Disagree with the Concept or Implementation?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Originally Posted by Jeremiah Grossman here:
http://jeremiahgrossman.blogspot.com/feeds/1351824854212591763/comments/default

 

Web Application Firewalls, Professional Certifications, Website Trust Logos, and Compliance Regulations are contentious topics that spark spirited debates by those for and against their existence. For years I’ve studied thoughtful arguments voiced by many people about why they disagree with these things (solutions?) often with logic that is hard to discount. What’s interesting is the vast majority of the time it’s only the current implementation by particular security vendors that are opposed. We all know many vendors abuse customers with over promising marketing, under delivering products, selling/doing/saying anything for a buck, etc. This reality will never go away, we can only expose the behavior, and this is also very different from saying that the concept behind the solutions shouldn’t exist at all or be offered by someone capable of doing better.

For example, three years ago like basically everyone in the webappsec at the time, I was a staunch WAF opponent. The WAF concept made no sense to me because why would anyone go through the pain of implementing such a device when they could simply fix the code and be done forever? That is until one day while compiling Sentinel vulnerability statistics and the volumes being identified revealed a problem so massive, pent up by over a decade of egregiously insecure Web code, that it obviously could not be solved with available fix-the-code resources (time/cost/skill) anytime soon. IT Security personnel also shared their pain of having no authority over development groups, no juice with the business to fix vulnerabilities over adding new features, and limited options to protect websites in which they were responsible for. Malicious exploitation seemed to be the only thing that genuinely stimulated action.

IT Security clearly needed an operational solution. The only answer to the aforementioned problem was the promise of a WAF. Whether not they functioned as advertised became immaterial, the bottom-line was we needed WAFs to work! Seriously, it's insane to think its possible to mitigate millions of vulnerabilities across millions of websites, even if you could find them (the vulns or the sites). Seeing the writing on the wall I invested myself in WAF technology changing my conceptual opinion to implementation and set out to see what WhiteHat could contribute. That eventually led to the (VA+WAF) solution where vulnerabilities found through our assessment process could be imported as customized rules into a WAF. This provides a viable option to mitigate now, and remediate the source of the problem in the time and manner that made business sense ... to them.

As always I’m curious to know what other think and how they characterize their opinions according the following solutions. If you disagree with them, is it on the basis of Concept or Implementation (and why)?

Web Application Firewalls - ?
Professional Certifications - ?
Website Trust Logos - ?
Compliance Regulations - ?

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