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The Top 5 AppSec Trends of 2024: Essential Insights

Backslash Team


June 17, 2024

With the rise of sophisticated cyber threats and increasingly complex software ecosystems, staying ahead of AppSec trends is crucial for protecting sensitive data and maintaining business continuity. This guide will provide an overview of current AppSec trends, offering detailed insights into each trend, and outlining best practices to enhance your application security. 

What is Application Security?

Application Security (AppSec) involves the implementation of strategies, practices, and tools designed to protect applications from potential threats throughout their lifecycle. This includes the prevention, detection, and response to security vulnerabilities in software applications, whether they are developed in-house or by third parties. 

Key components of AppSec include:

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST): Analyzing source code to detect vulnerabilities early in the development process.
  • Secrets: Identifying hidden secrets in code to eliminate security risks before they go into production and are exposed to the world.
  • Software Composition Analysis (SCA): Identifying and managing risks in open-source and third-party components.

Why is Application Security Important?

Application Security (AppSec) is essential because it acts as the first line of defense against potential breaches. By identifying and addressing vulnerabilities early in the development lifecycle, AppSec helps close the door to potential exploits before they can be targeted by malicious actors. This proactive approach minimizes the attack surface and makes it significantly more difficult for breaches to occur, as there are fewer weaknesses for attackers to exploit. 

The Top 5 AppSec Trends in 2024

1. Static scanning vs. runtime agents

When choosing an AppSec tool, a common question is whether static scanning or a runtime agent is better. Static scanning allows developers to identify vulnerabilities early in the development process, making fixes cheaper and more manageable. By catching security issues before the application is deployed, static scanning prevents costly post-release fixes and reduces the risk of exposing vulnerabilities to users. On the other hand, runtime agents monitor applications during execution, offering real-time data and the ability to detect issues that static analysis might miss. At Backslash, we believe that modern static scanning with advances data flow capabilities can detect true security vulnerabilities that in the past could be detected only at runtime.

Example: integrating a static analysis tool like Backslash into a CI/CD pipeline allows immediate detection and remediation of vulnerabilities, enhancing security early in the development process.

2. GenAI and code generation

Generative AI (GenAI) is revolutionizing the development landscape by acting as a co-pilot, capable of generating code, suggesting fixes, and automating routine security tasks. This significantly reduces the workload on human experts, allowing for increased productivity and efficiency. However, as the volume of code produced grows, the associated security risks can also escalate. Organizations must not assume that code produced by GenAI coding assistants will be free of vulnerabilities. Just like any other code, it must undergo rigorous testing and validation to ensure it does not introduce new security threats. 

Example: In a research conducted by the Backslash Research Team to explore security gaps associated with AI-generated code from the perspective of developers, the team created and performed a variety of developer simulation exercises via a series of tests using GPT-4. The results revealed critical security blindspots associated with AI-generated code and its use of third-party open source software (OSS).

3. CNAPP and AppSec: Bridging the Gap with Early Dev Testing

A hot topic recently is the growing link between Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPP) and application security (AppSec). While CNAPPs are essential for securing production environments, they often overlook the importance of shift-left security practices. Significant gaps remain in areas such as Software Composition Analysis (SCA) and Static Application Security Testing (SAST). To bridge these gaps, organizations are increasingly turning to early development testing to complement CNAPP capabilities. This trend involves integrating SCA, Secrets detection, and SAST into the development pipeline, ensuring vulnerabilities are identified and addressed early in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

Example: Read this blog by James Berthoty on Filling the Gap with CNAPP and how to best  compliment your CNAPP tooling. 

4. Reachability Analysis.

A significant trend in the AppSec landscape is the growing adoption of reachability analysis. Traditional security tools often generate an overwhelming number of alerts, many of which may not be relevant to the actual risk profile of the application. Reachability analysis addresses this issue by assessing whether identified vulnerabilities can actually be exploited in the context of the application's architecture and data flow. This method helps organizations focus their remediation efforts on the most critical issues that pose a real threat.

Example: By leveraging reachability analysis, teams can now uncover hidden dependencies and potential threats with precision. Read more.

5. Discontent with Legacy AppSec Tools: A Shift to Modern Solutions

Another emerging trend in the AppSec landscape is the growing discontent with traditional application security and legacy tools. Many organizations are churning from their initial cloud and AppSec choices due to being overwhelmed with findings that are not always relevant. This dissatisfaction is driving a shift towards new vendors offering more modern features, such as reachability analysis, which help prioritize and contextualize security risks.

Example: See how Backslash results compare to legacy tools.


What are the common vulnerabilities/weaknesses in applications?

Common vulnerabilities include SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), Path traversal, buffer overflow, and insecure authentication mechanisms. These can be exploited to gain unauthorized access or disrupt application functionality. 

Additionally applications utilizing open-source components often face additional risks such as known vulnerabilities in third-party libraries and unpatched security flaws.

Find the recurring top vulnerabilities recognized by MITRE over the past 5 years as well as detailed information and remediation guidance for common weaknesses in Backslash Weaknesses Database.

How can I improve my application’s security posture?

Implementing a comprehensive AppSec strategy that includes regular vulnerability assessments, adopting DevSecOps practices, using automated security tools, and providing security training for developers can significantly improve your application’s security posture.

How often should security testing be conducted?

Security testing should be an ongoing process, integrated into the development lifecycle. Regularly scheduled tests, along with continuous monitoring and automated testing, help ensure that applications remain secure over time.

Meet Backslash - The Most Accurate SAST/SCA for AppSec Teams

Backslash’s fusion of Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Software Composition Analysis (SCA) is designed to enhance your AppSec posture. By identifying authentic attack paths leading to reachable code, Backslash empowers you to focus on rectifying only the code and open-source software that are genuinely in use and accessible.

Key Features of Backslash

  • Prioritize what matters: Focus solely on significant vulnerabilities.
  • Save time and resources: Eliminate the hassle of sifting through non-issues.
  • Help you stay compliant: Effortlessly generate and export detailed Software Bill of Material (SBOM) reports and VEX.

The Bottom Line

Staying informed about the latest AppSec trends is crucial for maintaining robust application security. By understanding and addressing these trends, utilizing advanced tools like Backslash, and following best practices, businesses can significantly enhance their AppSec posture and safeguard against emerging threats.