Towards Intelligent Application Security
March 2021

Over the past 20 years we have seen application security evolve from analysing application code through Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools, to detecting vulnerabilities in running applications via Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools. The past 10 years have seen new flavours of tools to provide combinations of static and dynamic tools via Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), examination of the components and libraries of the software called Software Composition Analysis (SCA), protection of web applications and APIs using signature-based Web Application Firewalls (WAF), and monitoring the application and blocking attacks through Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) techniques. The past 10 years has also seen an increase in the uptake of the DevOps model that combines software development and operations to provide continuous delivery of high quality software. As security has become more important, the DevOps model has evolved to the DevSecOps model where software development, operations and security are all integrated. There has also been increasing usage of learning techniques, including machine learning, and program synthesis. Several tools have been developed that make use of machine learning to help developers make quality decisions about their code, tests, or runtime overhead their code produces. However, such techniques have not been applied to application security as yet. In this talk I discuss how to provide an automated approach to integrate security into all aspects of application development and operations, aided by learning techniques. This incorporates signals from the code operations and beyond, and automation, to provide actionable intelligence to developers, security analysts, operations staff, and autonomous systems. I will also consider how malware and threat intelligence can be incorporated into this model to support Intelligent Application Security in a rapidly evolving world.

Authors: Cristina Cifuentes

Venue: Guest lecture at The University of Queensland, The Software Process: 26th March 2021. Keynote at BSides Canberra (, 10th April 2021. Keynote at Infiltrate (, Spring 2021/TBD. Keynote at SOAP workshop (, 22nd June 2021.


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