Huge amounts of apps are developing security flaws in their first year

Android developer at work
(Image credit: Christina Morillo/Pexels)

In their first year of existence, a third of apps (32%) carry security flaws, and by the age of five, this number grows to more than two-thirds (70%), new research has found. 

A new report from Veracode found businesses need to scan for flaws early, often, and in various ways, in order to minimize the chances of severe issues down the road.

The company analyzed more than three-quarters of a million applications across commercial software suppliers, software outsourcers, and open-source projects,  finding that after the initial introduction of flaws, the apps usually enter a “honeymoon period” of stability - almost 80% don’t introduce any new flaws for the first year and a half. 

Costly mistakes

After that, some devs start getting sloppy again, with the number of new flaws being introduced to the code climbing to roughly 35% after five years.

Ignoring to address security flaws early could result in huge costs down the road, Veracode says, citing recent reports that claim an average data breach now costs $4.35 million. 

Instead, developers should do a number of things to reduce the probability of flaw introduction, including developer training, and the use of multiple scan types - scanning via API included. 

The frequency of scans is also an important factor, the company added. Furthermore, they should tackle technical and security debt as early and as quickly as possible, prioritize automation and developer security training, and establish an application lifecycle management protocol that incorporates change management, resource allocation, and organizational controls. 

“Using a software composition analysis (SCA) solution that leverages multiple sources for flaws, beyond the National Vulnerability Database, will give advance warning to teams once a vulnerability is disclosed and enable them to implement safeguards more quickly, hopefully before exploitation begins,” said Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer at Veracode.

“Setting organizational policies around vulnerability detection and management is also recommended, as well as considering ways to reduce third-party dependencies.” 

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.