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2017-11 Three Ways of Security - OWASP London



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Translating the DevOps "Phoenix Project" "Three Ways" for security. Was recorded... will add link later.

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2017-11 Three Ways of Security - OWASP London

  1. 1. THE THREE WAYS OF SECURITY Jeff Williams Co-founder and CTO Contrast Security
  3. 3. 2. SOFTWARE IS LEAVING SECURITY IN THE DUST SOFTWARE SECURITY 2000 2010 2020 SASTDAST WAF •Typical enterprise has hundreds or thousands of applications •Applications are by far the leading cause of breaches (Verizon DBIR)
  4. 4. 3. SOFTWARE SUPPLY CHAIN SECURITY IS TOTALLY BROKEN Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct March 7 CVE-2017-5638 Disclosed, Apache releases fixed version March 8 We observed widespread attack probes Mid-May Equifax breach occurs July 29 Equifax learns of breach Sept 7 Equifax discloses, Four more Struts2 CVEs disclosed Equifax ignores Protected DisasterLivin’ la vida loca Prepared Equifax unaware
  5. 5. DIAGNOSIS: GOALS UNCLEAR, TIME WASTED What we are delivering: What we must deliver:  Right defenses in place  Defenses are effective  Attacks detected/blocked  “I ran a scanner” Application/API portfolioApplication/API portfolio
  7. 7. SO WHAT IS DEVOPS? https://itrevolution.com/the-three-ways-principles-underpinning-devops/ The “Three Ways” 1. Establish work flow 2. Ensure instant feedback 3. Culture of experimentation
  8. 8. Small batch sizes Tight feedback loops Swarm on problems Optimize for downstream consumers Produce awesome software
  9. 9. QUESTION: CAN DEVOPS HELP SECURITY? • Problem: software is poor quality, late, slow, and doesn’t provide business value. • Approach: DevOps • Outcomes: • 5x lower change failure rate • 96x faster MTTR service • 2x likely to exceed bus. goal • Problem: security is poor quality, late, slow, and doesn’t provide business value. • Possible Approach: DevOps • Required Outcomes: • 10x increase in portfolio coverage? • 80% reduction in vulns to prod? • 0x increase in time to market?
  10. 10. Static Analysis Dynamic Scanning WAF Pen Testing DEV OPS != SHOVING LEGACY SECURIT Y TOOLS AND PROCES SEC
  11. 11. The “Three Ways” of Security* 1. Establish security work flow • Build a concrete security story over time • Enable development to build security • Rip, mix, and burn security work 2. Ensure instant security feedback • Enable self-inventory • Get real application threat intelligence • Create security notification infrastructure 3. Build a security culture • Migrate to “positive” security • Accelerate evolution of your security story • Promote “security in sunshine” * Shamelessly adapted from The Phoenix Project, by Gene Kim
  12. 12. The First Security Way Establish Security Work Flow Optimize delivery of security work that is valued by the business
  13. 13. Business Security Projects Building defenses, compliance, reporting, etc… 1 Internal Security Work Threat modeling, security architecture, security research, vulnerability assessment, tools 2 Operational Security Jobs Remediation, updates, analytics, alerts, tickets, etc… 3 Unplanned Security Tasks Security “firefighting,” response, recovery, public relations, etc… 4 UMM…. WHAT IS SECURITY “WORK”?
  14. 14. * Shamelessly lifted from the Rugged Software Project Your security story maps threat model ➡️ defense strategy ➡️ defenses ➡️ assurance Making security concrete: • Enables communication • Aligns your team • Expose gaps and priorities • Creates line-of-sight FIRST WAY – BUILD A CONCRETE SECURITY STORY OVER TIME
  15. 15. Leverage existing DevOps processes and tools Refactor monolithic security tasks into small batch sizes. Deliver security one little piece at a time FIRST WAY – ENABLE DEVELOPMENT TO BUILD SECURITY
  16. 16. FIRST WAY – WORK ON BIGGEST THREATS, ONE AT A TIME Add a single risk to threat model • Create JIRA ticket: Prevent XXE Create defense strategy • Update JIRA Ticket • Standardize parser config • Log & block attacks Implement defense • XML library • Update training Establish continuous assessment • Research typical failures • Build custom test cases • Enable IAST XXE rule Establish attack protection • Enable RASP XXE rule Monitor DEV and OPS • Vulns go to JIRA with Slack alert • Attacks go to Splunk and VictorOps Do you really need security experts for all these tasks? XXE Updated Security Story
  17. 17. The Second Security Way Ensure Instant Security Feedback Establish tight security feedback loops across the lifecycle
  18. 18. SECOND WAY – ENABLE SELF-INVENTORY •You need to know the exact version of every app, api, and library running on every server in every environments •Not hard to fully automate self- inventory DEV Internal APIs ContainersPrivate Public Cloud OPS Automatic Application Inventory
  19. 19. SECOND WAY – GET REAL APPLICATION THREAT INTELLIGENCE Establish the infrastructure to… • Know who is attacking you • Know what techniques they’re using • Know what they’re targeting • … and protect within hours Equifax Attack
  20. 20. SECOND WAY – ESTABLISH A REALTIME APPSEC CONTROL PLANE PRODDEV TEST APIs ContainersPrivate Public Cloud APIs ContainersPrivate Public Cloud APIs
  21. 21. The Third Security Way Build Security Culture A culture that constantly advances security with the threat through experimentation and learning
  22. 22. THIRD WAY – MIGRATE TO “POSITIVE” SECURITY Testing for all the ways you might introduce XSS Testing to verify your XSS defense Measure positive security directly from your running application
  23. 23. THIRD WAY – ACCELERATE THE EVOLUTION OF YOUR SECURITY STORY Celebrate new big risks without recrimination Focus on strength and simplicity The faster you cycle, the faster you get secure
  24. 24. THIRD WAY – PROMOTE SECURITY IN SUNSHINE AppSec Visibility Cycle Audit Developers Infosec Legal Architects Users Research Business Monitor Threat Create Security Story Define Security Defenses Implement Security Defenses Share Intelligence Understand Laws Verify Compliance Understand Stakeholders We Trust We Blame We Hide
  25. 25. TRUST
  26. 26. “Don’t hate the playa Hate the game” -- Ice T BLAME
  27. 27. The first rule of security is… …You do not talk about security HIDE
  28. 28. The “Three Ways” of Security* * Shamelessly adapted from The Phoenix Project, by Gene Kim 1. Establish security work flow • Build a concrete security story over time • Enable development to build security • Rip, mix, and burn security work 2. Ensure instant security feedback • Enable self-inventory • Get real application threat intelligence • Create security notification infrastructure 3. Build security culture • Migrate to “positive” security • Accelerate evolution of your security story • Promote “security in sunshine”
  29. 29. CLOSING THOUGHTS – TURNING SECURITY INTO CODE •Don’t focus on how to build software securely… •Make software security into something you build!
  30. 30. Ask me anything. @planetlevel contrastsecurity.com LEADER Software Development Solution


  • Hi – My name is Jeff.
    For over 25 YEARS I’ve been trying to figure out software security.

    I’ve tried Orange Book, firewalls, formal modeling, penetration testing, maturity models,
    SDLC, policy, training, threat modeling, architecture, etc…
    And none of it has worked.
    And it ain’t gonna work unless we do some serious rethinking.
    Here’s how I know.
  • Here's what we have..
    Typical application totals over 2 million lines of code. 21% custom code, The rest is libraries

    But THIS MIGHT SURPRISE – ONLY 8.5% active library code. The other 70.5% totally unused libraries (DEAD)
    Library vulnerabilities are all in the news recently because of Equifax…. But there are usually only 1 or 2 vulnerable libraries in an app.
    And they are often in the 70.5% that isn’t used.

    But look at this…
    We are averaging a terrifying 26.7 vulns per app. THINK ABOUT THAT!
    If that was 1 or 2 per app it would be A DISASTER
    The vast majority of these are well understood problems. We lack the will to eliminate them.
  • Reason #2 – SAST/DAST/WAF were designed for a different type of software and different process.
    * These are tools for EXPERTS to tailor, train, and triage.

    Since then, Software has exploded with frameworks, cloud, containers, services/APIs... and most of all DevOps.

    Who here is building Single Page Apps with Angular or React in the browser, and APIs on the server?

    These tools are not going to help you. Dynamic Scanners can’t understand the complex payloads in REST requests with serialized objects, XML, JSON, etc… And Code Scanners can’t follow the complex frameworks used to handle those payloads.

    We are seeing massive adoption of DevOps across a wide range of companies.
    Every company is SOMEWHERE on their DEVOPS “journey”

  • Equifax was breached because they weren’t prepared to respond a vulnerability was disclosed in one of their open source libraries.

    Disclosure March 7.
    Attacks started a few hours after disclosure
    Equifax took months to respond --- but they only had hours.

    This is a totally expected understood problem.
    The typical organization has tens of thousands of libraries
    and there are hundreds of new CVEs every week.

    You must have the infrastructure in place to respond within hours.
  • Traditional AppSec wastes a lot of time and effort -- NO CLEAR GOAL!!
    Testing for SQL injection on apps without SQL database

    Making dumb decisions about how to prioritize
    Only looking at the “critical” applications
    Only seeing what tools are good at – NOT WHAT’S IMPORTANT

    STORY: The Bookshelf of PDF reports

    What we need to deliver is quite different!!!
    I want to be crystal clear about what we need to deliver, or else DevOps can't help us.
    This represents assurance!
  • Which brings us to DEV SEC OPS – the PuppyMonkeyBaby of IT.
  • This is a different talk. I strongly encourage you to read The Phoenix Project and really think about the “three ways” of DevOps.
    Really consider what it takes to get work moving, to make sure defects don’t snowball, and you keep innovating.

    I can tell you that almost every company I talk to is investing heavily in their DevOps initiative.
    All are at some point on their journey.

    And they all believe it is the future of their Digital Transformation.
  • I’m not going to try to defend this picture as a representation of DEVOPS.
    But in my head, this is what it’s like.
    I mean…this is not what my brain is like.
    Well, actually….. We’re off track.

    What I like about this is that are small batch sizes, lots of feedback, and no bottlenecks. Work is FLOWING.
    * The metrics are proving that this works for software…

    So, the question is….
  • There are striking similarities between the problems with Software Development that DEVOPS is solving and the problems SECURITY continues to have.

    So the question people are investigating is -- CAN DEVOPS help SECURITY?

    My thought is MAYBE... Just MAYBE.
    But it's going to have to deliver radically better results
    These are NOT A JOKE

    But what would it look like?
    I'm pretty clear on a few things that DONT WORK.
  • But it does a decent job of showing small batch sizes, continuous flow, tight feedback, etc…

    BUT WHEN you shove giant legacy AppSec practices into DEVELOPMENT, it breaks. Big BATCH sizes, lots of BOTTLENECKS.

    1. DevSecOps is NOT JUST automating the scan button
    Doesn’t work because the hard part of scanning is triaging all the findings to see if they are real vulnerabilities.
    You have to get experts completely out of the process – no setup, no triage

    2. DevSecOps is NOT “PUSHING LEFT”
    Yes left is cheapest, but legacy expert approach doesn’t work – no experts!
    AND -- really you want to push everywhere – check early and verify at each stage

  • So instead of trying to shove legacy security into devops…

    What if we “translate” the Three Ways for security work.
  • In "The Phoenix Project" Gene details four different types of IT WORK.
    It's a useful framework to think about SECURITY WORK.

    The most important type of security work is what the business cares about. Like building security defenses and compliance.
    Then there's INTERNAL SECURITY WORK. Like security reviews, threat modeling, security research, etc...
    Don't forget about the OPERATIONAL side of AppSec... Our visibility into who is attacking, what techniques they are using, targets is VERY WEAK.
    Finally, there's always the UNPLANNED work -- incidents, zero-days, etc...

    We have to get ALL of this work FLOWING
  • Most teams have security requirements, architecture, test cases, tools, threat models, etc… .ALL DISCONNECTED.
    Actually, they’re all different views of the same thing.

    At Contrast, we created a security story that captures:
    The key threats to our business (and customers)
    Our defense strategy for each threat
    Specific defenses that we selected
    Assurance that it’s all tested

    By making the security story CONCRETE, it’s a living deliverable that’s always up to date.
    If someone asks, how are we protected against SSRF, XXE, or Clickjacking…
    Either you have an answer and proof, or you don’t

    This is how you align your whole team on the same goals.
  • Remember all those types of work? Well we can refactor ALL of them into little pieces that mostly can be done by development teams.

    You don’t have to do a HUGE security architecture for EVERY kind of risk all at once.
    You don’t have to THREAT MODEL everything all at once.
    You don’t have to TEST everything

    1. break that work up and deliver the same (or better) results in little pieces.

    2. repackage and reframe that work SO THAT DEVELOPERS CAN DO IT.
    Without needing security experts. That’s how you SCALE.
  • Here’s how we achieve that at Contrast.

    INSTEAD of one gigantic security test at the END…
    We focus on our single biggest risk at a time.

    We treat these risks like most other work – we evaluate it and spec it out in JIRA.
    We implement it and create test cases
    Every risk we add improves us. We’re adding to our Continuous AppSec!

    Here’s an XXE example that basically we rely on STANDARD PARSER CONFIG. There’s nothing in this flow that requires security expertise.
    But most organizations have to rely on security experts to deal with XXE.

  • How do we make sure security stays on track as we go?

    Your testing is too slow, too inaccurate, and too wasteful.

  • The first thing you have to do if you want GREAT SECURITY FEEDBACK is to get your arms around
    EXACTLY what code you have and where it’s running.

    That’s developers machines, test machines, CI/CD machines, QA servers, and OF COURSE production. Data center, VM, Container, Cloud, etc…

    This is a simple thing to do – make sure your applications report themselves somewhere.
    Self-report all the libraries in use and exactly what version

    This is MANDATORY if you want to respond in hours not months.
  • There’s no better threat intelligence than what you collect from your own applications
    But almost every organization is totally blind to application attacks. A WAF is not a good sensor.
    Did you know that there was a huge uptick in Padding Oracle attacks last month?

    Many organizations focus entirely on code hygiene.
    I spent 15 years focused entirely on getting the code RIGHT, so that it couldn’t be attacked.
    I viewed runtime protection as a flawed ineffective approach.

    But the problem is that CODE HYGIENE is a flawed approach too. We’ve been trying for 20 years and the OWASP T10 hasn’t changed.
  • Here’s a typical organization – might be hundreds or thousands of apps or apis across DEV, TEST, PROD
    First, you enable your applications to Self-inventory, Self-assess, Self-protect
    They feed real time security telemetry from DEV, TEST, and PROD into the control plane – so you are always up to date about

    The second part is

    Everything works in parallel across the entire portfolio, without changing development processes, without slowing innovation.

    But JEFF – this isn’t an “SSDLC” – RIGHT. Security has no business telling development how to build their code. This is the security infrastructure you need to build it correctly however they work. Feed your security story into this and you are on your way.

  • Once you’ve got your inventory…
    Moving to “Positive” security is powerful.

    Let’s say that you’ve decided to use a particular escaping method for XSS.

    Or even better, you use APIs with UI generation in the browser. And you’ve chosen safe ways to update the DOM.

    It’s far easier to verify this approach than it is to verify ALL the possible ways this can go wrong. AND it’s WAY easier to AUTOMATE.

    I’m not suggesting that negative testing is wrong or bad, BUT it’s ICING – you can’t do it on the whole cake.
  • I think security is actually just the byproduct of constant challenges by “breakers” and adaptation by “builders.”

    This is how you build security OVER TIME. You don’t start from zero with every test.

    Make it okay -- not a culture of blame, fear, and secrecy. SECURITY IN SUNSHINE.

    At Contrast, we encourage everyone to challenge our security model.

    They can challenge the threat model, defense strategy, or our implementation.

    And if you want to get rugged faster…. INCREASE CYCLE SPEED!
  • Have you noticed that people inherently trust software?
    They trust open source code written by god knows who with their entire business
    They trust shit they downloaded off the internet because they used it before and everything was fine!

    So when something goes wrong, people are outraged!!!
    How could this happen. Someone must be fired.
    Blame is like acid rain on security culture

    And it leads to HIDING… People don’t disclose breaches (UBER)
    We are ashamed of vulnerabilities
    And the things we hide never get fixed! We are absolutely preventing progress!

    A DevOps principle is ”if something is painful, do it more often” – so Publish your vulnerabilities! Disclose breaches! Build a healthy kind of trust.

  • Problem #1 – We trust

    There is something about software that people are willing to trust until it is proven to be insecure. Even in the face of massive evidence that new technologies are very likely to have flaws, we instinctively move to new technologies.

    In fact, the Internet is the most trusted software environment of all time. Finances, healthcare, privacy, government, defense, energy…. Even if you don’t want to, you are trusting your future to billions of lines of code that you know absolutely nothing about.

    Which brings us to problem #2…
  • Problem #2: We blame

    Have you noticed that developers are not exactly enamored of security people? It’s not that developers don’t want to write secure code. And it’s not even that they don’t want help.

    No, it’s because many “security” people aren’t working towards improving security. It’s the focus on finding holes and parading them around that undermines our credibility. The idea that continually poking holes in things is likely to lead to the creation of secure things doesn’t pass the laugh test.

    Right when we need to combine our skills with those of developers to create secure systems, some are calling to make developers liable for security mistakes. This is probably the most most divisive thing we could possibly do.

    This blame is "acid rain" for security ecosystems. Which brings us to….

  • Problem #3: We hide security

    The natural reaction of developers who are getting blamed for security problems is to hide details. They naturally do not want to participate in the security process or share the information that is needed to make security decisions.

    As I mentioned there are virtually no applications in existence that provide a reasonable assurance case. That lack of information is a serious market failure that prevents buyers from using security as a buying criteria… and paradoxically makes it silly for vendors to sell secure code.

  • These are just EXAMPLES!

    Don’t forget the goal….
    Get security work flowing -- it’s way past time for security to actually deliver tangible assurance
    Create tight feedback loops – security should be instant… no more RISK REPOSITORIES
    Build security culture – kill blame and hiding!
  • It’s time we stopped fooling around.
    Get organized – define security, build it, and deliver it like anything else.

    Throw away your Security Maturity Model – it’s not helping because it’s measuring the wrong thing. Don’t measure your security processes against your peer’s security processes. They’re a different beast.


    Hopefully this was useful and gave you some ideas about how security has to change.
    I would love to take your questions.
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