Today, businesses of all sizes and industries rely heavily on software to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and improve customer experiences. In one workday, you will likely interact with various software applications to plan your day, communicate with colleagues and make purchases.
However, with the increasing reliance on digital platforms comes the threat of cyber attacks. Malicious actors are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in software that they can exploit for financial gain or to cause havoc. Between July and December of 2022, the number of cyber attacks reported to the Australian government increased by 26% compared to the previous six months.
For this reason, you should consider secure code review as a proactive measure to protect your software. In this blog, I’ll explore the importance of secure code review in defending against cyber threats and why your business must prioritise it.
What is secure code review?
A secure code review thoroughly examines software source code to detect and address potential security vulnerabilities or weaknesses.
An application security team will inspect the code line by line, looking for known or unknown vulnerabilities, verifying compliance with security standards, and recommending fixes.
By identifying and resolving security flaws early in the development process, secure code review helps prevent potential security breaches, promotes secure coding practices, and ensures the integrity of software applications.
1. Comply with industry regulations
Many industries, such as finance, healthcare, and e-commerce, are subject to strict regulations and standards that mandate the protection of sensitive data. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires organisations that handle credit card information to maintain secure coding practices to prevent data breaches.
Secure code review improves compliance with industry regulations by identifying and fixing security gaps that may violate regulatory requirements. By conducting a code review, application security experts can identify and address potential vulnerabilities that may violate regulatory requirements, ensuring the software meets the necessary compliance standards.
2. Identify security vulnerabilities early in the development lifecycle
One of the primary benefits of secure code review is its ability to identify security vulnerabilities early in the software development lifecycle. Application security experts can identify vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and cross-site request forgery (CSRF) – to name a few.
Addressing vulnerabilities early in the software development lifecycle is generally more cost-effective than dealing with them after deploying the software. Fixing vulnerabilities in production can be time-consuming, expensive, and disruptive to business operations.
A secure code review performed early in a project lifecycle provides developers with timelier feedback. By identifying vulnerabilities and addressing them during the initial stages of development, teams can save time, effort, and resources that would be spent on costly fixes and mitigation later on. Early feedback also enables developers to incorporate security best practices into their coding habits, fostering a culture of security-aware development and reducing the chances of future vulnerabilities.
3. Prevent known and unknown threats
Application security experts thoroughly analyse the codebase during the code review process, looking for coding patterns or practices that may lead to unknown vulnerabilities. They can identify potential security weaknesses, such as insecure data handling, lack of input validation, and inadequate error handling, which may introduce vulnerabilities.
Secure code review also plays a crucial role in identifying bug classes that might go undetected through other assurance activities, such as automated testing or penetration testing. By thoroughly examining the source code, reviewers can spot hidden vulnerabilities, insecure coding practices, and subtle logic flaws that may not be apparent in dynamic testing or other security analyses.
4. Minimise the costs of handling security risks later
A secure code review is a cost-effective approach to minimising security risks and avoiding costly security breaches. By thoroughly reviewing the codebase for potential vulnerabilities, cyber security experts can identify and remediate issues early in the software development lifecycle, reducing the likelihood of security breaches and associated costs.
One of the primary cost-saving benefits of secure code review is that it helps prevent security breaches before they occur. By identifying vulnerabilities during the code review process, security experts can address them promptly and implement necessary security measures to mitigate the risks. Early detection and remediation prevent potential security breaches that could result in data breaches, system intrusions, financial losses, reputational damage, and legal liabilities.
Also, the cost of remediating vulnerabilities during the development stage is generally much lower than addressing them after the software is deployed or released to production, where the costs of fixing vulnerabilities can be significantly higher.
5. Enhance software quality, reliability, and performance
Secure code review enhances software quality, reliability, and performance. Security experts ensure that the code aligns with best practices, adheres to industry standards, and follows secure coding guidelines, improving software quality, reliability, and performance.
Security experts can identify and correct issues such as syntax errors, logical errors, and coding mistakes that could negatively impact the quality and reliability of the software. Early detection and remediation prevent these issues from continuing, resulting in high-quality code less prone to errors and defects.
Secure code review is essential for strengthening software security. By engaging with cyber security experts, your organisation can ensure software quality, reliability, and performance while protecting against known and unknown threats. Implementing secure code review as a standard practice is a cost-effective approach to minimising security risks and avoiding costly breaches, ultimately safeguarding business assets and your reputation in today’s evolving threat landscape.
Why choose Galah Cyber to complete a secure code review?
When it comes to software security, relying solely on in-house code reviews may result in oversight or bias. Just like you can’t mark your own homework, you need an independent and second perspective to validate your codebase.
Galah Cyber offers a keen eye for identifying critical vulnerabilities in your applications, followed by practical and cost-effective steps to resolve any issues. Investing in secure code review from Galah Cyber can help ensure that your software is robust, secure, and resilient against cyber threats, providing peace of mind and protecting your business and customers from potential security breaches. You can book a free consultation to get started.