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What Is An Application Security Vulnerability and How Can It Hurt You?

AppSec Program Governance

Publish Date

Jul 21, 2021

Written by

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ZeroNorth

Tagged with

  • Application Security

A software bug, system flaw, security gap—these are all terms you may have heard in the world of application security (AppSec). Yes, they all mean slightly different things, but the reality is each one can lead to a vulnerability—which translates into a weakness that can be exploited to compromise the security of an application.

Once a cyber attacker finds an exploitable flaw (which, at this point, is an application vulnerability) and learns how to take advantage of it, this bad actor has the potential to bring about a serious breach. And this type of cybercrime, one focused on the exploitation of software vulnerabilities, has quickly become one of the most problematic threats in the digital world.

Developing and maintaining a strong AppSec program is key to addressing application security threats and mitigating risk.  When businesses follow best AppSec practices, they ensure vulnerabilities in their software are identified and dealt with early in development—before they evolve into serious digital threats. As such, comprehensive application vulnerability management and security testing throughout the software development life cycle are among some of the most critical components in a modern AppSec program.

Enable Effective Application Vulnerability Management

Even though most organizations use at least a handful of scanning tools to test their code, from development to deployment, problems around disparate vulnerability data continue to emerge. With numerous assets to scan, these tools generate a lot of disparate data, all of which come with varying formats and naming conventions. With no way to prioritize vulnerabilities based on criticality, developers find themselves burdened by the large number of vulnerabilities to fix—and timely remediation falls to the wayside.

This troubling situation can cause friction among teams and slow down software release cycles, all while serious vulnerabilities are overlooked. Moreover, without a clear view of application risk, making informed business decisions becomes nearly impossible. The ZeroNorth DevSecOps platform addresses this problem and simplifies AppSec remediation by streamlining raw vulnerability findings into usable, actionable data – thereby removing the complexity and effort of managing scanning data. It does this by automatically ingesting all scanning data into a central database and normalizing it into a common risk framework. ZeroNorth then aggregates, dedupes and compresses related issues to remove redundancy, minimize noise (such as false positives) and make vulnerability data useable and operational for developers.

Through this data refinement process, ZeroNorth can compress thousands of issues from multiple tools into a concise list of vulnerabilities—in some cases achieving a compression rate of 90:1 — making it far easier and simpler to triage, prioritize and fix them.

ZeroNorth also correlates static code analysis results (SCA and SAST) to dynamic assessment results, to filter out inconsequential flaws in the code and enable developers to focus on remediating vulnerabilities that will actually impact the application in production. ZeroNorth even includes a trail to the source code where developers should begin remediation work.

Generate Streamlined Remediation Tickets for Happy Developers

Following the data refinement process, ZeroNorth generates tickets for the remediation work needed, which includes actionable steps in a developer-friendly format, prioritized by criticality. These tickets can be inserted into defect tracking systems such as Jira as well as email, ChatOps and other notification solutions—making it easy to manage the routing and tracking of remediation tickets within the DevOps pipeline, using familiar tools developers work with every day. And all of this happens without slowing down DevOps processes and workflows.

To learn more about how ZeroNorth simplifies AppSec remediation across different scanning tools, watch this short whiteboard video.

In an age where the security of applications needs to be everyone’s responsibility, ZeroNorth is where organizations come together for the good of software. For more information, follow ZeroNorth on Twitter or LinkedIn—or contact us directly.


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