How to Secure Financial Services Applications

Technology has radically transformed the financial services industry over the past decade, ushering in a new ecosystem of digital payment platforms. Good evidence of this development is the rapid growth of payment service Venmo, which processed $159 billion in payments in 2021, a 59% year-over-year increase. While this growth is remarkable, it is not the only measure of growth we should be concerned about. Consumer and business expectations are also increasing dramatically.

That said, higher expectations have created the “need for speed,” forcing development teams to build and iterate apps at a faster pace. But that haste presents a serious challenge to the development organizations building them – especially around security. At the heart of this innovation in financial services are application programming interfaces, or APIs. APIs connect microservices within banking applications and facilitate operations. This makes APIs a prime target for hackers to exploit. And as the number of applications and connections increases, so does the API attack surface. When you couple that with developers working faster, likely sacrificing code quality in the process, the risk of a breach multiplies.

In the IBM Security 2021 report, the average cost of a financial services security breach is estimated to have reached $4.24 million. But there are also other costs that cannot be easily compiled since the repair is based on a longer period of time. For example, the time it takes to rebuild an organization’s reputation and trust with third-party vendors, consumers, and investors cannot be measured over a short period of time because it takes years.

Then there is the issue of compliance. Any serious breach of compliance will result in levels of control that will also take several years to recover. This review will slow down operations and also include substantial regulatory fines. And let’s not forget the operational pain of staff turnover. AppSec developers and staff worried about their personal reputations or the frustrations of expensive monitoring will likely jump ship.

So how can your organization avoid this scenario?

The best place to start is to test and de-risk early in the app and API development process. This is called a left shift approach. By actively testing APIs during the development process, developers reduce upfront risk and eliminate the headache of fixing design flaws once they’ve been exploited. Forbes’ Peter Klein fleshes out this idea in the third section of his blog on banking APIs.

With security and testing built into every stage of the API development or DevOps process, a left-shift approach ensures developers will monitor for vulnerabilities throughout the lifecycle. Left-shift principles enable security teams to increase developer autonomy by providing support, expertise, and tools while providing the required level of oversight. Developers can release more secure code at scale, build API security into the design, and make fixes early in the development process instead of scrambling to fix them later. And code testers are able to evaluate features as they are built and help ensure better quality.

Does Noname Security offer this level of testing?

Yes, Noname Active Testing proactively secures APIs by eliminating vulnerabilities before code reaches production. We automatically run over 100 dynamic tests that simulate malicious traffic, including against the Top 10 OWASP APIs. You can streamline testing with role-based access controls, so only the right teams can access APIs for testing. Pretty cool, right? We thought so too. If you think you could benefit from a solution like this, I encourage you to learn more about Noname Security Active Testing here.

*** This is a syndicated blog from the Noname API Security Blog Security Bloggers Network written by Ed O’Connell. Read the original post at:

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