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How is GitHub Helping Developers Build a Better AppSec Future?

The onset of the digital revolution means that online now comprises a lot of people’s time. That means tons of opportunities for applications to make themselves known. Of course, even the best apps in the world won’t be used if their security isn’t up to par. Something that gives discounts wouldn’t be worth it if it steals credit card information.

Now, more than ever, people are valuing application security. Both the consumer and corporations alike are prioritizing app security. Thankfully for them, plenty of communities online are advancing that industry. Specifically, the surprisingly. Generous community of GitHub. Today, we’ll talk about why GitHub is an essential part of a secure app future.

Why is GitHub Important?

GitHub is primarily a website about storing and maintaining git repositories independently of a computer. There are dozens of websites that do this, but GitHub is the most popular. Other developers can comment on the code, talk about vulnerabilities and make improvements in real time. Over time, the site evolved into a pseudo-portfolio site for developers everywhere.

Businesses can look up the GitHub projects of prospective developer hires. A GitHub portfolio showcases transparency and confidence in their own work. More importantly, it’s tangible proof of the work they’ve put in. GitHub’s importance lies in the community it fosters. A rising tide raises all ships, and GitHub is the boat throwing out lifesavers to struggling developers.

What Is Application Security?

In layman’s terms, these are the security measures used to protect an application’s data and code. Most popular apps are bound to have these security features by virtue of their popularity. GitHub is a great private repository for old versions of security software. In addition, GitHub offers tons of resources for developers to improve their application security know-how.

The Basic Tenets of App Security

Two-Factor Authentication
Whether it’s the user logging into the app’s functionality or a dev checking the back-end, the security needs to be standardized to two-factor authentication. That means in addition to a password, there’s also an extra step of an authentication code or text. It’s harder to break into a house with two doors as opposed to just one door, for example.

The first door is an easy-to-remember password, while the second should be limited to one’s email address, phone number, or an authentication app. This means people attacking the app need two things. Even if one is attained, it’s much harder to get two. That alone dissuades most attacks from even being attempted.

App Permissions

Once authenticated, the levels of authority must be established. Users should only ever see the front-end functionality of the application. Nobody should be playing Clash of Clans and suddenly find themselves in front of a dev window. Likewise, senior developers should have full access to every aspect of the app.

These permissions exist in a delicate balance. Too much access given to the wrong person spells bad things. At best, the app’s security is compromised and publicized. At worst, the app becomes unusable and data is held hostage. Permissions should be taken seriously, and doled out rarely.

Data Encryption

Even in the unlikely circumstance that data gets stolen, it’s still important for it to be secure. Once the frontline security measures have been breached, the data needs to be borderline useless for the hackers without encryption keys. Particularly, encryption keys that are only with the lead devs and business owners.

While encryption can be broken, it’s usually a time-consuming process. A process that ultimately gives authorities and the business time to track down the source of an attack. Remember, most tenets of security are based on prevention and delay. Make sure the worst doesn’t come to pass, or if it does, minimize the damage by delaying it.

Data Logging

As technology evolves, there’s a whole plethora of information to go through. It’s important that in the event of an attack, records exist for the authorities and security team. That means easier ways to spot things like fraud detection. Knowing where and when the attack happened is a crucial aspect of tech security. It’s also useful for making upgrades to the system in the future. For example, if the data logs reveal that a faulty authentication system was the cause of the breach, the devs can replace just that part of the system. No need for expensive overhauls (though of course, any changes made to a system are expensive in their own right). Don’t skimp on logging data every day.

App Testing

Security measures are all fine in theory, but they need to work in practice. Regular tests of the security features should be performed. For one thing, hackers are learning new ways to attack security measures every day. The onus is on the IT security team to keep up with their knowledge.

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