This security checklist aims to give engineering teams a list of DevSecOps security best practices they can follow to help with the implementation of DevSecOps.
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Apply security policies to APIs
Approach the API security from both the consumption and exposure perspectives. Manage identity, security keys, and tokens, certificate policies, authentication and authorization policies. Do not forget to log and audit keys, policies and logs stores.
Authenticate and authorize API users
Prevent API parameter tampering, attacks and hijacks
Tampering enables the reverse engineering of the API, such that it exposes data or become vulnerable to DDoS attacks. Protecting them ensures that your web, cloud and mobile applications are secure and safe. Monitor the APIs, infrastructure and external services to detect and prevent DDoS attacks.
Secure all the transmission paths
Secure your APIs
APIs enable interaction and sharing of data between applications and therefore more exposed and prone to security risks. Secure all the APIs the company consumes as well as those it exposes to the public. Use encryption to protect request information in transit while limiting the amount of information in the API error messages.
Use RBAC to manage access to resources and operations
The Role Based Access Control (RBAC) is a flexible process that simplifies the tasks of assigning users and developers the access rights to resources. Instead of assigning each individual user specific rights, the administrator creates roles which can then be given to a group of users. This is useful in organizations with many users to manage and where there is need to control the API use.
Validate input data, content types, and responses
Validate all data to prevent application layer attacks. Ensure safe input data from users, database systems, external sources as well as infrastructure. In addition, perform integrity checks as data crosses the boundary between a trusted and a less trusted environment. This ensures that compromised data does not enter into your systems.
Automate all processes
Automating security, configuration management, testing and other tasks reduces the workload for the teams while providing a faster way of doing things. Automate functionality and non-functional security tests; application, infrastructure and configuration security tests, as well as application logic security tests.
Generate actionable alerts when there are issues
Deploy a tool that notifies the team when there is an issue. This should have the ability to send actionable alerts to the relevant people.
Make security part of the entire development process
Integrate security early in the development and throughout the whole cycle. Give its requirements the same weight as the functional requirements. This involves adding security controls, processes, as well as automating the core security tasks in the workflow. This enables developers to address any vulnerability, hence provide secure and resilient software.
Monitor the processes, infrastructure, and apps
Gathering real-time intelligence enables you to make better decisions, and accurate enforcement. Collect and analyze relevant metrics, events logs and machine data to gain real-time insights across the application lifecycle and hence the opportunity to fix issues, earlier, faster and at little cost. SumoLogic
Test security throughout the development cycle
Make security testing an integral part and a continuous process of the entire app development cycle. Perform tests on applications, APIs, containers, data, processes, and microservices. Address all flaws during the development process since it is easier and less costly.
Automate data policy management
Use an automated policy enforcement to manage the data lifecycle and flow. Create audit logs before and after any security issue. Address all the audit and compliance issues.
Automate security tasks and practices
Use existing DevOps tools to automate some security functions. For example:
Combine common tools with a continuous security monitoring platform.
Automate security testing and protection
Perform automatic security scanning for vulnerabilities in the code, infrastructure, and applications. Use a security solution that can detect and block attacks, such as SQL injections, NoSQL injections, and XSS. The solution must have the ability to secure your on-premise and cloud systems from external attacks that can potentially compromise the apps and overall security.
Block attacks and unusual behavior
Monitor all traffic to detect and block unusual behavior, including access violation, abuse of functionalities, DDoS and others. This helps to prevent any kind of external or internal attack.
Complement automatic testing with creative manual tests
Automatic testing scripts may fail to recognize or identify visual issues that a human eye can pick up. In addition, a human tester will interact with the software and discover if there are usability or interface issues. Another challenge is when the automated tests scripts contain errors or bugs that give false negatives or positives.
Deploy post-production protection best practices
Automate scanning and collects the application level metrics upon deployment. You can use a tool such as Chef to automate the configuration management as well as the provisioning of the runtime environment. Use runtime protection solutions to harden your application code.
Limit the attack surface
Integrate protection and detection measures in the architecture to limit attack surface, reduce exposure and consequently internal and external threats. Focus on high-risk areas such as web forms, internet facing code, access control and session management codes, data from external sources and other entry points that interface with external networks.
Protect the entire environment and data
You need to secure the development and operational environment, code, processes, operating systems, and applications. Besides the code, ensure that you have adequate protection for all the data, infrastructure hardware and software.
Use security best practices and tools
Observe the standard security best practices. Reduce the attack surface (harden the infrastructure and services), encrypt your data, and communications channels, filter and block bad traffic and malware. Don’t forget to perform regular security audits, logging and analyzing events and assesses.
Use security tools that continue to evolve
The security solutions must keep pace with changing application environments and infrastructure. These should have the ability to protect the system and automatically send alerts when there is a security issue.
Automate infrastructure configuration and management
Automate and simplify the configuration and management of servers, infrastructure, compliance, and applications. Use tools such as Puppet, Chef, and Azure Automation Desired State Configuration and other DSCs. For example, Chef is an infrastructure as a code tool that can automatically provision an environment, apply security settings and deploy apps.
Gather metrics to gauge success
Collect and act on security and compliance information from on-premise and cloud environments. Use both the high-value, and supporting metrics, to get insights and determine the effectiveness of your security processes.
Harden Cloud Deployments
Cloud environments can provide a secure infrastructure if implemented properly. Review the teams and individual roles and permissions. Only give them access to only what they need to perform their jobs. Enforce two-factor activation for those requiring more permission. Check the security groups, standard AMIs, IAM roles, MFA tokens, etc.
Isolate Dockers and Kubernetes
Secure and isolate the containers early, often and continuously. Isolate and segment containers using tools such as Apparmor, Seccomp, SELinux. Create isolation layers between different applications as well as between applications and hosts. This reduces the host’s surface area hence restricting access and protecting it as well as the co-located container.
Perform threat modeling exercise
This identifies the design flaws and components that are at most risk, and should provide the security teams with the opportunity to prioritize and address flaws according to their impact. In particular, the threat modeling helps the teams to understand the type of assets they are protecting, the sensitivity levels, potential threats and their impact.
Secure and harden the containers
Follow best container security best practices. Secure authentication and authorization. Inspect, scan, and provide file, image and container security. Use private registries such as GCR or quay. Also, build from trusted and verified container images.
Secure and monitor the entire physical and virtual environment
Secure your entire infrastructure including on-premise and cloud environments, networks, CI/CD pipeline, code, data, operating systems, and software. Use sustainable processes and tools to identify and block internal and external attacks, malicious traffic and files.
Check employee security behavior
Simulate a criminal attack in a controlled way to identify and fix real-world vulnerabilities. Use on-premise attacks to test desktop security and visitor controls. Use red teaming to identify vulnerabilities and their impact on businesses and employees.
Do a spear-phishing campaign
Perform a spear-phishing campaign to test employees’ behaviors and responses. You can also try hacking your employees in a controlled manner to assess and address internal risky behavior and preparedness.
Encourage secure employee behavior
Implement data protection program that combines security best practices and user education. Create awareness for employees towards improving personal security and preventing attacks such as spear-phishing incidences. Always update and patch operating systems and application software and preferably automatically.
Code security into apps
Create secure code from the start of the production all the way to the finished application. Ensure that security is integrated into the code instead of adding it as an afterthought. This requires involving the security teams throughout the development process. Keeping the code and implementations as simple as possible avoids complexities that may compromise security.
Continuously review code at every stage
Review the code and standards at each stage to ensure that they comply with security best practices. Use SAST and DAST to analyze code, and other automatic tools to track dependencies and scan all third party and open source codes. Perform pre-commit, commit-time, build-time, test-time, and deploy-time checks in your CICD pipeline.
Introduce chaos in the comfort zone
Use chaos to tests the preparedness of the systems to respond to security threats under unfamiliar operational environments. Run scripts to randomly shut down server instances, take down containers in a random manner, disrupt some services, or create unexpected outages in the applications and infrastructure. This helps the teams to provide a moving target defense that protects the systems in a wide range of conditions.
Scan and secure open source code and software
Continuously scan and secure all the open source components of the code. Also, create an inventory of open source software or codes and ensure that they are always up to date and secure.
Start a threat analytics program on your code
Use threat modeling, penetration tests, and vulnerability testing to confirm that your code is secure. Determine the number of severe vulnerabilities, and how long they last before resolving. Analyze the frequency and scope of automated tests as well as the number and type of attacks on your applications.
Develop a strong security culture
A strong security culture among developers, operations, and security is essential. Develop openness, clear communication pathways, as well as strong feedback loops. Additionally, shift the security responsibility to all the teams as opposed to the traditional approach where this was solely the work of the security department.
Develop Security-as-Code culture
Introduce security-first mindset without affecting the agile practices the developers rely on to produce apps. Encourage the developers to add security to the code as they build the applications.
Provide training and tools to developers
Ensure that the developers have the required training, support and tools to perform their tasks efficiently. You should also promote knowledge-sharing and decision making process among the different departments to promote team autonomy.
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