(W41M00) Pre-course Materials

Purple Teaming In JAVA

Introduction

    There is perhaps no topic of more timely importance than application security. Attacks could be costly, whether the attack comes from inside or out. As the web technologies evolve, security attacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent. Staying on top of the updated techniques and tools is one key to application security; the other is a sound knowledge in conceptual security practices and applying the same during software product development. It's crucial for developers and administrators to keep common security vulnerabilities in mind as they develop and deploy applications. Security-first programming is especially important, and you should not expect end users to be able to manage security threats effectively. Sure, you can blame your users for running untrusted code or disabling automatic updates but ultimately, the burden of writing secure applications lies with developers.

Purple Teaming during a software development process helps you to work on the offensive and defensive side of security, wherein a Security Expert could bring in the best security practices and define clear requirements on how to code an application securely. Out of a good design process, we need to have functional security requirements, such as forgot password workflow, change password feature, delete user, etc., that can be easily tested by a developer as opposed to non-functional requirements, such as parametrized query session management, CSRF token, or encryption mechanism, which requires security experts or penetration testers to use specialized tools during the testing process. Developers should conduct security testing to check whether features work as expected. Security checks should not be disabled – even as a ‘temporary’ fix in dev or test. Library designers should deprecate APIs not intended to be used anymore, improve error messages, and design simplified APIs with strong security defenses implemented by default. Also, Security Testers could help by creating automatic tools to diagnose security errors, locate buggy code, and suggest security patches or solutions. Security risks identified late in the development cycle are costly to fix and trigger several steps that delay application deployment, including: Isolating at-risk code, Patching, Refactoring, Testing. Secure Software Development Lifecycle is set up by adding multiple security-related activities to an existing development process.

Why

Most organizations have a well-defined process with the sole purpose to create, release, and maintain functional software. However, the increasing security concerns and business risks associated with software have brought increased attention to integrate security into the software development process, implementing a proper secure software development life cycle (SSDLC).

The major security concern has shifted to securing enterprise Java applications (including Spring Security). Specifically, Spring Security has taken up over 50% of the posts published every year on stack overflow. The Spring Boot framework was designed with a strong emphasis on security. At its core, the Java language itself is type-safe and provides automatic garbage collection, enhancing the robustness of application code. Spring Boot makes it easy to create stand-alone, production-grade Spring based Applications that you can "just run". Applications do not need to implement security themselves. Rather, they can use security services provided by the framework. An application may rely on multiple independent providers for security functionality. Example: Spring Security enables CSRF protection by default, and the corresponding token needs to be included in PATCH, POST, PUT and DELETE methods. Fail to do that, and things won’t work as expected.

 

We will analyze the different ways to Secure your Spring Boot application from a developer’s point of view and determine ways to use security tools efficiently to find bugs by writing custom extensions from a Security Expert’s point of view, thus contributing towards a blended approach of a Purple Team member.

 

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