Mitigate Your Java Code Security Debt

The article Mitigate Your Java Code Security Debt first appeared on Intertrust Technologies.

What is security debt?

“Technical debt” a metaphor invented by agile programming pioneer Ward Cunningham, describes the deficit created by unresolved issues during initial software development. If this “debt” is not repaid by improving the code, it ends up becoming a significant burden and a potential obstacle to the progress of the program.

One aspect of technical debt that is receiving increasing attention is security debt. Security debt refers to an accumulation of vulnerabilities that go unpatched during development, typically due to a lack of sufficient security planning in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). While this can save development time up front, the security debt must be paid off at some point. And, as the debt burden continues to mount, it becomes even more difficult to protect programs and data.

With security debt, the future cost is not just the price of development work or delays, but the risk of security breaches, loss of consumer confidence and regulatory fines.

Why is Java code security an issue?

Invented by a team at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s, Java’s unique portability to multiple platforms has made it the programming language of choice for developers. He stays one of the most popular coding languages ​​in the world, with most android apps based on Java as well as countless desktop and server applications. Most businesses use at least one Java application, often as a strategic asset.

Java offers many advantages to developers and software vendors: it is a high-level language with simple syntax, its object-oriented structure makes it easy to create modular programs and reusable code, and Java applications are highly portable and safe. perform practically everywhere. However, considerable problems exist with the security of Java code. While the Java development platform itself contains a lot of security features, coding always carries the risk of introducing vulnerabilities. The ubiquity and popularity of Java applications means plenty of opportunities to introduce security holes. It also means that the security of Java code comes under more scrutiny than other languages ​​from attackers looking for ways to break down application defenses.

One of the main weak points in Java code security is open source libraries. Most Java applications include dozens of library dependencies. In fact, a recent report by Veracode found that third-party code is 97% of a typical Java application. Because many of these libraries contain vulnerabilities and known issues, security issues tend to proliferate among vendors and applications.

How attackers exploit security vulnerabilities in Java code

The popularity of Java components and the profusion of vulnerabilities mean that nearly 90% of Java applications are vulnerable to attacks. Vulnerabilities in Java code have been implicated in some of the biggest data breaches, such as the Equifax breach that lost records to 143 million Americans. Other examples of attacks that can be attributed to Java code security weaknesses include:

  • ApacheStruts2: Similar to the Equifax breach, this vulnerability in a Java web application framework endangers thousands of applications.
  • Use Java to bypass antivirus software: By writing malware in Java, attackers can bypass antivirus protections deployed to launch various attacks.
  • Bouncy castle: A vulnerability in a widely used Java cryptographic library facilitated the brutal hashing of passwords with Bcrypt.
  • Supply chain attacks: Open source components are popular for speeding up the development process, with 1.5 trillion download requests in 2020. Unfortunately, 10% of all open source Java components contain vulnerabilities.
  • PonyFinal: A ransomware attack that exploits flaws in the Java runtime environment to execute its attacks.

Intertrust improves the security of Java code

Many organizations do not have the resources to pay off the Java code security debt that their applications hold, or even to meet the interest. This is especially true for legacy software where it quickly becomes impossible to address even critical vulnerabilities. Often, these applications are fundamental to a company’s core business, so they cannot be easily removed from the technology stack, but they represent a major source of risk.

Code vulnerabilities can be exploited to steal confidential data, abuse system resources, interfere with operation, as a starting point for further attacks and other malicious activity. Since it is impossible to eliminate every vulnerability and design flaw, it is essential to protect your Java applications from attacks.

The protection solution integrated into the Intertrust application, whiteCryption Code Protection, supports all Java applications including those running on Android, Linux, Windows, and other traditional platforms. Code Protection incorporates several multi-level defense mechanisms into your software to mitigate the risks associated with Java code security vulnerabilities, including:

  • Inviolability: Burglary protection, such as overlapping checksum verifiers, which constantly check the integrity of an application to ensure that its code has not been changed.
  • Debugging protection: Our debugging protection allows applications to recognize when they are executed through a debugger so that they can take defensive action.
  • Prevention analysis: a number of defense strategies can be deployed to thwart attempts to reverse engineer the code of an application, including advanced code obfuscation and environmental controls.
  • Binary packaging: In this policy, an application’s code is only decrypted at runtime, which means that hackers cannot perform static analysis on it.
  • Customizable defense responses: When an attack attempt is recognized, you can schedule the application to take specific defensive actions, such as blocking access to the account, stopping the execution of the command, or data deletion, depending on the threat level.

Whether you are in the development stage or retroactively resolving your Java code security debt, whiteCryption easily integrates into your current build processes without increasing development time.

To learn more about how Intertrust WhiteCryption Code Protection can harden your Java applications, read more here Where contact our team.

*** This is a syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog from Intertrust Technologies – Security Blogs written by Juris Olekss. Read the original post at:

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