Security Testing in Software Development

Security Testing

Security Testing is an integral component of software development that helps mitigate cyber threats. Teams should incorporate Security Testing throughout their development processes and collaborate with experts so that their products remain as secure as possible.

Security testing aims to identify and address vulnerabilities within an application, through various techniques such as vulnerability scanning, penetration testing and risk evaluation testing.

What is Security Testing?

Security Testing refers to the practice of evaluating networks, systems, products or designs against their specific security requirements and for vulnerabilities (penetration testing). Unlike traditional IT and cyber-security tests, Security Testing emphasizes real-life protection mechanisms against attackers.

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) checks whether an app was developed with security in mind, checking for things such as insecure input handling. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) analyzes an application during use to identify weaknesses exploitable by hackers. Vulnerability Scanning detects weaknesses either manually or automatically while Penetration Testing simulates an attack from outside hackers to find flaws and assess their severity.

Shifting Security Testing left can help developers understand and implement best practices while an application is being constructed, reducing time spent discovering vulnerabilities and rectifying them. Furthermore, shifting Security Testing left may help close the gap between developer teams, security teams and operations teams and foster better collaboration.

Why Security Testing is Important?

Security testing aims to protect software programs from both internal and external threats, with different kinds of tests taking various approaches in order to guarantee data protection measures are properly implemented and adhered to.

Cyber criminals are continually developing new tools to carry out attacks, making it essential that we continuously develop our test methodologies in order to stay abreast of their evolving tactics.

Testing helps companies identify vulnerabilities, assess their severity and decide on an effective course of action for remediation. Testing also serves to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches as well as ensure they remain compliant with industry regulations and standards.

Integrating security testing throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC) can significantly decrease the number of defects discovered at later stages, saving time and resources. This approach can especially be helpful when dealing with legacy systems which contain potential security vulnerabilities, as it ensures developers adhere to secure coding practices while avoiding common mistakes.

How to do Security Testing?

Security testing involves identifying vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit to gain entry to software systems. As part of software development, it can either be conducted manually or through automated tools; best practices for security testing include identifying security requirements, designing tests that meet those needs systematically, conducting them systematically and then analyzing and reporting findings on them.

Security tests encompass vulnerability scanning, penetration testing and code review. Vulnerability scanning involves using automated tools to analyze software for potential security flaws. It should be conducted regularly in order to effectively identify a variety of software vulnerabilities.

Penetration testing (commonly referred to as pen testing) is a form of security test that simulates an attack from hackers in order to locate and exploit software vulnerabilities. Pen testing forms an integral component of any security testing strategy and many compliance standards such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) require its inclusion as part of their compliance program. Pen tests may be conducted manually or using automated tools like fuzzers, password crackers and web crawlers.

Security Testing Tools

Security testing tools come in many shapes and sizes; it is crucial that you find one suitable to your business, project and budget. An inclusive tool should provide both manual and automatic reviews to cover a range of vulnerabilities as well as static analysis and penetration testing.

Static testing (SAST) tools use a white box approach to evaluate software applications without running them, inspecting source code for security vulnerabilities like syntax errors, math errors, input validation problems and insecure third-party library usage.

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), also known as black box tests, evaluate applications at runtime by sending requests and monitoring their behavior during runtime. DAST tools can identify security vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks and remote command execution (RCE).

IAST (Interactive Application Security Testing) is an evolution of SAST and DAST that combines their benefits by inspecting code as it runs and inspecting compiled binary code as well as scanning APIs for common vulnerabilities. Veracode offers both DAST, IAST and manual penetration testing all on one platform.

1. Intruder

Intruder is a penetration testing tool designed to identify security weaknesses in your IT environment and keep businesses of all sizes secure from hackers. It works by performing simulated attacks against it, then detecting any weaknesses exposed. Finally, Intruder offers detailed reports with action plans designed to keep you safe.

Penetration testing, or pen testing, is an authorized, simulated attack against a computer system to assess its security. Penetration tests typically include white box, black box and grey box testing methods which each provide different levels of insight into the system being examined. Such exams can examine anything from network infrastructure and hardware upgrades to email and phishing attacks as well as physical access.

2. Teramind

Teramind is an employee monitoring solution that offers real-time screen monitoring of employees to ensure compliance with security standards and detect unauthorized behavior early. Administrators can utilize alerts, incident reports and session recordings to take appropriate actions to mitigate unruly employee conduct quickly and take swift measures against it; and users can monitor third-party vendors or remote users and prevent data loss with its security/access control features.

UAM (User and Entity Behavior Analytics) detects and alerts on suspicious activities like copying unauthorized files or accessing sensitive data, automatically warning, notifying, and blocking employees who violate company policies. Additionally, this tool can monitor multiple devices including computers, tablets, and mobile phones.

Time tracking, scheduling, project management and productivity analysis features help enhance workplace efficiency. Plans come equipped with 24/7 tech support via phone, email and live chat – and software updates are included in your subscription price! Furthermore, Knowledge Base/FAQs for its customers provide even further help and convenience.

3. Owasp

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening software applications through valuable resources, cutting-edge tools, and thorough guidelines. Their flagship projects include the OWASP Top Ten list and API security risks as well as their deliberately insecure web app, the Juice Shop which can be used in awareness demos or capture-the-flag competitions, an extensive testing guide known as OWASP Testing Guide as well as their Zed Attack Proxy which serves as a universal scanner to test web apps for common vulnerabilities.

F5 proudly supports and contributes to OWASP initiatives through our products, such as Web Application Firewalls designed to mitigate many vulnerabilities listed in their Top 10. For more information about protecting apps with F5, download our Security Testing Guide.

4. WireShark

WireShark (commonly referred to as Ethereal) is an advanced packet analyzer used for security testing that provides detailed analyses of network traffic at an individual bit level, making it useful in penetration testing to pinpoint vulnerabilities or potential attack vectors.

A packet contains information about network connections such as its destination, source and protocol type. An intruder could intercept these packets to gain insight into devices connected to a network and any vulnerabilities or weaknesses present within it; hence it is imperative that any penetration test plan includes identification of vulnerable vectors.

Wireshark provides security professionals with many useful features for monitoring traffic. As an open-source, cross-platform and customizable tool that supports extensive protocol support it is user friendly and customizable to any need or situation. While some might perceive using Wireshark to be risky it all depends on the situation as most data being analyzed is typically harmless (for instance transported passwords) while capture filters allow for targeted traffic filtering as well as display filters which only show specific captured items.

Types of Security Testing in Software Testing

Security testing serves as a quality check to ensure software programs remain free from internal and external threats, safeguard sensitive data and meet compliance regulations.

Numerous security tests are employed to locate flaws in systems, applications and networks. These include non-intrusive vulnerability scanning, penetration testing and risk evaluation.

1. Penetration Testing Ethical Hacking

Security testing is a type of non-functional software testing which assesses the integrity and vulnerability of applications. Security testing identifies flaws within software applications as well as vulnerabilities to cyber attacks; ultimately reducing risks related to costly data breaches and reputational damage.

Penetration testing involves simulating an online attack against a system in order to uncover exploitable vulnerabilities and discover exploitable flaws. Companies use penetration tests as a great way to identify application flaws before hackers discover them and use them against them, while it also gives them insight into their defense mechanisms against common attack vectors such as hacking or spoofing attacks.

Penetration testers utilize reconnaissance and hacking tools to detect any open ports, unsecure devices, or weak passwords on systems they test. A black-box penetration test means no prior knowledge is shared about the target system while white-box penetration testing allows more details such as network diagrams and source codes to be revealed during an examination of target systems.

Social engineering penetration tests often include employing social engineering techniques such as phishing, vishing (voice phishing) and smishing to manipulate employees into divulging sensitive information. Furthermore, they may use techniques like impersonating delivery people in order to gain entry to an office building and complete physical office penetration tests.

2. Application Security Testing AST

Application security testing, also known as Application Security Analysis or SAST, involves using software tools to find security vulnerabilities and threats within applications. Application Security Testing forms an integral part of software development lifecycle processes and can help protect against cyber attacks, data breaches and other forms of security incidents.

AST testing can complement penetration testing to provide a more in-depth evaluation of an application’s vulnerability risk profile. AST can detect various attacks and weaknesses such as SQL injection, XSS vulnerabilities, cross-site request forgery (CSRF), misconfigurations, authentication/authorization issues and potential exploits.

AST testing typically occurs in non-production environments, such as a virtual lab or quality assurance/testing environment. It can run on an individual IDE, cloud-based services like CI/CD platforms or DevOps pipelines or integrated with continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD). Furthermore, dynamic analysis allows dynamic vulnerability identification that might not have been discovered with static methods alone.

3. Web Application Security Testing

Web applications are prime targets for hackers as they provide users access 24/7 while also holding sensitive back-end data. Therefore, web apps must implement stringent security measures in order to keep unauthorized individuals from gaining entry or disrupting functionality of an application.

Security testing of web applications entails assessing the strength of an app’s security measures to identify any vulnerabilities and threats, using automated tools and manual review processes. Testing helps detect any weaknesses in code, design, or architecture which could be exploited by attackers.

Security testing should be incorporated into business-critical industries like e-commerce or finance regularly to ensure that critical vulnerabilities don’t impact functionality or lead to data breach, potentially creating public embarrassment and public liability issues. Furthermore, integration of security testing into quality assurance (QA) procedures serves as a check before software goes into production and ensures compliance with industry-specific security standards and regulations.

4. API Security Testing

APIs are a key part of an organization’s application security posture, with numerous high-profile data breaches occurring due to attackers exploiting vulnerable APIs. Security teams should regularly conduct penetration tests and scan their APIs for vulnerabilities so as to prevent hackers from taking advantage of them.

API Security Testing evaluates an organization’s APIs by testing authentication, authorization, encryption protocols, sanitization and input validation. In addition, this test ensures that authenticated users with specific roles have proper access to resources within the API and offers proof of non-repudiation (the ability to verify if messages or transactions come from certain individuals at certain times).

API security tests are most effective when carried out as early as possible in the development process, ideally before code goes live in DevOps pipeline. Security teams should continue performing API tests after any code change to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses as soon as they emerge; continuous testing helps keep companies’ application security posture up-to-date and protects them against attacks that would have gone otherwise unnoticed.

5. Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management (VM) is an ongoing process that involves identifying, prioritizing and contextualizing software vulnerabilities within your organization’s security environment. Vulnerability management is key in protecting against cyber attacks or data breaches which threaten your business.

Conducting security scans involves using specialized tools to scan systems and applications for vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit, as well as manually reviewing scan results to remove false positives and remove false positives. Furthermore, penetration testing – a type of software testing which simulates attack scenarios to discover flaws in an application’s code – may also be conducted.

This test measures how a software performs under heavy loads to see whether or not it can withstand attacks such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). It’s an essential element of secure development and increasingly required by applications and developments as a measure to comply with compliance standards. DDoS testing can also be done continuously or as part of penetration tests or other forms of security testing, and can help reduce costly penalties or reputation damage from data breaches and security threats.

6. Security Audits

Security auditing is a form of software testing designed to evaluate the efficacy of cybersecurity measures. Its main goals include reviewing existing policies, assuring compliance with regulatory standards and detecting breaches.

Security testing involves simulating hacker attacks to assess application and system vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit, either manually or using automated tools. Testing should be an integral part of development rather than something done as an afterthought before deployment.

Identification of code vulnerabilities ensures that hackers cannot gain entry and disrupt operations, making this task particularly essential for web applications that must remain accessible at all times, like an e-commerce store during peak shopping seasons.

Testing to ensure only authorized users can gain access to certain systems or data is crucial in protecting sensitive customer data and financial records from attackers who could modify or delete information, like transaction receipts or invoices.

7. Risk Assessment

Risk evaluation begins by identifying potential hazards and their repercussions, followed by an examination of how likely each hazard will occur, its potential effects and how to reduce them – an ongoing process in which security experts should be involved during beta testing sessions as part of this evaluation process.

Authorization establishes access levels for users or clients and ensures they do not take actions that go outside their role. Non-repudiation is an essential aspect of electronic commerce and allows businesses to verify whether a transaction or message came from an identifiable user. Finally, availability ensures applications remain accessible when needed while DDoS attacks or resource exhaustion is prevented from disrupting operations and creating downtime.

Testing business critical systems regularly is of utmost importance and should be given top priority for fixing vulnerabilities. Testing third-party components used in enterprise software – particularly open source ones – must also be carried out regularly as part of this testing regimen, and subsequent software fixes should be retested regularly afterward to make sure they’ve taken effect successfully.

8. Security Posture Assessment

Security posture evaluation involves conducting a comprehensive audit of an organization’s cybersecurity systems and processes. It offers recommendations to strengthen the system while decreasing vulnerability; additionally, this approach helps organizations understand where they stand in terms of cybersecurity maturity level – essential in both preventing breaches as well as responding to any incidents that arise.

An assessment of security posture can be carried out either internally by internal teams or external consultants with impartial perspectives and expertise. All stakeholders, such as security, IT and compliance teams should participate in the process for optimal results. While evaluation may take some time, its effort will pay dividends in the end.

Conducting a security posture assessment is an integral component of any company’s security program. It can help identify and prioritize vulnerabilities, improve cybersecurity defenses and minimize costly attacks that threaten to harm business reputations. Once this process has concluded, retest your software to make sure all identified issues have been fixed as soon as possible, protecting sensitive data at its source.

Sam is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.