Vulnerable Web Applications Make Web Developers an Easy Target - Even Behind a Firewall
August 03, 2017

Ferruh Mavituna

Most software developers make themselves easy targets for hackers, even when they are behind a corporate firewall, according to a new survey from Netsparker Ltd.

The primary reason is not that their web server software is out of date, however. Instead, it is largely the result of developers running vulnerable web applications on their computers even when they are protected by a firewall, therefore jeopardizing a corporation's network and data.

While firewalls are essential for security and protecting sensitive data, they are not a one-fix solution for vulnerable web applications. Unfortunately, many assume that security measures like firewalls are enough to prevent “bad actors” from getting inside a developer’s web browser.

The survey of US-based software developers, sampled from a broad cross-section of vertical markets, government entities and organization sizes, found:

■ 81 percent of respondents run their software on a web server

■ 89 percent claimed they keep their web server software up to date

■ 52 percent say they run vulnerable/undeveloped web applications on their server

■ 55 percent are running web apps in development on servers directly connected to the internet

■ 32 percent admitted to hardening the web applications on their test environment

These statistics should be no surprise to anyone. Yes, developers are patching their web servers, but they are still running vulnerable web applications, which is what makes them a target.

Fifty-two percent admit that they run vulnerable half-developed web applications on their web server. That’s worrisome, especially since 55 percent claim that these same web applications can be connected directly to the internet.

The survey findings illustrate the reality that enterprises approach securing their digital assets based on a holistic approach focusing on value creation, testing and dissemination processes. Indeed, while much web security and broader IT risk management attention is paid to the protection of the web servers, the failure to address vulnerabilities in software development processes and practices poses as much, if not greater, risks.

About the Survey: Propeller Insights conducted the recent survey of web developers for Netsparker from July 5-7, 2017.

Ferruh Mavituna is CEO of Netsparker Ltd.
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