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Using Cloud to Improve AppSec

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Testing 12-Factor Apps
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Using Cloud to Improve AppSec

A lot of focus has been placed on securing the cloud, but the cloud can also be used to help secure applications. Find out how the same principles that apply to building cloud scale applications can also be used to deploy test environments in the cloud that support application security testing. Never again fear that your automated security testing, penetration testing, and customer A/B testing will collide. This talk will cover how applications that abide by the 12 Factors (https://12factor.net/) are easier to test. It will also discuss how the extreme flexibility of cloud resources allows easy separation of different types of application testing, ensuring that security tests can be run without interfering with business objectives.

A lot of focus has been placed on securing the cloud, but the cloud can also be used to help secure applications. Find out how the same principles that apply to building cloud scale applications can also be used to deploy test environments in the cloud that support application security testing. Never again fear that your automated security testing, penetration testing, and customer A/B testing will collide. This talk will cover how applications that abide by the 12 Factors (https://12factor.net/) are easier to test. It will also discuss how the extreme flexibility of cloud resources allows easy separation of different types of application testing, ensuring that security tests can be run without interfering with business objectives.

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Using Cloud to Improve AppSec

  1. 1. Using the Cloud to Improve AppSec Phillip Marlow SANS CloudSecNext Summit 2021 Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. Case Number 21-1574
  2. 2. Disclaimers Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. Case Number 21-1574 ©2021 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The author's affiliation with The MITRE Corporation is provided for identification purposes only, and is not intended to convey or imply MITRE's concurrence with, or support for, the positions, opinions, or viewpoints expressed by the author.
  3. 3. Too Long; Didn’t Listen • Designing applications and services for the cloud helps achieve security improvements – even if the application is never deployed to the cloud • This makes applications more resilient against technical and environmental failures as well as attacks • It also improves the business’ ability to deliver on their mission
  4. 4. > iam list-roles • Developer • Systems Engineer • DevOps Engineer • Cloud Engineer • Security Engineer • Advisor • Manager • Architect • Hacker • Builder of Things
  5. 5. Why AppSec? • Everything is an application • Applications are core to the business, so their security should be too • Bad application security beats good add-on defenses
  6. 6. Typical Application Promotion Process Development.env Test.env Production.env Application v1.0 Application v1.0 Application v1.0
  7. 7. Application Development Process Development Test Production Application v1.0-katherine Application v1.0-jenny Application v1.1 Application v1.0-katherine Application v1.0-jenny Application v1.1 Application v1.1
  8. 8. Mature Application Deployment Process Development Test Production Application v1.0-katherine Application v1.0-jenny Application v1.1 Application v1.0-katherine Application v1.0-jenny Application v1.1 – instance 1 Application v1.1 Application v1.1 – instance N Test App2 v2.1 App2 v2.1 App2 v2.1
  9. 9. The Big Problem • Can multiple versions of an application be hosted in each environment? • This design creates choke points on work at each environment
  10. 10. Designing for the Cloud is Better • The Twelve-Factor App, developed by Adam Wiggins & Heroku • https://12factor.net/ Apps that: • Use declarative formats for setup automation, to minimize time and cost for new developers joining the project; • Have a clean contract with the underlying operating system, offering maximum portability between execution environments; • Are suitable for deployment on modern cloud platforms, obviating the need for servers and systems administration; • Minimize divergence between development and production, enabling continuous deployment for maximum agility; • And can scale up without significant changes to tooling, architecture, or development practices.
  11. 11. Twelve-Factor Alternatives • Microservices Reference Architecture from NGINX • https://www.nginx.com/blog/introducing-the-nginx- microservices-reference-architecture/ • Beyond the Twelve-Factor App by Kevin Hoffman • https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/beyond-the-twelve- factor/9781492042631/
  12. 12. I. Codebase • Partially solves the big problem of multiple deploys in an environment One codebase tracked in revision control, many deploys
  13. 13. II. Dependencies • Known dependencies are a start to supply chain risk management • No reliance on dependencies installed in the deployment environment makes it possible to scale the number of deployments and environments as needed Explicitly declare and isolate dependencies
  14. 14. X. Dev/Prod Parity • Independent tests results are applicable to the final deployment Keep development, staging, and production as similar as possible
  15. 15. XI. Logs • Integrate with cloud logging (e.g., CloudWatch) and SIEMs Treat logs as event streams
  16. 16. XII. Admin Processes • Reduced attack surface • Easier to monitor these risky events Run admin/management tasks as one-off processes
  17. 17. Wins • Tests can be run simultaneously AND independently • It’s easy to add another instance of an app or a whole environment • Applications are designed for easy integration with other tools, including cloud security platforms • Common operational patterns can be used to make the application more resilient against a variety of failures and attacks
  18. 18. Thank You! Phillip Marlow @wolramp

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