When creating, testing and deploying software, many development companies now use proprietary software and open source software (OSS).
Proprietary software, also known as closed-source or proprietary software, includes applications for which the publisher or other person reserves license rights to modify, use, or share changes. Examples include Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Photoshop, macOS, Microsoft Windows, and iTunes.
In contrast, OSS allows users to use, modify, study, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone on the Internet. This way everyone can participate in the development of the software. Examples include MongoDB, LibreOffice, Apache HTTP Server, and the GNU/Linux operating system.
This means that many organizations use third-party code and modules for their OSS. While these additions are incredibly useful for many applications, they can also expose organizations to risk. According to Revenera’s 2022 State of the Software Supply Chain Report64% of organizations were affected by software supply chain attacks caused by vulnerabilities in OSS dependencies.
Since software companies cannot realistically avoid using OSS, cybersecurity teams must avoid OSS-related vulnerabilities by using software composition analysis (SCA) tools. In addition, they must combine SCA with static application security testing (SAST), as proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows and Adobe Acrobat are also used.
Read more about SAST and SCA. This article also explains how cybersecurity teams can combine SAST and SCA into a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.
What is SAST?
SAST is a code scanning program that assesses proprietary code and application resources for cybersecurity vulnerabilities and bugs. SAST, also known as white box testing, is considered a static approach because it analyzes code without running the app itself. Because it only reads code line by line and doesn’t execute the program, SAST platforms are extremely effective at removing vulnerabilities from every page of the software product development (SDLC) lifecycle, especially during the first few development phases.
Specifically, SAST programs can help teams:
- Find common vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflow, cross-site scripting, and SQL injection
- Verify that development teams have met development standards
- Eradicating intentional breaches and acts, such as supply chain attacks
- Find weaknesses before code goes into production and creates vulnerabilities
- Scan all possible states and paths for proprietary software bugs that development teams were not aware of
- Implement a proactive security approach by mitigating issues early in the SDLC
SAST plays an integral role in software development. By providing development teams with real-time feedback as they code, SAST can help teams address and resolve issues before moving on to the next stage of the SDLC. This prevents bugs and vulnerabilities from accumulating.
What is SCA?
SCA is a code analysis tool that inspects source code, package managers, container images and binaries and lists them in an inventory of known vulnerabilities called a bill of materials (BOM). The software then compares the bill of materials with databases that contain information about common and known vulnerabilities, such as the US National Vulnerability Database (NVD). The equation enables cybersecurity teams to identify and resolve critical legal and security vulnerabilities.
Some SCA tools may also compare their inventory of known vulnerabilities to discover licenses associated with the open source code. Pioneering SCAs may also be able to:
- Analyze overall code quality (i.e. contribution history and version control)
- Automate the entire process of working with OSS modules, including selecting and blocking the IT environment if necessary
- Provide ongoing alerts and monitoring for vulnerabilities reported after an organization deploys an application
- Detect and map known OSS vulnerabilities that other tools cannot find
- Map legal compliance risks associated with OSS dependencies by identifying the licenses in open source packages
- Monitor new vulnerabilities
Any software development organization should consider using SCA for legal compliance and security. Secure, reliable and efficient, SCA allows teams to track open source code with just a few clicks. Without SCA, teams must manually track open source code, a near-impossible feat due to the staggering number of OSS dependencies.
How to use SAST and SCA to mitigate vulnerabilities?
Using SAST and SCA to mitigate vulnerabilities is not as easy as it seems. This is because using SAST and SCA involves much more than just pressing buttons on a screen. To successfully implement SAST and SCA, IT and cybersecurity teams must establish and follow a security program across the organization, an enterprise that can be challenging.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to do this:
1. Use the DevSecOps model
DevSecOps, short for development, security, and operations, is an approach to platform design, culture, and automation that makes security a shared responsibility at every stage of the software development cycle. It contrasts with traditional cybersecurity approaches that use a separate security team and a quality assurance team (QA) to add security to software at the end of the development cycle.
Cybersecurity teams can follow the DevSecOps model when using SAST and SCA to mitigate vulnerabilities by implementing both tools and approaches at every stage of the software development cycle. For starters, they need to introduce SAST and SCA tools into the DevSecOps pipeline as early as possible in the creation cycle. Specifically, they have to introduce the tools during the coding phase, during which time the code for the program is written. This ensures that:
- Security is not just an afterthought
- The team has an unbiased way of eradicating bugs and vulnerabilities before they reach critical mass
While it can be difficult to convince teams to use two security tools at once, there is a lot of planning and discussion. However, if teams prefer to use only one tool for their DevSecOps model, they can consider the alternatives below.
2. Integrate SAST and SCA into the CI/CD pipeline
Another way to use SAST and SCA together is to integrate them into the CI/CD pipeline.
Short for continuous integration, CI refers to a software development approach where developers combine code changes several times a day in a centralized hub. CD, which stands for continuous delivery, then automates the software release process.
Essentially, a CI/CD pipeline is one that creates code, runs tests (CI), and securely deploys a new version of the application (CD). It is a series of steps developers must complete to create a new version of an application. Without a CI/CD pipeline, computer technicians would have to do everything manually, resulting in less productivity.
The CI/CD pipeline consists of the following phases:
- Source. Developers begin to run the pipeline by modifying the code in the source code repository, using other pipelines, and automatically scheduled workflows.
- To build. The development team builds an executable instance of the application for end users.
- To test. Cybersecurity and development teams run automated tests to validate code accuracy and find bugs. This is where organizations need to integrate SAST and SCA scanning.
- Bet. Once the code has been checked for correctness, the team is ready to deploy it. They can deploy the app in multiple environments, including a staging environment for the product team and a production environment for end users.
3. Create a consolidated workflow with SAST and SCA.
Finally, teams can use SAST and SCA together by creating a consolidated workflow.
They can do this by purchasing advanced cybersecurity tools that allow teams to run SAST and SCA scans simultaneously with the same tool. This will help developers and the IT and cybersecurity teams save a lot of time and energy.
Experience the Kiuwan difference
With so many SAST and SCA tools on the market, it can be challenging for organizations to choose the right tools for their IT environments. This is especially true if they have limited experience with SAST and SCA tools.
This is where Kiuwan comes in. A global organization that designs tools to help teams discover vulnerabilities, Kiuwan offers both Code Security (SAST) and Insights Open Source (SCA).
Kiuwan Code Security (SAST) can enable teams to:
- Scan IT environments and share results in the cloud
- Find and fix vulnerabilities in a collaborative environment
- Produce customized reports using industry-standard security classifications to help teams better understand risk
- Create automatic action plans to manage technical debt and weaknesses
- Empower teams to choose from a range of encryption rules to tailor the importance of different vulnerabilities to their IT environment
Kiuwan Insights Open Source (SCA) can help companies:
- Manage and scan open source components
- Automate code management so teams can use OSS with confidence
- Seamlessly integrate into their current SDLC and toolkit
Would you like to know more about Kiuwan products? To get Kiuwan security solutions demos Today. Developers will see how easy it is to launch a scan, navigate our seamless user interface, create a remediation action plan, and manage internal and external code risks.
Content provided by Kiuwan.