Monitoring for Vulnerable Dependencies


Monitoring your software can sometimes be time-consuming and difficult, especially if you have to rely on software engineers to do it manually. That’s why automated vulnerability monitoring is so important. it helps you keep track of software vulnerabilities across your infrastructure without having to put too much effort or money into the process.

With the right tools, vulnerability monitoring becomes much easier, freeing up your engineers’ time and money for other things and making you more prepared against potential threats to your systems that can come from vulnerable dependencies.

What Are Vulnerable Dependencies?

Vulnerable dependencies are libraries (or modules or plugins) with known vulnerabilities. Keeping track of them is essential to ensure that your code doesn’t get hacked because you were using a vulnerable library.

Monitoring these vulnerabilities and keeping up-to-date on patches allows you to reduce your exposure to exploits. Here are some of our favorite tools Today’s Research: A malicious hacker could compromise an application running in your environment by taking advantage of one of many software vulnerabilities available today.

Security researchers at HP Fortify have published research showing how they managed to infiltrate an application and deliver remote code execution just by exploiting a single cross-site scripting vulnerability in one third-party web services library used by their target application.

The key finding from their research is that when it comes to third-party libraries used in an application, developers may not know what they’re getting into seemingly simple external web services can be quite complex under the hood, containing multiple different components & servers for specific operations such as user management & data processing, etc.

How To Get Started?

There are numerous ways to start monitoring your dependencies. A few of them include using a third-party service or creating your own. While monitoring vulnerabilities is important, it’s even more crucial to figure out how you’ll respond when an issue is found.

The first is in mitigating a vulnerability is knowing about it, so make sure you have a plan in place before any issues arise. Monitoring can save you from future headaches and disruption if an issue occurs with one of your dependencies don’t wait until there’s an issue! Get started today by putting together a plan that works for you.

What are the benefits?

By monitoring your dependencies, you can ensure that your applications are patched as soon as vulnerabilities are discovered. Otherwise, you could end up with a serious breach on your hands not to mention a PR nightmare. Not only does monitoring help you protect against vulnerabilities, but it also keeps track of less severe issues such as configuration errors. It’s far better to discover these things in test environments before they impact users.

If something like an improperly configured logging level or debug setting is giving people headaches, have it taken care of immediately. People should never see security-related failures if at all possible. The reality is that no system will ever be perfect and there will always be unanticipated bugs and conditions to deal with, but do everything in your power to minimize them as much as possible.

As its name suggests, vulnerability scanning tools scan target computers looking for particular types of software flaws especially weaknesses related to coding practices or defects that hackers might exploit when targeting systems with malicious intent. Ideally, administrators receive regular alerts from their vulnerability-scanning tool whenever new threats emerge so they can take appropriate action.

Monumental Effects Upon a Business’s Finances And Reputation

In 2014, Anthem suffered a data breach that resulted in more than 80 million records of customer information being stolen by hackers. In 2015, Home Depot suffered a breach that exposed 56 million credit and debit card numbers. These two hacks had monumental effects on their businesses’ finances and reputation. Monitoring your IT infrastructure is an important step towards keeping your business secure. If you have no monitoring system in place to watch out for potential vulnerabilities, it could cost you millions.

Here are some reasons why companies should install IDS/IPS or SIEM systems:

• A security monitoring system can alert you if something seems amiss with your network traffic.
• An attack can be carried out without detection by advanced persistent threats (APTs).
• An APT takes month to plan and execute; even if they get caught before they pull off any major heists, they still put a company at risk because they’re privy to so much private information.
• A good intrusion detection system will catch them as soon as they attempt to access your network.

How Do We Monitor for Vulnerable Dependencies at Warrington Apps?

At Warrington Apps we have a best practices team whose sole job is to make sure our software, particularly applications that run critical infrastructure is secure and reliable. One of our core practices is dependent monitoring: we make sure to monitor all external dependencies and check regularly that they’re still functioning properly.

Even if you have a lot of experience in development or security, it can be difficult to keep up with everything that’s happening out there. So today we’re going to look at how you can use monitoring and metric collection to ensure your apps continue working even when something changes outside of your control.

Monitoring Standards Company-wide

All companies should have a standard to monitor their current dependencies on all active projects. However, depending on your size or industry there are different levels of monitoring you should apply to Small Startups.

If you have limited funding and/or talent at your disposal then it might be wise to keep your monitoring efforts company-wide but within a strict budget. The main goal here is to ensure that new projects aren’t being developed with vulnerable dependencies from day one.

A Necessity for Security

The most important way to protect your data is to ensure that your software is kept up-to-date with security patches and new releases. Hackers and other malicious agents target unpatched systems as these give them an easy target. Monitoring repositories and alerting users when there are security vulnerabilities will help keep users safe from attacks. However, there’s a lot more to it than that.

If this post about monitoring vulnerable dependencies has given you food for thought then feel free to contact Warrington Apps for a chat.