ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Partner content
Story image

Interview: Invicti's Mark Ralls on the new defining age for web application security

By Sara Barker
Thu 30 Sep 2021

Cybersecurity firm Invicti was born from the merger of Netsparker and Acunetix in 2018, bringing together almost a decade and a half of successes from each company. Based in the United States, the company forged ahead on one key specialisation: web application security.

We spoke with Invicti’s president and chief operating officer, Mark Ralls, to discuss web application security, vulnerability management, false positives, and why businesses need to think about vulnerability scanning in a new way.

The early days of modern web applications provided an almost 'magical' experience powered by JavaScript back in the mid-2000s, but now the modern web application is much more complex and pervasive than anyone could have imagined way back in 2005. Now, there are different applications for all kinds of services like banking and government, for example. But those apps now contain and protect more sensitive data, and their releases are faster too.

“These apps are leveraging APIs more, so it’s much more difficult to keep them secure. Invicti has been through that evolution and our whole process has been to invest and maintain a strong focus on securing web applications. It’s all we do, and we do it well," says Ralls.

One of the company’s main focus areas is on vulnerability management and vulnerability scanning, both traditionally considered a pain point for IT and security teams.

“Imagine this: a moderately-sized company like a bank could have 100 applications. Vulnerability scanning could detect 10 vulnerabilities per application. There are now 1,000 vulnerabilities that security teams now need to investigate. They can’t fix anything because they need to go back to the appropriate developers."

"When false positives pop up and developers spend time investigating these flags, it wastes their time. And it creates friction between development and security.”

He adds, “When we talked to customers, we found that it can take a security professional, on average, an hour to manually verify a single vulnerability. Multiply that by 1,000 vulnerabilities, and it’s an incredible amount of work in a short space of time."

"Of all detected vulnerabilities, 20% might be false positives - but which 20%? So all 1,000 vulnerabilities need to be investigated to find the 200 that may be false positives.”

It’s tempting to err on the side of caution - after all, businesses would rather encounter a false positive than a false negative that turns out to be an exploitable vulnerability - one with the potential to cause significant trouble or a data breach.  

So what should organisations do? Waste time chasing thousands of vulnerabilities to avoid any possibility of a data breach? It’s an overwhelming ultimatum.

Invicti’s founder Ferruh Mavituna came from a penetration testing and security consulting background, so he understood these challenges. He used his pattern matching intuition from his penetration testing background and applied it to a tool that analyses vulnerabilities in a non-malicious way. It was the dawn of Proof-Based Scanning.

“That’s what Invicti started building from the very beginning, in 2006. Ferruh built a platform that is able to show potential breaches, a proof of concept, and then provide actionable results to support remediation."

Going back to the idea of 1,000 vulnerabilities, Ralls explains that automated Proof-Based Scanning sends the vulnerability straight to a developer and security teams don’t even need to look at it.

"This process can be fine-tuned but the fundamental point is that teams are not wasting 1,000 hours manually looking for vulnerabilities that could be exploited, and flagging false positives. There may be a small fraction that are not confirmed by perfect scanning, but now the team may only need to check 50 vulnerabilities rather than 1,000.”

Accuracy is key to automated and manual scanning, and Invicti focuses on improving the accuracy of its results every day. In addition, the company ensures its products can test for the latest zero-day and new class vulnerabilities, and the company passes everything through its security engineers to confirm vulnerabilities. 

“We’ve logged this data since 2015 since we launched the hosted version of our product. There’s more than 500,000 evaluated vulnerabilities and less than 0.02% confirmed vulnerabilities turned out to be false positives. That’s less than one in 5,000. Think about the relationship between security teams and developers: if developers only receive false positives from the security team twice a year, that’s going to create a more harmonious relationship and save a lot more time.”

How much time? Try around 10,000 hours per year, resulting in savings of approximately half a million dollars. In addition, security analysts and engineers can be deployed to more essential tasks - and Ralls says there’s no substitute for the intelligence and intuition that a security professional can bring.

“What’s rewarding is when security staff can focus on more sophisticated work like protection from attacks, spending time with end users, or educating developers on security."

"There are so many opportunities for security teams to drive tangible security improvements. Still, the reality today is too much of their time is tied up in making sure the tools they use are accurate. Organisations pay good money for those tools - and they should be accurate.”

Ralls explains endpoint security through the analogy of a laptop, which demonstrates how every endpoint needs to be protected.

“Nobody would secure laptops only belonging to the executive teams - you’d want to protect every endpoint. But it wasn’t so long ago that securing a laptop was a manual process that was difficult to scale.  Twenty years ago, not every laptop was secure because not every employee had a laptop."

“In today’s world, every organisation realises that they need to secure every laptop in their company. But they only secure a fraction of their applications because they may not realise that there’s a better way to secure everything."

“In just a few years we’ll look back and ask how we lived in a world in which only 15% of applications were secured. How was that possible, how did we continue to be so vulnerable? That’s what Invicti’s mission is. Applications hold my data, your data, our families’ data, and those are the communities we are protecting against attackers.”

Learn more about Invicti here.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Hands-on review: 16GB PNY XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz DDR4
PNY sent over its 16GB XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz CL16 DDR4 module kit for testing. The kit contains two 8GB dual-channel modules with RGB lighting.
Story image
NOWPayments launches new service to analyse cryptocurrency fees
NOWPayments has launched a new network fee optimisation solution that analyses current network fees and picks the most profitable option out of the client's payout wallets.
Story image
How to achieve your monthly recurring revenue goals
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is the ultimate goal, the most important issue on which anyone in the IT channel should focus.
Story image
MYOB improves data visibility and user access with Snowflake
"Solutions such as Snowflake allow us to better understand our customers and make evidence-based decisions on what features work best for them."
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Consumers want personalisation, but don't trust brands with their data
Customers expect personalisation during every brand interaction but they don't trust brands to keep their personal data secure and to use it responsibly. 
Story image
Techday's different story types explained
Each type of story has a different purpose, so it’s worthwhile understanding which type could work for your needs.
Story image
Martello and Mitel renew and extend their partnership
Martello has entered into an Amended Agreement with key partner Mitel, laying out the commercial terms under which it provides the Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA) software for sale to Mitel customers and partners.
Story image
Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60
Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.
Story image
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Cloudflare outage in 19 data centers worldwide due to own error
Cloudflare says its outage for 19 of its data centers yesterday was because of a change in a long-running project to increase resilience in its busiest locations.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
3D Printing
Fleet Space, Konica Minolta partner for 3D printer offering
Fleet Space has partnered with Konica Minolta to implement 3D printers from 3D Systems to support the commercial small satellite manufacturer’s offerings.
Story image
Lenovo announces launch of Retail Solutions portfolio in A/NZ
Lenovo has announced the launch of its Lenovo Retail Solutions portfolio across the A/NZ region, which they say will help retailers transform their business and face future retail demands.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Microsoft launches app for modern selling experience
The new release is designed to enhance CRM systems with customer engagement data from Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.
Story image
Phishing attacks are making a comeback
No matter what approach or tool cybercriminals use to breach a network, they all have one thing in common: access.
Story image
Intel Arc A380 graphics units launched in China, global release imminent
New Intel Arc A380 graphics units are set to bring next-generation technologies to gamers and content creators in the coming months. 
Story image
TO THE NEW unveils A/NZ Managed Services for Microsoft Azure
TO THE NEW has released Managed Services for Microsoft Azure to meet the growing demand in the A/NZ market and globally.
Story image
NetApp announces winners of APAC Partner Excellence Awards
These awards recognise partners that have demonstrated success in delivering new cloud experiences, unlocking greater business value for their customers.
Story image
Corpay partners with supply chain platform PracBiz Exchange
Corpay's new partnership with PracBiz’s allows more than 4000 B2B suppliers on the latter's platform to use Corpay's global payments services.
Story image
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
New ride service inDriver arrives in Melbourne - pick your own fares
inDriver has launched in Melbourne, Australia and says it's set to disrupt the ride-hailing industry by allowing passengers and drivers to set and pick their own fares.
Story image
Techday's new Quickfire interview process explained
Techday is introducing a fantastic new streamlined editorial interview process. We explain the process and thoughts behind it.
Story image
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Adobe survey reveals link between brand trust and consumer buy-in
Adobe has announced results from a study, which finds a strong correlation between brand trust and consumer behaviour.
Story image
Flashpoint unveils security offering for school boards
Flashpoint has released its K-12 risk management and security offering to provide school boards and education security practitioners with tools to recognise, prevent and manage cyber and physical threats.
Story image
Global investment in data centers more than doubled in 2021
DLA Piper's latest global survey finds the total investment in data center infrastructure worldwide rose from USD $24.4 billion in 2020 to USD $53.8 billion in 2021.
Story image
Microsoft expands APAC Enabler Mentorship Program
"Mentors are the key to success for every professional. A good mentor is a coach, a guide, as well as a vocal advocate."
Story image
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
Helping Western Sydney Local Health District provide a new model of care in the fight against COVID
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and PwC’s Consulting Business came together to solve through the challenges of COVID-19.
Story image
Hybrid workforce
Why hybrid working is here to stay and how to ace it
Citrix's new report reveals hybrid workers are more productive and engaged at work than their office and completely remote counterparts.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Market growth
Salesforce unveils new offerings for consumer goods companies
Salesforce has announced new products for consumer goods companies to help brands navigate increasing market complexity more easily.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
The best ways to attract young talent during labour shortages
New research from Citrix reveals hybrid working and ventures into the metaverse are top of mind for Gen Z workers.
Story image
Survey finds 94% of Australian IT leaders looking at NaaS
Aruba’s latest survey reveals a rising interest in NaaS among Australian technology leaders as they re-evaluate their current infrastructure and network setup.