Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 8
A blog series by WhiteHat Security
May 13, 2019

Eric Sheridan
WhiteHat Security

In the previous blog of this WhiteHat Security series, the Twelve-Factor App looked at exporting services via port binding and included advice on what to apply from a security point of view.

We now move on to Step 8 of the Twelve-Factor App, which recommends scaling out via the process model discussed in Step 7.

Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 1
Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 2
Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 3
Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 4
Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 5
Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 6
Start with Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 7

Defining Concurrency in the Twelve-Factor App

A simple explanation for this factor is to picture a lot of little processes handling specific requirements, such as web requests, API calls, or sending tweets. Keeping all these working independently means that the application will scale better, and you’ll be able to manage more activities concurrently.

According to the Twelve-factor app, processes are a first class citizen, in which processes take strong cues from the unix process model for running service daemons. Twelve-Factor goes on to say that by using this model, the developer can architect the app to handle diverse workloads by assigning each type of work to a process type. For example, HTTP requests may be handled by a web process, and long-running background tasks handled by a worker process.

Applying Security to Step 8

The security challenge to this step is that the ability to scale requires paying attention to APIs that are known to introduce Denial of Service issues. One such API is known as "readLine". Implementations of this method are available on almost every software development platform and yet is subject to Denial of Service. "readLine" will continuously read bytes from a given input stream until a newline character is found. Assume the attacker controls that stream… what if the attacker never provides a newline character? What will happen? More often than not, this will result in errors and stability issues stemming from memory exhaustion.

Two simple processes can be implemented to strengthen the security posture of this step:

1. Ban DoS-able API i.e. Document relevant DoS-able API for your platform (such as readLine) and ban them

2. Resource Closure i.e. Expose simplistic patterns to facilitate closing of I/O resources (e.g. scope)

In the next blog we will cover Step 9, Disposability, which is all about maximizing robustness with fast startup and a graceful shutdown, and what this means from a security point of view.

Read Security and the Twelve-Factor App - Step 9

Eric Sheridan is Chief Scientist at WhiteHat Security
Share this

Industry News

November 24, 2020

Red Hat announced new capabilities and features for Red Hat OpenShift, the company's enterprise Kubernetes platform.

November 24, 2020

Sectigo released Chef, Jenkins, JetStack Cert-Manager, Puppet, and SaltStack integrations for its certificate management platform.

November 24, 2020

DataStax released K8ssandra, an open-source distribution of Apache Cassandra on Kubernetes.

November 23, 2020

Spectro Cloud has released a new, self-hosted version of its flagship product, Spectro Cloud.

November 23, 2020

GitLab completed integration of Peach Tech, a security software firm specializing in protocol fuzz testing and dynamic application security testing (DAST) API testing, and Fuzzit, a continuous fuzz testing solution providing coverage-guided testing.

November 23, 2020

Fugue announced the availability of its SaaS product in AWS Marketplace, further simplifying the process for Amazon Web Services customers to use Fugue to bring their environments into compliance quickly, demonstrate compliance at any time, and Shift Left on cloud security.

November 19, 2020

Rollbar announced AI-assisted workflows powered by its new automation-grade grouping engine.

November 19, 2020

Buildkite expanded its integration with GitHub and introduced a new onboarding experience.

November 19, 2020

Rancher Labs launched a new Partner Program for the OEM and embedded community.

November 18, 2020

Puppet announced its evolution to an integrated automation platform to enable key business initiatives such as scaling DevOps, risk reduction, policy as code, and evolving cloud strategies.

November 18, 2020

Adaptavist has joined the GitLab partner program as a Select partner.

November 18, 2020

Postman launched the beta version of public workspaces, a hub that makes it possible for both API producers and consumers to seamlessly communicate and collaborate in real time without team or organizational boundaries.

November 17, 2020

Red Hat introduced new capabilities for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat OpenShift intended to help enterprises bring edge computing into hybrid cloud deployments.

November 17, 2020

Humio announced the availability of the Humio Operator.

November 17, 2020

Accurics announced that Terrascan, the open source static code analyzer that enables developers to build secure infrastructure as code (IaC), has been extended to support Helm and Kustomize.