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How to Reduce Risk with Runtime Application Self Protection

Instead of waning, cyber attacks continue to rise as the years pass. Several reasons contribute to this phenomenon, despite developing and deploying more robust network and data security platforms. First, the recent spate of disruptive cyberattacks hampering operations of organizations and government agencies proves that cybercriminals are becoming bolder in perpetuating their malicious activities.

These nefarious actors attack small, medium, and large corporations and organizations. Several attacks were publicized. Most of them are high-profile ransomware victims: Kaseya, JBS, SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline, Acer, AXA, and CAN Financial. Many of them opted to pay the ransom demand not to disrupt operations that can affect thousands of businesses and consumers.

The nagging question is why cyberattacks are happening more often today. First, attackers are getting more sophisticated. Second, many are organized hacking groups, while some are already identified as government-backed hackers. The increase in cyberattacks can be attributed to several reasons, namely:

  • The willingness of many victims to pay the ransom;
  • Increased use of unregulated cryptocurrencies, which are harder to trace;
  • Publication of cyberattacks enticed other hackers to try the activity themselves, taking the publication of the attacks as successes of cybercriminals– this turned into a get-rich-quick scheme;
  • Increasing numbers of people going online, especially amid the pandemic.

How to deal with cyber crimes

Being proactive is the first step in dealing with cybercrime. Organizations should be prepared and engage the services of cybersecurity experts now before they get hit by any form of cyberattack.

It is vital to get in touch with the cybercrime arm of the FBI, law enforcement agencies, and cybersecurity firms. Organizations must back up every piece of critical data they have and get insurance policies that cover cybercrimes.

Outside of these proactive steps, it is critical to protect your systems at the application level. One of these steps is to control application execution with runtime application self-protection (RASP) technology once a real-time intrusion is detected.

As organizations rely more on various applications, black hats are zeroing in on attacking these applications. They know that finding and exploiting app vulnerabilities has more chances of pulling off a successful attack. Another thing that favors them is that most apps are not tested from vulnerabilities at the development and quality assurance phases. Further, during production, almost all apps are not protected.

Thus, it has become a challenge for network security programs and experts to protect the apps. The runtime application self-protection is one of the effective ways since the application can defend themselves through real-time identification and blocking of attacks.

Demand and market size of apps protection

Runtime application self-protection technology quickly activates itself as soon as an application runs. The technology detects attacks on an app in real-time. As the application runs, RASP can start protecting it from malicious behavior by analyzing the app’s behavior and the behavior’s context. Using the app to monitor its behavior continuously, it can identify the attacks and quickly mitigate them automatically.

Although considered young in terms of usage, the market for RASP is already on the rise. In 2019, the market size was about US$5.4 million. The estimate is that from 2020 to 2025, it will grow at a CAGR of 46 percent.

Organizations use RASP to add another layer of self-protection to their applications and other app security technologies, like web application firewalls.

According to a market report, about 38 percent of the market is in North America in 2019, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific region because of the incidence of cyber-attacks on enterprise applications. RASP is flexible, and cloud deployment is growing. Stringent regulations regarding network protection increase the deployment of the technology.

There is also an increasing demand for container and serverless technologies. Globally, the market size for containers is expected to grow around US$4.98 billion in 2023. By 2025, the market for serverless architecture is expected to reach about US$21.1 billion. The increase in demand is attributed to these technologies’ cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and scalability once developing and deploying various applications.

But while these technologies are not immune to threats and risks, developers can increase the applications; defense through runtime application self-protection.

Benefiting from RASP

Organizations focused their cybersecurity strategies for years on infrastructure using firewalls. They monitored their networks to determine malicious traffic. As defenses for infrastructure improved, more cybercriminals shifted their target to application layers. However, system defenders faced many problems in protecting vulnerable applications. One reason is that many app developers do not know if their codes have vulnerabilities.

The security industry looked for solutions, and one that they found promising is runtime application self-protection, which can extend application security to operations.

The technology kicks in when malicious activity occurs to provide security as it resides on a server. RASP takes control of the application. First, it will sound an alarm in diagnostic mode. When it switches to protection mode, RASP will try to stop the execution of instructions sent to a database, for example, where there is an injection attack. It can also terminate the session of a user or alert the security personnel or user.

More organizations are aware that they need to beef up their security posture to protect themselves from cyber threats. Deploying RASP provides organizations with a host of benefits, particularly its capacity to work from within the application instead of remaining as standalone network protection.

  1. Reduction of dramatic false positives. RASP achieves this by making informed decisions, using its range of information from the application architecture and runtime execution in its static and dynamic views, respectively. As a result, in the majority of cases, RASP is correct.
  2. Strong protection even on zero days. Runtime application self-protection protects various types of security risks aside from SQL injections. It can protect against top threats, such as untrusted client activity, CSRF and SSRF, weak randomness, IDOR, and insecure deserialization, broken authentication, XXE, XSS,
  3. Easy to maintain. RASP is an add-on that you can install and forget. It’s cost-effective and requires no learning processes. You do not have to configure it, and there are no blacklists involved. Your applications protect themselves upon installation.
  4. Adaptability. Besides HTML, runtime application self-protection technology adapts to other application architectures like SOAP and JSON, RPC, or XML.

The takeaway

Despite the relative newness of runtime application self-protection, it can benefit developers, application security stakeholders, security leaders. RASP is excellent for systems that require a high level of security. It hunts for malware proactively in incoming traffic and prevents the execution of fraudulent calls. It closes the gap left by other network perimeter controls and application security testing. Its capability to identify threats at runtime that were missed by other security solutions.

Ehacking Staff
With more than 50 global partners, we are proud to count the world’s leading cybersecurity training provider. EH Academy is the brainchild of Ehacking, which has been involved in the field of training since the past Five years and continues to help in creating professional IT experts.

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