Variant Analysis – A critical step in handling vulnerabilities

DevSecCon London 2018 Speaker
18 Oct 2018
13:40 - 14:20

Variant Analysis – A critical step in handling vulnerabilities

With the increasing awareness and adoption of DevSecOps, organisations are beginning to fully understand the crucial role that security plays, integrating it into every part of the development and deployment process, from start to finish. New processes such as vulnerability disclosures & bug bounty programs, red team exercises, pen-testing initiatives and static & dynamic code analysis are putting security front and center. These initiatives are proving to be an incredible source for discovering previously unknown vulnerabilities, and fixes are generally implemented and deployed pretty quickly. However, this response is often not quite enough.

In software development, we frequently see the same logical coding mistakes being made repeatedly over the course of a project’s lifetime, and sometimes across multiple projects. Sometimes there are a number of simultaneously active instances of these mistakes, and sometimes there’s only ever one active instance at a time, but it keeps reappearing. When these mistakes lead to security vulnerabilities, the consequences can be severe.

With each vulnerability discovered or reported, if the root cause was a bug in the code, we’re presented with an opportunity to investigate how often this mistake is repeated, whether there are any other unknown vulnerabilities as a result, and implement a process to prevent it reappearing. In this talk, I’ll be introducing Variant Analysis, a process for doing just this, and discuss how it can be integrated into your development and security operations. I’ll also be sharing real-world stories of what has happened when variant analysis was neglected, as well as stories of when it’s saved the day.

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