Moving Toward Better Security Testing of Software for Financial Services

by Steve Kosten

The financial services industry (FSI) maintains high-value assets and typically operates in a very complex environment. Applications of all types–web applications, mobile applications, internal web services and so forth–are being developed quickly in response to market pressures by developers with limited security training and with relatively immature processes to support secure application development. This combination presents a juicy target for attackers, and data shows that the FSI continues to be a top target. Attempts to introduce security into the application life cycle frequently face challenges such as a lack of available application security expertise, concerns about costs for tooling, and a fear among product owners that security processes might impede the development cycle and slow their response to market conditions. This paper explores why the applications are being targeted, what is motivating the attackers and what some inhibitors of application security are. Most important, this paper specifies some best practices for developing a secure development life cycle to safeguard applications in the FSI.

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