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May 16, 2012


Application Security Back at the Beginning

By Marie Lingblom

Anonymous hackers, or “hacktivists” seem to get all of the headlines lately. This week it’s a self-described Chicago “communist anarchist” and “freegan” accused of gobbling up credit card numbers of hundreds of thousands of people, and using it to charge up more than $700,000.

The vast majority of cybercrimes, however, are still committed by people who hold no political manifesto. Most cybercrime is committed by crooks bent on old-fashioned reasons to steal from others—whether it’s money or a competitor’s intellectual property.

Take last year’s case of an A-list New York City real estate firm charged with hacking into a competitor’s network servers and stealing proprietary property listings. The competitor lost a reported $100,000 in commissions as a result of the hacking.

As online businesses, mobile and cloud computing continue to evolve, it’s clear businesses can’t rely solely on switches, firewalls and routers to protect their livelihoods. Security at the application level presents one of the greatest areas of risk. Vulnerabilities in this area creates obvious exposure for critical data.

And that exposure remains a top concern expressed by businesses leaders looking, for instance, to move critical applications such as e-mail to a cloud environment as a way of saving time, money and resources. But that may be commonly held because security has traditionally been applied after systems are already implemented and in place.

Many technologists and solution providers are advocating a more back-to-basics approach instead of assessments and approaches that are reactive, expensive and have clearly fallen short. For instance, integrating security testing into the application development lifecycle is one approach being embraced in the industry.
The idea is to build in security from the earliest development through test pilots and implementation. It’s not exactly a brand new approach, but one that has evolved from experience and is now being better molded to fit the needs of any organization.

Trends in application development security, cloud computing and other related topics are high on the agenda at IBM Next Now Conference in Orlando, June 3-7. Click here for more information about or to register for the IBM Next Now conference.

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