WAF (Web Application Firewall) has been the first line of defence when it comes to application security for a while now. Many organizations have adopted WAF in one form or the other and most cases, compliance has been the driver for adoption.
But unfortunately, when it comes to the efficacy of WAF in thwarting attacks, it has not lived up to the expectations. In most organizations, WAF has always remained in log mode with a little process to monitor and react, rendering the solution ineffective.
The major challenge with effective deployment of WAF is:
- Applications are unique, and there is no silver bullet set of rules that will protect them all,
- Most WAF’s do not try to understand the risk profile of the application; they end up providing common out of box vanilla rules that seldom works. Each application has its own intricacies and the out of the box rules that many WAF vendors provide create a lot of FPs (False Positives) or FNs (False Negatives),
- For proper implementation of WAF, there is a need to understand the context of the application and constant fine-tuning of rules to reduce FPs and FNs,
- But this is easier said than done. Fine-tuning of the rules need expertise, and its efficacy depends on how well the solution can understand the context of the application and how effectively rules can be tweaked to meet the applications need and act as an effective first line of defence.
Not many organizations have this expertise, with the constantly changing applications, in-house security team tends to take a reactive approach, and in case of any issues, they usually tend to open up the rules or move the rules to log mode, without understanding the consequences of making the entire solution ineffective.
Only way WAF deployments will work as an effective defence against attacks is to have it managed by experts who know what they are doing, and it cannot be a one-time activity, it needs to be constant monitoring and fine-tuning.
Welcome to the world of AppTrana – the only fully managed Application security solution.
How is AppTrana different?
AppTrana is the only solution in the market, as claimed by the company, that takes a more comprehensive approach when it comes to application security.
Unlike traditional vendors, AppTrana does not give default rules and ask the customer to manage them, instead it starts with understanding the risk profile of application through its detection module which scans the application for vulnerabilities, based on the detection, rules are written and tweaked to meet the application need ensuring there are no FPs with very little FNs.
The rules are tweaked by AppTrana’s security experts who have years of experience handling WAF security for thousands of sites, so they know what they are doing. And it does not stop there; the team of experts continuously monitors the security space and keep the rules updated, ensuring all zero-day vulnerabilities are immediately protected.
Not only that, in case of FPs due to any new changes in the application, the team would immediately tweak the rules to ensure the issue are immediately resolved without the need for opening up WAF and moving the rules to log mode. Generally, all application under AppTrana protection has its rules in block mode.
Under the hood:
Let’s look under the hood and see what kind of managed services do AppTrana actually provide.
Anyone who has used any application security testing solution will be aware that the biggest concern is the FPs. If scanners provide reports about vulnerabilities which are not present, then it could be very costly, as it might mean the application team is forced into a wild goose chase with no actual returns.
That said, it is the nature of application scanning that there will be some FP’s. If the solution tries to avoid all FPs, it will lead to FNs, which is more dangerous.
It is to solve this conundrum that Indusface has introduced POC. One might be aware of the term “Proof of concept,” Apptrana has extended this concept to vulnerability findings.
For vulnerabilities found by Apptrana scanner, customers can request for Proof of concept from the portal.
This request would be sent to our Managed Service team who would verify the vulnerability found and provide a proof for the presence of vulnerability.
They would provide screenshots and/or steps to reproduce so that proof is present that the vulnerability exists.
In case the vulnerability does not exist, the team ensures the alert is removed so that it does not show up in the next scan. This way, the FP’s are effectively weaved out without compromising on FNs.
A site that is onboard for AppTrana protection is onboard with Advance Rules in block mode. This means protection for the site will start immediately.
To avoid FP’s and disruption of normal service, any rules that we suspect that can be prone to FP’s are put in log mode at this point of time.
Once a site is onboard, a service request is sent to MSS team who would monitor the traffic pattern for 14 days and based on logs observed for these rules, will determine if these rules in log mode are triggered for any genuine users/requests.
If there are any cases, they tweak the rules specific to the application to avoid FPs without causing FNs. Once the changes are made, these rules are moved to block mode, and the site is considered to be under protection with Premium Rules. Users can check the status of this from the portal.
As the name goes, Only Premium customers are moved to Premium Rules.
As already mentioned, AppTrana helps you understand the risk profile of the site and then protect them. When a website is onboard, automated scans start immediately, and vulnerabilities found will be displayed in the detect page.
But the real value starts only after this, in the detect page customers can also see the protection status against these vulnerabilities. They will tell if the vulnerabilities are protected or not.
A green tick means the vulnerabilities are already protected. If they show a red icon as shown below, then it is not protected.
Customers can click on the protection status to know how vulnerability can be protected.
If you check the ‘Protected By’ column, you will see different icons:
- CR- Can be protected by Custom Rule
- AR- Can be protected by Advance Rule
- PR – Can be protected by Premium Rule.
Under the protection status, if they see ‘Applied,’ it means the rules are already applied.
In case a rule is not applied then ‘Custom Rule’ button will show up, in which case a customer can click on custom rule button at which point a service request will be sent to our Managed service team who would write a tailor-made custom rule for the site to protect against the vulnerability detected.
There is no need for customers to write any rule or have any expertise to understand the integrity of how rules need to be written.
Last but not least, the job of AppTrana’s managed service team never ends, our managed team continuously monitors the traffic, and in case of any abnormalities take necessary corrective actions.
The team also constantly monitors the security landscape for any new vulnerabilities (zero-day vulnerabilities) and continuously keep the security posture updated. The rules are updated continuously, and, on average, rules will be updated every week for any site.
Customers can track the monitoring activities from the monitoring page in the portal. In case of any FPs reported the team immediately jumps in and tweaks the rule ensuring business continuity without compromising security.
Get started with AppTrana’s fully managed application security solution with a 14-day free trial and experience its uniqueness first-hand.