73% of Retail Applications Contain Security Flaws - and Only a Quarter Are Fixed
November 28, 2022

Almost three-quarters of applications in the retail and hospitality sector contain security flaws, but only 25% of these are fixed, according to the State of Software Security (SoSS) report v12 from Veracode.

Furthermore, 17% of these flaws are categorized as "high severity," meaning they pose a serious risk to the business if exploited. With 76% of Americans planning to shop the Black Friday sales on 25 November — and 56% planning to purchase entirely online — retailers should take extra care to reinforce the security of their ecommerce systems, digital payment platforms, and supply chains.

Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer at Veracode, said, "Maintaining customer loyalty and trust is priority number one for retailers, and this will be heightened during the Black Friday period. With the average cost of a data breach in the retail sector calculated at $3.28 million, implementing robust tools and practices to secure the applications customers use to browse and make purchases is imperative."

Despite the relatively low number of flaws that are fixed, the retail industry takes second place for overall remediation rate, highlighting the need for software security improvements from organizations across all sectors. Eng said, "Compared with other sectors, retailers are better at fixing flaws when they're discovered. While this is encouraging, it's clear more needs to be done across the board to integrate flaw identification and remediation into the software development pipeline so that vulnerabilities can be addressed more efficiently."

Server configuration, insecure dependencies, and authentication issues are the most common types of application flaws across most industries. The retail and hospitality sector follows a similar pattern; however, the sector has higher%ages in nearly every flaw category — perhaps due to the greater functional complexity of customer-facing and back-office applications.

Flaw Fix Times Fluctuate in Retail

Veracode analyzed three different scan types to generate industry comparisons for fix times: dynamic analysis security testing (DAST), static analysis security testing (SAST), and software composition analysis (SCA). Retailers were found to be the quickest to address flaws discovered by DAST, at 70 days to reach the halfway point, which is a staggering 46 days faster than financial services in second place. When it came to SAST and SCA, however, the retail sector fell to the middle of the pack, taking 346 days and 470 days respectively to reach the halfway fix point.

Across all industries, flaws in third-party libraries discovered through SCA persist for longer than those found through SAST and DAST, with 30% of vulnerable libraries still unresolved after two years. For the retail sector, that statistic rises to 35% and lags the cross-industry average by more than six months.

Nevertheless, retailers should be assured that the gap is never too wide to close. The report states that 92% of open-source flaws can be easily fixed with a simple update, which is good news for retailers looking to secure their software supply chains.

In the run-up to Black Friday, and nearly one year since the infamous Log4j vulnerability was first reported, retailers will be on high alert to maintain the speed, efficiency, and security of their applications. Businesses should take extra care to uncover vulnerabilities in third-party software using a combination of SCA and development tools.

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