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September 18, 2012

Majority of firms faced a web application security breach in last 18 months: study

The companies are yet to deploy secure development practices

By CBR Staff Writer

Web application security incidents have become increasingly common with the majority of companies experienced at least one breach in the last 18 months, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of development testing company Coverity.

The study found that the majority of firms are yet to adop secure development practices, most often citing time-to-market pressures, funding and the lack of appropriate technologies suitable for use during development as their primary roadblocks.

According to the study, 18% respondents put their losses at over $500,000 while another 8% saw losses in excess of $1m and two reported losses of over $10m.

The study found that 71% respondents lacked the right security technologies suitable for development and 79% said security processes cannot scale with the volume of code they produce.

About 41% respondents said time-to-market pressures prevented them from pushing security into development and 71% said they lack the funding to invest in security.

The study revealed that 42% of respondents follow secure coding guidelines, only 28% use a library of approved or banned functions and 26% utilise threat modeling.

According to the study, only 17% test during the development cycle and more than half do not audit their code before integration testing.

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The top three challenges to working with current web application security tools include the lack of integration with their current development environment, the need for too much security expertise and high false positives.

In the study, some security practitioners agreed that integration was a primary challenge, but none believed security tools were complex or required too much expertise to use.

Coverity VP of Marketing Jennifer Johnson said that it’s clear that security practitioners and developers aren’t speaking the same language when it comes to application security, and this is leading to very costly consequences for companies.

"Application security begins and ends with development," Johnson said.

"Developers need to be part of the solution but the industry won’t solve the problem until security is incorporated into the development process with technologies and processes that developers can understand and adopt."

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