Organizations knowingly ship vulnerable code despite using AppSec tools

Nearly half of organizations regularly and knowingly ship vulnerable code despite using AppSec tools, according to Veracode.

ship vulnerable code

Among the top reasons cited for pushing vulnerable code were pressure to meet release deadlines (54%) and finding vulnerabilities too late in the software development lifecycle (45%).

Respondents said that the lack of developer knowledge to mitigate issues and lack of integration between AppSec tools were two of the top challenges they face with implementing DevSecOps. However, nearly nine of ten companies said they would invest further in AppSec this year.

The software development landscape is evolving

The research sheds light on how AppSec practices and tools are intersecting with emerging development methods and creating new priorities such as reducing open source risk and API testing.

“The software development landscape today is evolving at light speed. Microservices-driven architecture, containers, and cloud-native applications are shifting the dynamics of how developers build, test, and deploy code. Without better testing, integration, and regular developer training, organizations will put themselves at jeopardy for a significant breach,” said Chris Wysopal, CTO at Veracode.

Key findings

  • 60% of organizations report having production applications exploited by OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities in the past 12 months. Similarly, seven in 10 applications have a security flaw in an open source library on initial scan.
  • Developers’ lack of knowledge on how to mitigate issues is the biggest AppSec challenge – 53% of organizations only provide security training for developers once a year or less. Data shows that the top 1% of applications with the highest scan frequency carry about five times less security debt, or unresolved flaws, than the least frequently scanned applications, which means frequent scanning helps developers find and fix flaws to significantly lower their organization’s risk.
  • 43% cited DevOps integration as the most important aspect to improving their AppSec program.
  • 84% report challenges due to too many AppSec tools, making DevOps integration difficult. 43% of companies report that they have between 11-20 AppSec tools in use, while 22% said they use between 21-50.

ship vulnerable code

According to ESG, the most effective AppSec programs report the following as some of the critical components of their program:

  • Application security is highly integrated into the CI/CD toolchain
  • Ongoing, customized AppSec training for developers
  • Tracking continuous improvement metrics within individual development teams
  • AppSec best practices are being shared by development managers
  • Using analytics to track progress of AppSec programs and to provide data to management



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