Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)

The great benefits of Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) for Mobile Apps

Today, security is typically implemented from the outside in. In most cases, this involves defining a virtual perimeter around apps or valuable assets, before bringing in security tools to defend it. Despite the fact that cyber criminals have been finding ways to puncture holes in these perimeters for years, many businesses still believe that an adequate cybersecurity lies in building a better wall.

This is something that research has pointed out. According to Gartner, organisations spend more than 20 times as much on protecting the perimeter than on the apps themselves. With the mobile threat landscape constantly evolving, mobile becoming increasingly pervasive in our daily lives and the number of available apps growing rapidly, simply protecting the perimeter is no longer sufficient.

A change in thinking is required: every app should be self-aware and self-protecting, and protecting apps from the inside out needs to move further up the agenda.

Protecting apps presents a series of challenges. In all likelihood, they could reside on a device not owned by the enterprise that has created them, meaning that they operate outside of corporate perimeter protection. These devices could, for example, be using insecure, out-of-date operating systems, or malware could already be residing on the device.

To help tackle these issues, enterprises should be aiming to implement a new form of app protection. This is where the concept of Runtime Application Self-protection, or RASP, comes in. RASP Security involves protecting apps from the inside out, by adding security that can be part of the app’s source code.

The protection measures offered by RASP include one or more of the following elements:

  • The ability to terminate user sessions
  • The ability to terminate an app without affecting other apps on the server or device, or at least identify a misbehaving or compromised app
  • If an app is compromised, an alert is sent to a management console or directly to the user
  • The ability to inspect application logic flow and data flow
  • The ability to connect to the application runtime processes and environment

In most cases, RASP tools support a variety of programming environments, including Java, Objective C and Swift, along with most common development frameworks. Some tools are designed largely for desktop apps, while others can handle apps running across a wider range of desktop and mobile operating systems.

One layer of many

It is important to note that RASP technology, while a hugely important part of any mobile security strategy, should not be your sole security solution. A layered approach, which incorporates RASP at the runtime level, provides a holistic framework which grants the best possible protection to apps.

Due to the fact that it operates at the app level, RASP can complement other security layers, rather than compete with them. Perimeter-oriented solutions, while not offering the granularity of protection provided by RASP technology, can still operate in tandem with a RASP solution.

As Securosis has said, “There is absolutely no reason you can’t run RASP alongside your existing WAF. RASP solutions are much more effective at attack detection than web application firewalls because they actually see what’s really happening, and can more effectively apply security controls.”

The benefit is two-fold: businesses can implement a highly effective security solution, without having to dispense with any traditional systems they already have in place.

The great benefits of RASP 

Natively integrating RASP technology ensures complete integrity of your mobile apps and protects sensitive data and high-value transactions from fraudsters.

Business Benefits:

  • Defeats targeted attacks. RASP is a proactive security solution against zero-day and other targeted attacks, allowing mobile business apps to run securely, even on infected devices. If a hacker attacks, RASP will either block the foreign code from working or shutdown the application if a threat to data integrity exists.
  • Quick to deploy. RASP provides an automated implementation process. Once integrated, RASP sifts through the business logic, event and data flows of the application, before binding itself to existing code. This allows organizations to quickly release RASP-protected apps, without affecting the development timeline.
  • Protects multiple business apps. Because RASP is not bound to one app with one business logic, it allows for effective scaling across multiple apps of the organisation while maintaining an optimal user experience (UX).
  • Meets strict compliance requirements. Regulations across different regions often require advanced levels of security. RASP provides a powerful tool for businesses to address compliance goals that include preventing cybercrime and personal data theft.
  • Improves fraud detection. RASP data can be utilized by risk management platforms for the most accurate detection and prevention of attacks by performing extensive analysis that scores the risk of the mobile device.

Our Runtime Application Self-Protection technology detects malware, man-in-the-app (code-injection) and jailbreaking/rooting before the application even loads on the device, securing the app from both known and unknown attack vectors.

How does RASP secure applications?

RASP wraps around the application code to create a shield against foreign code injection. Even if a device becomes infected with malware, our RASP technology will detect and block that code from running. Malicious system components, such as Screen-reader or Keyboards on Android, are detected and blocked from accessing user’s input, including login credentials.

Securing mobile apps across all industries

Mobile app use is increasing across every industry from banking to gaming, thus application security has never been more important. Hackers are targeting these unprotected applications with a focus on banking and gaming to steal and profit from valuable user data.

Summary

It is clear that mobile presents a range of security challenges for businesses. Hackers are continuing to hone their craft, and have a fertile hunting ground on which to search for prey, thanks to the rapid proliferation of apps and mobile devices.

To stay ahead of the rapidly evolving threat landscape, RASP technology can be a highly effective way of guarding apps, and therefore your sensitive data and positive reputation. When properly implemented, RASP provides a level of protection that traditional solutions cannot offer, in a way that minimises the impact on pre-existing systems.