By Felipe Ruiz | May 14, 2020
We recently published a post about 'DevOps.'
At the end of it, we asked about the inclusion of security
in this methodology of continuous integration and deployment.
Consequently, we refer to the emergence of the
But what does this term mean?
Let’s see. If we search on the Internet for a short definition, we find what is said in Gartner’s glossary:
DevSecOps is the integration of security into emerging agile IT and DevOps development as seamlessly and as transparently as possible. Ideally, this is done without reducing the agility or speed of developers or requiring them to leave their development toolchain environment.
Ok, that information might be enough. See you in the next post!
What? I was just kidding! Let’s talk a little more about it.
As we said, the element
Sec, referring to security, is added to
But to be clear, we don’t just add it anywhere,
we add it in the middle:
Security is then expected to play a significant role
alongside the development (
Dev) and operations (
DevSecOps is an evolution of
where security is understood and implemented.
But why the inclusion of security in this methodology?
Well, security in software engineering is still ignored by many. Others still see it as an obstacle that slows down the production process. But many others have come to see security as a necessity in an ample shared virtual space, where the intentions of a lot turn out not to be the best (you can read our posts on phishing and ransomware). The most attentive to this issue have been those wishing to maintain the prestige of their companies, which may be handling personal data of huge amounts of users.
We must be aware that user data and app functionality
can be put at risk by the presence of vulnerabilities
in code developed by programmers.
So, to avoid weaknesses and subsequent attacks on products,
security measures must be implemented from the early stages
in the software development life cycles (
It’s true that security tests usually have been carried out
just before the deployment of applications to the production environment.
But for many, this testing approach has been a burden.
What about those within the
who are continually creating features on their applications?
Are they investing time and effort in finding and detecting gaps in their code
just before each deployment?
If they are already within the
DevSecOps approach, the answer is NO.
When we say implementation in the early stages, as shown in Figure 2,
the security element has to cover the cycle from its beginning to its end.
In this approach, companies have to establish security requirements
(to be continuously verified)
that they must meet during the
These requirements can be based on system infrastructure assessments.
Such evaluations carried out manually and from the attacker’s point of view
detect potential security issues.
In other words, these assessments are intended to answer questions such as:
Where can hackers attack us?
What are the areas and information that we must protect the most?
What are the gaps that we must not allow in our applications?
What will be the countermeasures and solutions to establish?
Following those security requirements,
security checks for finding vulnerabilities are performed continuously.
These checks are carried out through automatic tools
combined with teams of security experts
that use their knowledge to detect security gaps,
keeping pace with
The use of these tools and human capabilities integrated into the pipelines,
makes it possible to minimize the number of the software’s vulnerabilities.
These weaknesses can be found early, while the code is under construction,
and their remediation can also be done promptly.
The timely activity of experts and tools,
which should generate continuous information logging and quick feedback,
allows companies to stay one step ahead of attackers
and maintain security control.
Caution: (1) Relying heavily on tools and their automatic work can lead to high rates of false positives and false negatives. For that reason, human experts' role is fundamental to achieve precision and avoid developers wasting time confirming if vulnerabilities are real. The main risk is the existence of false negatives or escapes. Organizations may not be aware of certain security vulnerabilities that current technology is unable to identify. (2) Perform the security checks gradually, starting with high-priority areas, trying not to overload the developers with work as they are usually responsible for closing the gaps.
Now, to have a clearer idea of the role of security within
let’s briefly outline what Oscar Prado, Cybersecurity Analyst,
shared with us about what
Fluid Attacks does for its clients.
Our company offers continuous hacking services,
a constant search for vulnerabilities or gaps in
But although some tools are used in this process,
Fluid Attacks, our reliance on tools is for specific cases
that support our hackers' activities,
contrary to what other companies do.
Here we place more value on the knowledge and skills of ethical hackers
to ensure greater accuracy in testing.
Their work can begin
"from the moment the first commit is uploaded by developers,"
with every new change being reviewed.
That work can continue after the application has been deployed to production.
When a vulnerability is detected in the client’s code,
a member of our team can develop a personalized script called 'exploit,'
associated with the finding.
That exploit "automatically checks if the analyst’s finding persists."
Therefore, "if the customer wants to make new changes to her product,
she must fix the finding first," because if she doesn’t,
the exploit will continue reporting the presence of the vulnerability.
Then, according to a configuration by our team, it will break the build,
and the deployment process will be automatically stopped.
"This way, security is prioritized, and our security testing
is integrated into the client’s
SDLC," Oscar concludes.
Fluid Attacks has solved a significant challenge
as we are convinced that speed without precision is useless.
Therefore, we have combined the best of each end:
technology and knowledge that produce a good balance
between speed and precision.
Many cybersecurity companies offer fast, automatic tools
that are highly prone to false positives and negatives
when searching for vulnerabilities.
Fluid Attacks has recognized that
there must be human work involved in these processes
to ensure accuracy and efficiency.
Fluid Attacks has not forgotten the value of speed
but has always kept it in parallel
with high-quality testing and excellent results.
It is curious that when we spoke with Oscar,
he didn’t use the name
He moved security to the left.
Having security in the beginning
—although it may be strange in practical terms,
that is, not having developed anything before—
may actually be a "well-intentioned principle,"
according to Tischart in one of his posts.
SecDevOps, perhaps more emphasis is placed on
initially establishing security requirements
to be followed through testing processes
carried out continuously in the
Regardless of the name we give
to the inclusion of security into the
within this new business culture,
security is expected to play an essential role
in software production and maintenance from the beginning.
It is intended that all those involved in the projects
—regardless of their skills—
know and apply security; that’s why they need training.
Bear in mind that just as in
there shouldn’t be separate teams by function but by product.
In the end, everyone must be responsible for security.
Companies that decide to implement the
(or, perhaps better said,
SecDevOps) will achieve significant benefits,
especially in the quality and security of their processes and products.
Would you like advice on how to do it? Get in touch with our team!
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