Applications are a common vector used to conduct cyber attacks. There are literally tends of thousands of desktop and mobile apps available to download — a number that grows larger with each passing day. While some of these apps are legitimate, others are not. If you download the wrong app, it could infect your device with malware. There’s a simple and effective way to protect against app-related malware, though: Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP).

What Is RASP?

RASP is a cybersecurity solution that leverages the use of runtime instrumentation to detect, as well as block, potential cyber attacks. It’s designed to run automatically in response to the execution of an application. When you open an application, RASP will automatically scan the application for malicious code and activity.

The Basics of RASP

Many people assume that RASP is just another name for a firewall. While both RASP and firewalls can protect against cyber attacks, they aren’t the same. A firewall works by evaluating traffic for signs of malicious code and activity. In comparison, RASP is a broader and more comprehensive cybersecurity solution that protects the complete runtime environment in which the device operates.

RASP doesn’t just look for malicious code and activity; it’s able to block potential cyber attacks. If a malicious app is trying to harvest data from an otherwise secure database, for instance, it may force the app to stop. Other cybersecurity solutions may only notify the network administrator, which may prove insufficient at mitigating the damage.

There are two primary ways in which RASP can be deployed. It can be deployed in monitor mode where it scans the application for malicious code and activity, and it can be deployed in protection mode where it actively blocks cyber attacks originating from or associated with the application.

Benefits of Using RASP

If you regularly download and use apps, you should consider using RASP. As previously mentioned, applications are a common vector for cyber attacks. Hackers often develop their own malicious apps, or they embed malicious code into legitimate apps. Regardless, when you can execute an app containing malicious code, it may result in severe damage to your business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure as well as its reputation. RASP can protect against app-related cyber attacks via its monitor mode and protection mode.

You can also use RASP in conjunction with other cybersecurity solutions. For additional protection, for example, you may want to use a firewall, an intrusion detection system (IDS) and antivirus software.