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Did you know that malware attacks on software have increased by 11% to reach 2.8 billion in 2022?
This is a staggering rise in security attacks and a huge point of concern for the industry. For many companies, the security of their software systems becomes a priority only after they experience a breach.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want to keep your systems secure and provide users with a safe environment, you need to be conscious of security flaws. You need to identify common software vulnerabilities that can hurt your reputation.
Moreover, you also need to find ways to prevent cyber security attacks that can wreak havoc on your systems and steal sensitive user information.
For the same, we are going to explain the top and most common software vulnerabilities and how you can prevent them. But before we get into them, let’s understand what software vulnerability means and what are their implications:
Software vulnerabilities are the security flaws or issues in your software files or codes using which hackers can compromise and steal data. Sometimes, these vulnerabilities are hiding in plain sight but go unnoticed due to inexperience and incompetency.
Even with proper testing and manual code reviews, one cannot always discover every single vulnerability present in the code. And if they are left unchecked, these security flaws can easily impact your software’s performance and safety.
Furthermore, untrustworthy agents can exploit your software products and gain access to sensitive data through the backdoor to perform unauthorized actions. This poses the biggest potential security threat to your digital asset.
Today, no software application has immunity from vulnerability and the only way to avert them is to find and mitigate them as soon as possible.
Microsoft products are the perfect examples of the same as they have a global ecosystem of software products and vulnerabilities inevitable for them. So, if someone exploits any Microsoft software, their potential list of targets will rise significantly.
Primarily, vulnerabilities in software persist due to the sheer negligence of the software vendor. However, sometimes users make certain changes to the restricted code files which creates security flaws for the software.
Looking at the vendor side, vulnerabilities get introduced when adding new features to an existing application. This could lead to integration errors as well as general glitches and bugs. Moreover, untested upgrades can cause configuration errors too, and create permission and accessibility flaws.
Any of the errors mentioned can lead to high-security risks like information disclosure, service denial, tampering with code, spoofing, remote code execution, and many others. Since there are no such guidelines or standardized reporting methods for patching, vulnerabilities don’t get addressed as much as they should.
Another factor that slightly inclines in the favor of hackers is not signing your software products with code signing certificates. Such digital security certificates use a cryptographic hash function to protect code from modification by unauthorized users.
It timestamps the code so that when someone tampers with it, the OS will alert users for unknown publication.
Recommended: How to Fix Unknown Publisher Security Warning?
In an age where data has gained significant importance, software security becomes a top priority for every digital business. So, when your software security is compromised, it can wreak havoc and cause some serious damage.
Here are some of the repercussions you may face:
Attackers can effortlessly gain access to sensitive data and manipulate it for their own benefit. With multiple attacks on your systems, it becomes easy for attackers to gain easy access causing several disruptions in your operations.
Another impact of software security flaws is compromised financial details of users or organizations. Attackers can extract critical banking and transaction details and use them for their own good.
If the impact on company operations and finances wasn’t enough, software vulnerability attacks can damage your reputation. A successful attack can leave an impression that your security standards are weak and no one would like to use your products further.
Now that we have learned about software vulnerabilities and their impact, it’s time to learn what are the common flaws and how you can prevent them. So, without further ado, let’s begin:
User authentication is an essential validation and user identification step, when broken can give malicious actors access to important privileges. This generates critical security flaws and provides hackers with undisputed access to classified data and files, which is bound to compromise your software.
For instance, metadata manipulation is an example of broken access control that includes tampering with JSON web tokens or modifying cookies or hidden fields to gain more privileges.
Access granted to specific roles or users if they become accessible to everyone can make it possible for attackers to gain access to everything and anything they want. The only way to mitigate this inadequate security authentication and access is by adopting secure coding practices.
It further requires disabling administrator accounts and putting restrictions along with multi-factor authentication.
Here are some additional prevention methods:
Injection or SQL injection is a type of database attack carried out against web servers that are built using a structured query language (SQL). Such attacks help malicious agents gain privileged information or perform tasks that would require authentication.
Attackers masquerading as trusted users can inject malware codes that are difficult for the program to differentiate from its own code, allowing them access to protected areas.
Prevention techniques for such kinds of attacks include:
Misconfigured security issues provide attackers quick and easy access to critical data that make it a big weak link in software security. It’s one of the common software security flaws which is a result of improper or not secured configurations. For example, misconfigured HTTP headers or open cloud storage.
Let’s see how you can avoid configuration compliances:
Data integrity concerns are more pressing issues when ultra-sensitive information is stored in databases. When applications use external modules, extensions, and third-party repositories from an unauthorized source, they fall prey to such vulnerability.
Unprotected continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) processes raise the risk of unauthorized access or compromised systems.
The prevention techniques include:
The insecure design focuses on the design and architectural flaws in software. It has a greater use for threat modeling, recommendations for safe design, and reference architecture.
This vulnerability category contains a variety of problems like missing or inadequate design. The insecure design does not mean insecure implementation, which leads to vulnerabilities even if the design is secure.
Such security threats can be prevented with the following methods:
Insecure or untrusted deserialization is also one of the most serious software vulnerabilities to affect modern software systems. This security flaw can cause remote code execution that allows malware attackers to inject unauthentic code files or get unauthorized privileges.
Insecure deserialization can leave a critical impact on your software because it provides an entry point for a wider attack surface. It can authorize attackers to use the corrupt ways again in existing apps and induce other software flaws such as remote code execution.
Let’s see prevention measure for the same:
Formerly known as Sensitive Data Exposure, OWASP has now termed it Cryptographic failures that also pose a serious threat. You can see it as a symptom rather than a primary cause where the greater emphasis is on cryptographic errors, which expose sensitive data.
It can expose data like session tokens, login IDs & passwords, transaction details, and personal information. For example, even if the software encrypts the credit card details of users, attackers can immediately decrypt it when they access user personal information with SQL injection.
Here’s how you can prevent such failures:
Above we have extensively covered several measures you can take to prevent each type of software security flaw. Here are some additional measures that can further enhance the security of your software:
Testing your software rigorously and intricately can often help you find vulnerabilities in your code so you can eliminate them as soon as possible. You may even hire quality engineers and testers to conduct several security tests like white box testing, black box testing, code analysis, and others.
Another important security measure is to update your software product frequently. The older version of the software can be prone to security vulnerabilities and may have outdated standards. Thus, it’s always great to upgrade the security and release the update as frequently as possible.
Often the design of the software has a greater impact on the security of the software. Thus, you must consult an expert on the matter and define a set of design principles that need to be followed. Doing so can help developers to build, write, and inspect their code to make sure it follows the best security practices.
Signing your software with a code signing certificate will ensure your software is tamper-proof. And even if someone modifies it and gets into the system, users often get the alert that the software is from an unknown publisher.
This is because the certificate works on a public-private key that won’t match when the software is modified by an unauthorized person in your stead. Thus, it becomes vital to sign your software with code signing certificates.
Following stringent security practices to safeguard your software and sensitive data is the need of the hour. With several security flaws lurking around in your software products, it becomes effortless for attackers to get into your system and steal anything and everything.
However, such occurrences can easily be avoided if the software developers know the common software vulnerabilities of 2022 and how to prevent them. You want to enforce as strict security standards as possible during the design and development phase.
Doing so will spare you from facing any impacts, instill trust in users, and boost their confidence in your software.
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