Technology is at the heart of everything we do. However, digital reliance brings cyber threats. As industries lean more on software, an emphasis on cybersecurity in software development becomes paramount.
The current landscape of cyber threats
The financial implications of cybercrime are staggering. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2025, the annual cost of cybercrime will reach a jaw-dropping $10.5 trillion USD. But beyond the global statistics, local incidents bring the issue closer to home.
Take, for instance, the recent cyber-attack on Latitude, Australia’s largest non-bank consumer finance company. In March 2023, a hacker exploited privileged credentials from a third-party vendor, accessing Latitude’s systems and compromising the data of 7.9 million customers. Such incidents underscore the vulnerabilities present in software and the pressing need for robust security measures during software development.
Why cybersecurity is crucial in software development
Software security isn't just a technical concern but a foundation for trust and business continuity.
For greater data protection
Data breaches can expose sensitive information, from personal details to business secrets. Protecting this data is essential to maintain user privacy and safeguard intellectual property.
To maintain brand trust and reputation
Secure software instils confidence in users. Conversely, security lapses can erode trust and tarnish a company's image, making it difficult to regain user confidence.
Mitigate risk and financial implications
Beyond the direct costs of a cyber breach, there are legal liabilities, potential lawsuits, and the risk of long-term loss of business.
Ensure regulatory compliance
There isn't a single overarching cybersecurity standard in Australia, but there are several frameworks and regulations that businesses might need to adhere to depending on your business. For example, the Essential Eight, developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF), and the Australian Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018.
Security frameworks for software development
When developing software, it's important to select a suitable security framework to evaluate your app or web app. One of my favourites for developing smartphone apps is from OWASP, the mobile application security verification standard or MASVS.
MASVS helps you select an appropriate security control level based on the app's risk profile. For example, if your app contains financial or sensitive information, there's a verification level for that. If it's a game, you don't want people to crack it; there's a different level for that.
Static code analysis is also important. There’s no excuse not to run dependabot on your CICD to identify dependencies with known vulnerabilities. To go a step further, Nuclei is a toolkit you can configure to evaluate your code and stack against various security threats and vulnerabilities.
Software development teams
It is important to foster a culture of security in any business, especially in a software development team. Consider implementing company-wide privacy awareness and security awareness training. Test your development team's awareness by simulating phishing or other attack vectors.
To really commit to a culture of security, you need to step into the “Red team/Blue team” mentality, where developers are trained in penetration testing techniques and incentivised to find vulnerabilities in each other's code.
This commitment to continuous learning and security ensures that software remains robust against emerging challenges.
When seeking a quality development partner with a strong grasp on cybersecurity, consider the following:
- Continuous Training: Ensure they engage in ongoing training programs, keeping them updated with the latest security protocols and threats.
- Experience with Secure Development Practices: Developers should be familiar with secure coding practices and methodologies, such as OWASP's top ten vulnerabilities.
- Understanding of Regulatory Compliance: Knowledge of local and international cybersecurity regulations, like the Essential Eight, ensures the software meets necessary standards.
- Proactive Threat Analysis: Opt for developers who don't just react to threats but proactively seek out potential vulnerabilities in software.
- Collaborative Approach: Cybersecurity is a team effort. Developers should be adept at collaborating with security teams, QA testers, and other stakeholders to ensure a holistic approach to security.
Aligning with a team like ours, which embodies these qualifications and areas of expertise, ensures your software is innovative and secure.
Start making cybersecurity a priority
Integrating cybersecurity throughout the software development process is a proactive and cost-effective approach. We encourage businesses to assess their current software development practices, recognising the critical role of cybersecurity.
If you would like assistance developing, updating, or maintaining your website, app, or software, we are here to help. You can reach us at email@example.com or via our contact form.