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Software service for application code testing.

Veracode : 06 February, 2008  (New Product)
Online service for subscribers enables live detection of malicious code on application servers and the closing of backdoor entry to the system.
Veracode has announced the ability to test application code for the comprehensive detection of backdoors and malicious code. Veracode is the only company to offer application code reviews on a software-as-a-service subscription basis. Veracode's SecurityReview is the first solution to enable organisations to discover security flaws in software automatically, without releasing their valuable source code. Whether a company is buying or building software Veracode helps improve the security quality of applications without the need to hand over precious intellectual property by providing comprehensive identification and remediation of the security flaws contained in binary code, the very foundation of today's software applications.

The addition of the new backdoor detection capability further strengthens Veracode's position as a true trailblazer in the application security arena. Backdoors are often included in programmes by developers for seemingly legitimate purposes but are increasingly being exploited by hackers to compromise applications. Research from the US Department of Homeland Security points to a significant risk from backdoors and 23% of software packages used by US government employees have backdoors built into them.

'Backdoors and malicious code pose significant operational risk to enterprises and software that are just too significant to ignore," said Matt Moynahan, chief executive officer of Veracode. "Given the complexity of modern application development, the common practice of outsourcing and increasing use of third party libraries, it is nearly impossible for an enterprise to identify the pedigree and security level of the software running their business-critical applications and handling their customer's personally identifiable information. As a result, we expect backdoors and malicious code insertion to become an increasingly prevalent attack vector against the enterprise. Because the binary (compiled code) represents the actual attack surface for the hacker, testing the application binaries is the most accurate and complete way to conduct final, independent security validation and verification."

As the complexity of modern software applications increases, with components assembled from reusable binary components, backdoors can easily circumvent even the best of QA cycles, resulting in the need for a more complete and accurate approach to software security testing. Veracode's binary software testing, which provides 100% coverage as opposed to the partial coverage of today's source code-only analysis solutions, is uniquely positioned to tackle the backdoors and malicious code challenge by offering a complete, independent security verification of an entire software application.

On the back of extensive research, Veracode has developed the first comprehensive taxonomy of backdoors so that organisations and application developers can better understand how to detect these hidden threats. Veracode has found that the average time to discovery of a backdoor inserted in open source software was measured in weeks. Backdoors in commercial "closed source" applications went undetected for years, putting company and individuals' personal data at risk.

SecurityReview is now fully available in Europe.

• Special Credential Backdoors - These occur when an attacker inserts logic and special credentials into the program code. The special credentials are in the form of a username, password, password hash, or key which is usually hardcoded. Special credentials are also inserted by developers for the purpose of customer support or for debugging. These pose a similar risk since once they are discovered attackers can use them as a backdoor.

• Hidden Functionality Backdoors - These allow the attacker to issue commands or authenticate without performing the designed authentication procedure. Hidden functionality backdoors often use special parameters to trigger logic within the program that is not intended. In web applications these are often invisible parameters for web requests (not to be confused with hidden fields). Other hidden functionality includes undocumented commands, hardcoded IP addresses and/or leftover debug code.

• Rootkits - Rootkit behavior in an application can be a warning that a backdoor or other malicious code may be present. Typically Rootkits subvert functions of the operating system and are used to hide the backdoor. This helps attackers subsequently access the system and avoid detection.

• Unintended Network Activity - Unintended network activity is a common characteristic of backdoors. This may involve a number of techniques, including listening on undocumented ports, making outbound connections to establish a command and control channel, or leaking sensitive information over the network via SMTP, HTTP, UDP, ICMP, or other protocols. Occasionally this will be an intended feature of the software for use as a support mechanism but it can carry security and privacy risks and should be detected.
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