider, etc.

Protect the Data

Concentrate on keeping the data safe by ensuring that the security efforts are focused around the data and not just the perimeter.

Encrypt Devices

To ensure that your devices are trustworthy, make sure the data is stored in an encrypted format and remains so during migration.

Tips for CyberSecurity

  • Use antivirus and firewall
  • Keep software up-to-date
  • Use strong passwords

Tips for Software Security

  • Avoid phishing scams
  • Be careful when you click on something
  • Never leave devices unattended

Tips for Application Security

  • Address all open-source vulnerabilities
  • Risk assessment
  • Don’t use public wifi

Conclusion

Application security, software security and cybersecurity are all crucial aspects when it comes to data security nowadays.

Since there are various security practices, you must choose the best ones and review the checklist before finalizing the best security practice. However, keeping data protected is of utmost importance and priority.

Want to maintain software or app authenticity and integrity? Get extreme data security behind a security model, ensuring confidentiality, availability and data integrity.

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a Cyber-Security Enthusiast who constantly updates herself with new advancements in the Web/Cyber Security niche. Along with theoretical knowledge, she also implements her practical expertise in day-to-day tasks and helps others to protect themselves from threats.

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