Security testing is the testing to identify vulnerabilities, threats, and risks associated with the product which can expose it to the hackers and other unauthorized intruders. In today’s scenario, security threats are real and are becoming more and more technologically advanced. They can not only cause huge data and business losses but can bring a bad reputation for the organization.
Hence, it becomes vital to uncover the security dangers and gaps in the product. In other words, security testing ensures appropriate action on the issues before they arise in a production environment. Therefore, it can save massive losses in terms of data or secured information and also revenue.
You may read the System Testing article which we have covered in the previous articles.
Why Security Testing
The consequences of the security breach are devastating. To start with, imagine if a banking website gets hacked. Likewise, if any social networking site carrying many details of its members exposes the data to unauthorized users. Undoubtedly, the technology to build user-friendly products has progressed, providing seamless uninterrupted access to its users. Similarly, intruding and hacking techniques have become more and more powerful.
Therefore, the security features of the product can no longer be under negligence. In other words, high standards of security should be deployed in the application. In fact, effective security measures should be taken right from the start of the project. Because if the product is not following security standards right from the beginning, it will become more and more difficult to incorporate them at later stages. Thereby making it vulnerable to hackers and malicious attacks.
What is OWASP
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a worldwide non-profit organization with the objective of improving the security of all types of software.
It guides and helps software developers and other stakeholders about common security threats and vulnerabilities. Also, it helps organizations develop, purchase, and maintain secure and safe software applications.
Types of Security Threats
The software and web applications provide the convenience of work and make it super fast. But at the same time, there are shortcomings when it comes to relying on web applications for business processes. The most important of them, which we are discussing is this article is security threats to the software products. Let us have a look at some of the common security threats :
The security infrastructure of the product requires complex functioning elements like OS, network, browsers, servers, and secure application code. Any lapses in these can cause security lapses. These also require frequent maintenance and checks for security vulnerabilities. They need to undergo penetration testing to identify weaknesses to potential threats.
The various types of Malware software, like Spyware, Viruses, Ransomware, Worms, and Trojans can cause big problems with the product. They can attach themselves with the system or the product and provide data leakage and can cause product breakdown. They are capable of crippling the complete system. Backup of the databases and system should always be ensured. The firewall must be up to date to check these from infiltrating into the system.
Injection attacks are another common threat which targets the data of web applications. Some examples of injection attacks include SQL injection, code injection and cross-site scripting. To protect applications from it, robust coding skills and data validation techniques should be used. Also, security standards should be followed right from the start.
Phishing attacks usually involve email services. They look like emails from legitimate sources, with the goal of acquiring sensitive information like login credentials, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and other data. Moreover, they can contain malicious files which can be potentially dangerous for the system.
In Brute Force, hackers guess passwords of the application and enter into the application. Now they can gain access to the unauthorized web application details.
These are the group of tools which help gain administrative access to the network and systems and eventually exploit them.
Security Testing Techniques
There are various types of testing techniques which organizations adapt to combat the security vulnerabilities. The technique to use depends on the project’s security requirements.
- Penetration testing: In penetration testing or pen testing, tester acts as a hacker and tries to crack the system thereby exposing its security vulnerabilities. Hence, this testing is also an ethical hacking technique. These testers are skilful ethical hackers who can crack into the system from various means. This is a very common testing done for web applications.
- Vulnerability Scanning: During vulnerability scanning, automated software scans the system for known and common vulnerabilities.
- Security Scanning: This targets to uncover security gaps of the system and network. Both manual and automated scanning can perform this security scanning.
- Risk Assessment: This involves the analysis of the security risks of the product. After finding the risks they are classified as a low, medium and high. Next, the possible solution to these risky areas is worked out.
- Security Auditing: In this, the resources and code of the application are audited for possible security flaws.
- Posture Assessment: It is a combination of three techniques Security scanning, Ethical Hacking and Risk Assessments to find complete security status posture of an organization.
Process of security testing
Security testing follows the same process as any other testing although from the perspective of ensuring the security
- Requirement Analysis: Analyse the security requirements of the system like the threats it can be vulnerable to and what are the expectations of the users.
- Planning and tool selection: Establish the scope and schedule of the testing. It will include the systems and resources for testing. Depending on the type of projects and its security requirements, one can choose the tool for testing.
- Execution: In this phase, the execution of test scenarios happens while carefully recording the results and observations.
- Test result analysis: Test results are analyzed for vulnerabilities, gaps, and sensitive information leak.
- Fixing the vulnerabilities: After the test results are there, it is time to fix the issues in the code and in the system. This step beefs up the security and safety of the system and its user’s sensitive information.
Tools for Security Testing
Some of the common tools for security testing are :
- Metasploit: It is a collection of penetration testing tool to discover vulnerabilities, and manage security evaluations. It can work on servers, web applications, and networks.
- Nmap: It is a free and open source tool for scanning system and network for security vulnerabilities. It runs on all major operating systems and can scan both small and large networks.
- Wireshark: With Wireshark, one can see all the activities on the network with their minute details. It helps assess network vulnerabilities with data packet capturing.
- ArmorizeCodeSecure: It provides the capability to locate web application source code vulnerabilities, combat web malware and prevent web attacks by assisting vulnerability remedies at the source code level.
There are numerous ways to break an application. And, with each passing day, these ways are increasing and becoming more efficient. Thus, security testing plays an extremely important role to safeguard the product from the malicious attacks. Invariably, the process of ensuring a secure application should start from the beginning of the project and continue until the product exists. Although security testing is a costly process but skipping security measures can have damaging consequences to the product and organization.