What You Need to Know About Security for Python, Ruby, and Node.JS

By: Mike Milner

Software development organizations are embracing dynamic platforms such as Python, Ruby on Rails, and Node.JS because of the imperative to develop and release applications quickly. These organizations need effective web application security solutions that safeguard against vulnerabilities without slowing down release cycles.

For non-dynamic languages such as .NET and Java, organizations can turn to static code scanners. But the effectiveness and availability of such tools for platforms such as Python, Ruby, and Javascript (Node.JS) is not up to par.

In fast-moving, agile development shops, application security risks are often higher due to the increased pace of development. Code is changing continually, usually without the necessary security controls. Continuous releases heighten the urgency for solutions to address code security at all stages of development, testing and release. In this scenario, static scanners often fall short.

Static Technologies Don’t Work with Dynamic Languages

Static application security solutions generate significant amounts of false positives, and their support for dynamic languages is limited. These legacy solutions are complex to configure, and it can take months of configuration and tuning before they function effectively at scale. It’s not uncommon to spend 20 man-days tuning a tool for just one application. Customers deploying these solutions to secure apps built in Python, Ruby, or Node.JS are left hoping the risks don’t outweigh the rewards.

Your Applications Already Have Vulnerabilities (Potentially Severe Ones)

There is almost always technical debt in projects, and quite often it is “security technical debt.” While engineering teams focus on getting features and functionality out the door, they can easily end up running an unsupported or vulnerable version of a component inside your applications. What’s more, even when you manage to identify vulnerabilities in your applications, now you have to address them, and that can take months―particularly if you started the security bug finding process late in the project’s lifecycle.

With both known vulnerabilities and hidden zero day vulnerabilities in every project, it’s vital to have a solution that protects you from the get-go. RASP is the fastest application security technology to deploy to gain visibility into threats and vulnerabilities as they happen, and effectively render them unexploitable in real time.

Dynamic languages like Python, Ruby, and Node.JS (Javascript) are best served by runtime security technologies such as RASP. Unlike static source code scanners:

  • RASP technology works with dynamic languages
  • Offers protection and automatic remediation against the most advanced threats
  • Identifies the relevant vulnerabilities, with very low false positives
  • Doesn’t require dedicated or specially-trained staff or long tuning/customization efforts

RASP Offers an Inside-Out View of Vulnerabilities

RASP augments solutions like pen testing by providing an ‘inside-out’ view of vulnerabilities, as compared to the ‘outside-in’ view that pen testing offers. With RASP, you learn which line of code the vulnerabilities identified reside in, you can validate the vulnerabilities’ severity, get details about the payloads that succeed, and automatically render these vulnerabilities unexploitable.

And unlike Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), RASP solutions can be deployed in “protect” mode quickly, with very low false positive rates. Also, unlike with WAFs, there is no need for dedicated staff or niche skills to be developed to maintain and troubleshoot complex rules.

Want to learn more about how RASP web app security solutions can protect web applications, critical business data, and customers? Check out our whitepaper, Real-time Web Application Security.

Originally published at www.immun.io on October 6, 2016.

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