What Is Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)?

Runtime Application Self Protection (RASP) is a security solution designed to provide personalized protection to applications. It takes advantage of insight into an application’s internal data and state to enable it to identify threats at runtime that may have otherwise been overlooked by other security solutions.

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What Is Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)?

How RASP Works

RASP wraps around and protects a particular application, rather than a general network-level or endpoint-level defensive solution. This more targeted deployment location enables RASP to monitor the inputs, outputs, and internal state of the application that it is protecting. By deploying RASP, developers can identify vulnerabilities within their applications. Additionally, the RASP solution can block attempts to exploit existing vulnerabilities in deployed applications.

RASP’s focused monitoring makes it capable of detecting a wide range of threats, including zero-day attacks. Since RASP has insight into the internals of an application, it can detect behavioral changes that may have been caused by a novel attack. This enables it to respond to even zero-day attacks based upon how they affect the target application.

Benefits of Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)

RASP differs from other cybersecurity solutions in its level of focus on a single application. This focus enables it to provide a number of security benefits:

  • Contextual Awareness: When a RASP solution identifies a potential threat, it has additional contextual information about the current state of the application and what data and code is affected. This context can be invaluable for investigating, triaging, and remediating potential vulnerabilities since it indicates where the vulnerability is located in the code and exactly how it can be exploited.
  • Visibility into Application-Layer Attacks: RASP has deep visibility into the application layer because it is integrated with a particular application. This application-layer visibility, insight, and knowledge can help to detect a wider range of potential attacks and vulnerabilities.
  • Zero-Day Protection: While RASP can use signatures to identify attacks, it is not limited to signature-based detection. By identifying and responding to anomalous behaviors within the protected application, RASP can detect and block even zero-day attacks.
  • Lower False Positives: RASP has deep insight into an application’s internals, including the ability to see how a potential attack affects the application’s execution. This dramatically increases RASP’s ability to differentiate true attacks (which have a true negative impact on application performance and security) from false positives (such as SQL injection attempts that are never included in an SQL query). This reduction in false positives decreases load on security teams and enables them to focus on true threats.
  • Lower CapEx and OpEx: RASP is designed to be easy to deploy yet is able to make a significant difference in an application’s vulnerability to attack and rate of false positive alerts. This combination reduces both up-front expenses (CapEx) and the cost of effectively protecting the application (OpEx) compared to manual patching and web application firewalls (WAFs).
  • Easy Maintenance: RASP works based upon insight into an application, not traffic rules, learning, or blacklists. SOC teams love this reliability and CISOs appreciate the resource savings. Applications become self-protected and remain protected wherever they go.
  • Flexible Deployment: While RASP is typically based upon HTML standards, it is easy to adapt its API to work with different standards and application architectures. This enables it to protect even non-web applications using standards like XML and RPC.
  • Cloud Support: RASP is designed to integrate with and be deployed as part of the application that it protects. This enables it to be deployed in any location where the protected applications can run, including in the cloud.
  • DevSecOps Support: RASP solutions are designed to be integrated into a DevOps continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. This makes RASP easy to deploy and supports DevSecOps operations.

Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) Use Cases

RASP’s flexibility means that developers can integrate it with many different applications. However, certain RASP use cases are more common, such as:

  • Web Application Protection: Web applications and APIs are a crucial component of an organization’s infrastructure but can be vulnerable to a wide range of attacks. These applications are exposed to the public Internet and are often prone to exploitable vulnerabilities. By deploying RASP to protect these applications and APIs, an organization can limit the cybersecurity risk and attack surface of its web-facing infrastructure.
  • Zero-Day Prevention: While an organization may have processes in place to immediately apply patches for critical applications and systems, a patch can only be applied after it is developed and released. RASP can be deployed to protect critical applications within an organization (which may include web applications and APIs) against zero-day vulnerabilities.
  • Cloud Application Protection: Securing the cloud can be complex because applications run on leased infrastructure outside of the organization’s network perimeter. Integrating RASP into these applications provides them with a high level of security in a portable and largely infrastructure-agnostic form.

How RASP and WAF Complement Each Other

Runtime Application Self-Protection and Web Application Firewall (WAF) are two complementary solutions for application security. While WAF provides the first line of defense, filtering many threats to web applications before they even reach the target application, RASP uses the context provided by deep visibility into these applications to identify and block attacks that slip by the Web Application Firewall. This combination minimizes the impact of easily-detectable attacks while also providing protection against more sophisticated threats.

From Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) to WAAP

Protecting web applications against modern threats requires going beyond using  RASP with WAF and replace them with a modern solution.

The next generation of the WAF is automated Web Application and API Protection (WAAP). WAAP solutions acknowledge the fact that companies are increasingly exposing web application programming interfaces (APIs) to the Internet.
WAAP solutions provide comprehensive protection for web applications and APIs alike.

Check Point’s CloudGuard AppSec is an industry-leading automated WAAP solution.

By leveraging It leverages machine learning and a patent-pending contextual AI engine to identify and block threats to web applications and APIs, CloudGuard AppSec evolves with an organization’s applications and highlights the requests most likely to be malicious. Check Point’s CloudGuard AppSec is the next generation of web application and API security. To learn more about its capabilities, request a demo, read the Ebook and Download the Whitepaper.

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