Red Hat blog: containers last mere moments, on average

You probably already knew that most of the containers created by developers are disposable, but did you realize that half of them are only around for less than five minutes, and a fifth of them last less than ten seconds? That and other fascinating details are available in the latest annual container report from Sysdig, a container security and orchestration vendor.

I mention that fun fact, along with other interesting trends in my latest blog post for Red Hat’s Developer site.

Red Hat Developer website editorial support

For the past several months, I have been working with the editorial team that manages the Red Hat Developers website. My role is to work with the product managers, the open source experts and the editors to rewrite product descriptions and place the dozens of Red Hat products into a more modern and developer-friendly and appropriate context. It has been fun to collaborate with a very smart and dedicated group. This work has been unbylined, but you can get an example of what I have done with this page on ODO and another page on Code Ready Containers.

Here is an example of a bylined article I wrote about container security for their blog.

How to protect your mobile apps using Zimperium’s zIAP SDK (screencast)

If you are looking for a way to protect your Android and iOS apps from malware and other mobile threats, you should look at Zimperium ‘s In-App Protection (zIAP) SDK . It supports both Apple X-Code for iOS apps and Android Studio for those apps. One of the advantages of zIAP is that you don’t have to redeploy your code because changes are updated dynamically at runtime and automatically pushed to your devices. zIAP ensures that mobile applications remain safe from cyber attacks by providing immediate device risk assessments and threat alerts. Organizations can minimize exposure of their sensitive data, and prevent their customers and partners’ data from being jeopardized by malicious and fraudulent activity. I tested the product in April 2019.

Pricing starts for 10K Monthly Active Devices at $12,000 per year, with steep quantity discounts available.

https://go.zimperium.com/david-strom-ziap

Keywords: strom, screencast review, webinformant, zimperium, mobile security, app security, Android security, iOS security

CSOonline: Top application security tools for 2019

The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report says most hacks still happen through breaches of web applications. For this reason, testing and securing applications (from my CSOonline article last month) has become a priority for many organizations. That job is made easier by a growing selection of application security tools. I put together a list of 13 of the best ones available, with descriptions of the situations where they can be most effective. I highlight both commercial and free products. The commercial products very rarely provide list prices and are often bundled with other tools from the vendor with volume or longer-term licensing discounts. Some of the free tools, such as Burp Suite, also have fee-based versions that offer more features. You can review my list in CSOonline here. 

 

 

CSOonline: What is application security and how to secure your software

Application security is the process of making apps more secure by finding, fixing, and enhancing the security of apps. Much of this happens during the development phase, but it includes tools and methods to protect apps once they are deployed. This is becoming more important as hackers increasingly target applications with their attacks.

In the first of a two-part series for CSOonline, I discuss some of the reasons why you need to secure your apps and the wide variety of specialized tools for securing mobile apps, for network-based apps, and for firewalls designed especially for web applications. Next month, I will recommend some of these products.

Blogger in residence for SaltStack conference

I wrote a series of blog posts at the SaltConf18 in September 2018. SaltStack is a devops automation, remote control and orchestration tool that has a great deal of power and is used in some very large enterprise networks managing hundreds of thousands of servers.I also wrote white papers about their technology and its applications.

Here are links to the various pieces:

blog post of news announcements from day 1 of the conference

— I wrote this white paper which talks about typical use cases of the SaltStack Enterprise product and Salt’s key features.

Understanding security automation in the context of the stages of grief

The relationship of the digital and physical worlds has never been closer, a post about Cyndi Tetro’s session.

— Examinging how IBM Cloud and Cloudflare use Salt to manage their global networks (forthcoming)

SaltStack: beyond application configuration management

When it comes to building online applications, you can build them with old tools and attitudes or with new methods that are purpose-built for solving today’s problems and infrastructures. Back in the days when mainframes still walked the earth, setting up a series of online applications used some very primitive tools. And while we have more integrated development environments that embrace SaaS apps running in the cloud, it is more of a half-hearted acceptance. Few tools really have what it takes for handling and automating online apps.

I wrote this white paper which talks about typical use cases of the SaltStack Enterprise product and Salt’s key features.

CSOonline: 4 open source red-team ATT&CK-based tools reviewed

In an article that I wrote last week for CSOonline, I described the use of a red team framework from Mitre called ATT&CK. in my post this week, I compare four free open source tools that leverage this framework and how they can be deployed to help expose your network vulnerabilities. The four tools are:

  • Endgame’s Red Team Automation (RTA),
  • Mitre’s own Caldera,
  • Red Canary’s Atomic Red, and
  • Uber’s Metta

Each have their good and bad points. You can read my review here.

HPE blog: The changing perception of open source in enterprise IT

Once upon a time, when someone in IT wanted to make use of open source software, it was usually an off-the-books project that didn’t require much in the way of management buy-in. Costs were minimal, projects often were smaller with a couple of people in a single department, and it was easy to grasp what a particular open source project provided. Back then, IT primarily used open source to save money and “do more with less,” letting the department forgo the cost of commercial software.

Times have certainly changed. Yes, software costs are still a factor, and while it is generally true that open source can save money, it isn’t the only reason nowadays to adopt it. While application deployment costs have risen, the direct software cost is a small part of the overall development budget, often dwarfed by infrastructure, scalability, and reliability measures.

As a result, today’s open source efforts aren’t anything like those in earlier days.

You can read the full story on HPE’s blog here.

What happened to the Web user interface?

More than 20 years ago, the Web was just getting started. People were experimenting with all kinds of web servers as publishing mechanisms and as user interfaces for various devices. Back then, I thought this was a neat idea: having a web interface was a great way to demonstrate a product across the Internet, unify the user experience across different browsers and end user platforms without having to develop separate programs for them, and perhaps simplify end user training too. It was the brave new world.

Back then, there were some dissenting voices. Having more Web UIs would ”set computer programming back 30 years and is about the worst technology I’ve laid eyes on,” said one UI consultant that I interviewed at the time. Another pointed out that the Windows graphical interface (which was just getting going back then) was far superior to anything the Web could produce in terms of interactive controls. That distinction has largely disappeared over the decades. And having the cloud to handle various tasks (think calendar synch or database queries) makes the Web UI superior to a local Windows app under certain circumstances.

I wrote about these issues for Computerworld in the summer of 1996. Back then, Netscape (remember them?) and Microsoft were duking it out over which company’s HTML extensions were going to become more popular (we know how that fight went down). At the time, I said, “having all software go to the Web UI might hasten to have an all-Windows world: since multi-platform apps can be supported by web servers, developers have moved away from Everything Else and concentrated on Everything Windows.” I don’t think that has come true, and let’s not forget about smartphone apps that have their own wicked interface with their own screen real estate limitations.

I asked my favorite UX consultant, Danielle Cooley, what she thought about my comments from 1996. “Things have changed dramatically, of course, both on the technology side and the design side,” she told me in a recent email. “Speaking as the user advocate, I would say consumers’ standards are much higher across the board then they were 21 years ago. Thanks to the user-centered approach taken by large organizations like Amazon, Apple, and Google, laypeople have less patience for digital products that force them to contort their thinking and behavior. Now, they have more and more access to tools that fit the way they already think and behave. Many organizations still suffer from serious UX immaturity. Lack of investment and integration here has resulted in the confusing and frustrating interfaces we’ve all come to hate. The fact that there are still SO MANY of these, 21 years after your Computerworld article, is telling and alarming.”

But the Web UI is here to stay, one way or another. Now at least we have responsive design, so at least smaller or larger screens can view appropriate webpages automatically. And hopefully, developers will finally learn what makes for a better UI experience.