Netsparker Ltd., a company in the web applications security industry, has released survey results showing that most software developers make themselves easy targets for hackers, even when they are behind a corporate firewall. The primary reason is not that their web server software is out of date, however. Instead, it is largely the result of developers running vulnerable web applications on their computers even when they are protected by a firewall, therefore jeopardizing a corporation’s network and data.
While firewalls are essential for security and protecting sensitive data, they are not a one-fix solution for vulnerable web applications. Unfortunately, many assume that security measures like firewalls are enough to prevent “bad actors” from getting inside a developer’s web browser.
Propeller Insights conducted the recent survey of web developers for Netsparker from July 5-7, 2017. The objective was to understand how and why web applications development environments – regardless of size, location or vertical market served are so inviting to “bad actor” mischief.
The research effort and analysis look at the level of risk and developers’ roles in making the job of hackers easy when it comes to stealing or compromising mission-critical enterprise digital assets even before they are generally available internally and externally.
The survey of U.S.-based software developers, sampled from a broad cross-section of vertical markets, government entities and organization sizes, found:
– 81 percent of respondents run their software on a web server
– 89 percent claimed they keep their web server software up to date
– 52 percent say they run vulnerable/undeveloped web applications on their server
– 55 percent are running web apps in development on servers directly connected to the internet
– 32 percent admitted to hardening the web applications on their test environment
“These statistics should be no surprise to anyone,” said Netsparker CEO Ferruh Mavituna. “Yes, developers are patching their web servers, but they are still running vulnerable web applications, which is what makes them a target. Fifty-two percent admit that they run vulnerable half-developed web applications on their web server. That’s worrisome, especially since 55 percent claim that these same web applications can be connected directly to the internet.”
The survey findings illustrate the reality that enterprises approach securing their digital assets based on a holistic approach focusing on value creation, testing and dissemination processes. Indeed, while much web security and broader IT risk management attention is paid to the protection of the web servers, the failure to address vulnerabilities in software development processes and practices poses as much, if not greater, risks.