#TW30DaysOfTesting – Day 29: Nice to not be in an echo chamber

This challenge may not make sense to most people reading this blog, so let me start by explaining it a bit. My.ThoughtWorks is an internal communication tool where we have the opportunity to create content, share ideas, and get exposed to a diverse set of opinions on topics ranging from low level machine learning to design patterns and current human rights causes from around the world. From what I hear, many companies that get to a certain size start this type of communication forum and it provides great value, and my.TW is no different. However, in creating the 30 days of challenges, I was thinking about how much we consume each other’s outputs, but how much less frequently we provide feedback (or extension on) to them. Some of this is time or interest, but I know (from personal experience) that some of this is also from how daunting it can be to respond to a post where there are over 4,000 extremely smart and outspoken individuals on the other end who may be driven into the debate.

While I am an active member of the testing and women in tech channels on my.TW, I am more hesitant to write on the infamous software development channel (arguably the most useful and active channel) or some other more highly specific channels like our security channel. Already in this 30 days I have posted to Software Development about collating a list of podcasts and that has received tremendous support and been extended to so many new and interesting ideas which encourages me to engage even more.

So today, I have been inspired by a post in the security channel about how to engage the business in cyber security which points to a very interesting article in HBR entitled “How Cybersecurity Teams Can Convince the C-Suite of Their Value“. The post is from 4 days ago and has a single reply so far which also points to threat modeling with executive sponsors as a good way to extend interest in cyber security. Below is my reply to the thread:

Thank you for sharing this article. I find it really interesting to see a case study of how other companies are tackling these challenges. And while I agree and support our focus on threat modeling as a way to inform businesses of their risks in the security space, I think that this article is pointing at some really new an innovative ideas that we could look to also trial.

In particular I really liked the proactive approaches that the Facebook team took. They remind me of my interest in creating “safety nets” for future defects instead of just wrapping tests around current code. An example of this for me is when we are doing end point testing. Just putting in tests for each end point requires us to remember to add the test. Instead, I look for ways to scan for endpoints so when a developer is creating a new one that is one less thing that they need to keep on their mind. Another example of this would be teams that run the security scans in their build looking for vulnerable dependencies and other risks. Can we try and cultivate other examples of where we are doing work like this?

And at the risk of dividing this thread I want to also raise a point we discussed at the last TWASP meeting. As a QA I am often in a position to raise these risks and am also often feeling they are not well received as they are viewed as abstract. One request I made to the room, and now here, is if we could create something more impactful to showcase to clients when we find a vulnerability. For example, when I find reflection JS injection risks, I tend to showcase it with a popup. This is proof it exists, but in my experience this has been met with a bit of an eye roll and acceptance that if someone wants to create a pop up on their own computer…fine…let ’em. Also during the TWASP meeting I was shown just how powerful the reflection attacks can be but am unsure if I could recreate it. Do we have (or could we create) a repository that could showcase really business critical examples for the OWASP Top 10 when they are identified on a program?

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