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With the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) market exploding in recent months, application security is becoming increasingly important to more than just enterprises. DeFi’s rise in popularity can be seen by looking at its dominance within cryptocurrency markets. According to coinmarketcap.com, around 50% of the top 100 cryptocurrencies have a Decentralized Finance protocol as part of their utility structure.  

Despite its recent monumental growth, DeFi is not perfect. Concerns regarding the safety of funds being held on an exchange are constant. According to cryptosec.info, “as of December 2021, there has been a total of 75 DeFi exploits that have occurred within the DeFi market, with lost funds amounting to a total of approximately $1.7 billion at the time of these exploits.” If decentralized exchanges do not properly protect user data, sensitive information will be compromised, users will be susceptible to widespread identity theft, and investors will experience a significant loss of funds. 

In this blog, we explore what DeFi is, what best practices developers should utilize when securing code, and how HCL AppScan’s flexible deployment and multiple scanning solutions will help continuously secure your application and quickly scan for any vulnerabilities.  

What is Decentralized Finance (DeFi)? 

DeFi is a new type of financial system that allows users to access services outside of centralized institutions. It attracts investors with its promises of fairness and equality, promising money, investments, loans, and insurance without the middleman taking a cut. 

First introduced in 2014, DeFi was developed due to concerns surrounding traditional banking systems’ lack of transparency and restrictive regulatory control. Investors bypassed these issues by creating alternative DeFi platforms through Bitcoin’s blockchain & Ethereum’s smart contracts to receive their funds directly, allowing for cheaper transactions, insurance against bank bail-ins, and increased transparency. DeFi offers extremely fast speeds at extremely low fees without government censorship. 


How to Secure your DeFi Applications? 

Much like the traditional banking industry, Application Security Testing (AST) is crucial for DeFi services since most apps contain the same vulnerabilities and risks in their Application Security Assessment.  

To best secure your projects, begin by scanning your application for web vulnerabilities. Once you have gained visibility into the app’s business logic flaws, set up automated web vulnerability tests and identify if OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities have been covered. Finally, your organization must look to enabling these three steps to keep DeFi projects safe & secure: 

  • Utilize a Static Analysis tool (SAST) to detect bugs early. This tool automatically scans smart contracts and looks for any potential vulnerabilities. 
  • Enable an automated testing suite of solutions. Employees are great but relying on them to continuously monitor for vulnerabilities can lead to a lack of code coverage and delays in deployment. 
  • Incorporate a Security-First approach across the Software Lifecycle. While you should always do your best to build a secure and dependable smart contract before going into production, the ever-changing reality of blockchain and DeFi technologies means your project could still be at risk for attack. To stay on top of the constantly developing nature of DeFi, make security a shared responsibility across all teams. Provide them with the right AST tools and incorporate enterprise-level visibility to continuously secure your project at every step of the SDLC process. 

Keep your DeFi applications secure with HCL AppScan.  

Continuously secure your applications with HCL AppScan. Whether it’s scanning for potential vulnerabilities on the fly or enabling a continuous automated testing solution, AppScan’s got you covered with its  

  • Flexible deployment on the cloud, on-prem, or a hybrid of both. 
  • Multiple security testing tools including SAST, DAST, IAST, and OSA.  
  • Variety of supporting services dedicated to the health & success of your AppSec program.  

Address vulnerability earlier in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) for all your DeFi projects and deliver secure protocols faster and at scale. 

For more information on AppScan’s suite of security testing tools, Click here. 


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