HP Takes On Adobe Flash Security for Application Developers

HP has released a free tool to help application developers improve the security of applications using Adobe Flash. The tool, called HP SWFScan, decompiles applications developed with Flash to search for security vulnerabilities.

HP is putting the spotlight on securing applications using Adobe Flash with a new code analysis tool.

HP's answer to Flash security is HP SWFScan, a free tool designed to help application developers defend against vulnerabilities before the hackers can get their hands on them. The tool works by decompiling applications developed with Flash to understand their behaviors and identifying vulnerabilities beneath not detectable by traditional dynamic methods.

"The Adobe Flash Platform is being used more and more by large media companies and for business-critical applications. We are working with HP to make sure developers have tools to help secure content and keep customers safe," said Brad Arkin, director of product security and privacy for the Adobe Secure Software Engineering Team, in a statement. "We worked with HP on their SWFScan tool which will help Flash developers find potential security issues early in the development process so they can understand and prevent problems before Web applications are ever deployed."

With Adobe Flash's total saturation of the market - some estimates say 99 percent of desktops have Flash installed on them - the importance of securing the platform can hardly be overstated, and HP is not the only company that notices. IBM recently updated its AppScan tool in February to protect Flash as well. The new version of AppScan now tests for a number of vulnerabilities in Flash and Flex applications, including cross-site flashing, cross-site scripting, Flash parameter injection and misconfiguration.

The HP tool decompiles applications built on the Adobe Flash platform to extract ActionScript code for static analysis. The tool then looks for insecure programming and deployment practices, such as developers encoding passwords directly into their applications, which violate Adobe security best practices.

"Applications developed with Flash technologies are no more immune to security vulnerabilities than any other Web applications," said Gartner analyst Joseph Feiman, in a statement. "Giving Flash developers the ability to check whether their code is secure, providing guidance on how to fix it, and offering best secure-programming practices will help to protect businesses and their customers from hackers."