As the demand for tailored software increases, so do the risks associated with custom software development. Security risks in software development can result in significant consequences for businesses, including data breaches, loss of reputation, legal implications, and financial losses.
This article discusses the typical security threats related to developing custom software.
Security Risks In Custom Software Development
Authentication ensures that the user accessing the system or data is authorized. Weak authentication is one of the primary security risks in custom software development.
This includes easy-to-guess passwords stored in plain text, where length and complexity requirements aren’t enforced. It also includes systems that don’t require multi-factor authentication for higher security.
An injection attack is one of the common risks requiring developers to follow custom software development best practices.
Injection attacks happen when malicious input is entered into the application, causing the application to execute unintended commands. The attack includes SQL injection, where malicious code is entered into SQL commands, allowing attackers to view or edit database content.
Cross-site scripting (XSS) occurs when attackers input malicious code into the application that executes on the client’s browser. This can allow attackers to hijack user sessions, steal sensitive information, or perform unauthorized actions on behalf of the user.
Improper Handling of Sensitive Data
Confidential information, including user data, personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets, and intellectual property, makes software development a high-stakes affair. It is software security best practices to keep those sensitive data safe.
Developers must ensure that sensitive data is handled with the utmost care and protection. Developers should prioritize data security by adopting secure coding practices, including access control measures and encryption protocols, and employing secure storage mechanisms such as hashing.
Additionally, they must implement appropriate auditing methods to track and monitor data access, usage, and modification within the system.
Failure To Address Secure Communication
Data transmission across network-based systems is another concern for software development teams.
Data may be intercepted, manipulated, or disclosed during transit when communication between different parts of a system and devices is not encrypted.
Developers must adopt secure communication protocols, such as TLS or SSL, to protect data in transit. They should also ensure that the encryption keys used for communication are properly managed and updated regularly.
Lack of Input Validation
Input validation testing ensures that inputs the software receives are within an expected range, formatted correctly, or don’t contain malicious code. The developers should keep watch for this software security best practices.
Failing to validate input exposes the application to SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and other injection attacks.
Not So Necessary Functionality
Having any unnecessary components in the application can increase the risk to the system. This could come from unused features, modules, or libraries vulnerable to exploitation. Developers must ensure that their software has a minimal attack surface to reduce the number of potential vulnerabilities.
Inadequate Error Handling
Error handling is essential as it helps users understand why an error occurred and what they can do to resolve the issue. However, if error messages are not appropriately handled and presented, attackers can use them to exploit the application. They can also gain access to sensitive data.
Unreliable Third-Party Libraries and APIs
Many custom software development companies use third-party libraries and APIs to enhance the software’s functionality. However, these third-party libraries and APIs introduce the risk of vulnerabilities, particularly if they need to be maintained and kept updated. Developers require due diligence to ensure library dependencies have security patches and updates.
Incomplete updates pose a security risk when developers fail to update components that have known vulnerabilities. Such vulnerabilities allow attackers to take advantage of patched security holes in your system.
Custom software development companies or organizations must implement robust security measures to mitigate potential risks. A thorough security assessment of the application can identify and fix issues before release.
Furthermore, developers should keep up-to-date with the latest security best practices, apply strict access controls, and implement proper data encryption to ensure data remains secure.