Application Security Training for Developers: 3 Reasons Why They Should Think Like A Hacker

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Customer data, financial information, and access to highly sensitive intellectual property are all at risk during a security breach or cyber attack. As the frequency of cyber attacks mount, affecting organizations across every sector, it’s no surprise that executive leadership teams are classifying cybersecurity jobs as “essential.”

Well before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to work from home, employees with the technical skills required to respond to cyber threats were already hard to find. But the rise of events increased demand even more for positions such as software developers, vulnerability testers, network engineers, and cybersecurity analysts–but a background in software development alone simply won’t suffice.

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With the cybersecurity skill gap expected to increase over the next few years, here are three reasons why Developer Security Training will better prepare your developers from the sudden onset of data breaches and cyber attacks, according to Gyan Chawdary, Founder & CEO, Kontra (acq. by ThriveDX).

1. Identify security weaknesses earlier in the development process

Software developers are trained to create functional, scalable infrastructures, while hackers are self-taught to seek out vulnerabilities and destroy things in their path. Developer security training can better prepare a company when presented with these types of threats, not from the perspective of the developer, but the hacker.

By educating everyone involved in the software development process–from developers, to architects, managers and testers–organizations can reduce the chances of falling victim to today’s data security threats and attacks, and ensure that defensible applications are built from the start. Furthermore, acquiring the necessary skills in application security and ethical hacking can help identify security weaknesses early on and where to place the best security protections.

2. Help developers learn to create code that’s secure from the start

A common challenge with developers today is that most are not formally trained in security. This is a common issue across organizations so, not to worry. What software developers really need is a foundation and basic training in application security.

The most common problem with software lies in security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can be traced back to a bad decision made during coding and continue to rise because developers fall victim to the same mistakes, over and over again, tracing back to a poor design decision made early on. Creating code that is functional is also an important component in order to uphold the integrity of an organization’s code hygiene and overall security posture.

By offering foundational application security training, organizations can provide a quick and easy solution to help developers understand the basics of app security–something employees across every level and job function can benefit from.

3. Maintaining the security and integrity of apps

Exposing developers to the severity of security breaches and opening their eyes to the impact on their applications, begins with the concept of application security awareness. Basic security awareness training vs. application security awareness is a foundational layer that teaches the basics of application security, including security vocabulary, the business case for security, and the bad actors looking to compromise web applications.

Beginning with a layer of awareness training frames the problem and opens their eyes to the ramifications for the development and code decisions they make. By understanding these basics, software developers are primed with enough knowledge for the next phase, which will ultimately help them and the organization in the event of a cyber attack.

Gyan Chawdhary is the Founder and CEO of Kontra Application Security (acquired by ThriveDX’s SaaS division). Previously, Gyan founded and invented Codebashing, the industry’s first interactive application security training solution, which was acquired by Checkmarx in 2018.

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