Security testing for applications refers to the various techniques used to ensure an application does not have any inherent security vulnerabilities which could be exploited for malicious purposes by hackers and the like.
In an ideal world, security testing would take place during the entire development of the application, but it is often the case that such testing takes place at the end once the application is finished.
Whether testing is integrated into the development life-cycle of the application or addressed at the end, the important thing is that it is carried out thoroughly.
One of the main methods of security testing an application involves the use of what is known as penetration testing tools – these are used to scan for vulnerabilities within the app.
This is complemented by the review of source code, whether manually or by automated means.
As an application can contain half a million lines of code, manually reviewing the entire source code is generally not feasible; some kind of brute force tool to crunch through the code is necessary to exhaustively check all avenues in order to detect vulnerabilities.
There are myriad tools which can be employed to detect vulnerabilities in an application.
Whilst some necessitate a high degree of technical expertise on the part of the user, other are fully automated. Results will vary depending on various factors such as the type of data fed into the tool, whether it be configuration, http traffic, source, binary, libraries or connections to give some examples.
Let's look at some of the main kinds of tools in more detail.
Static Application Security Testing, also referred to as SAST, is a technique employed to analyse source code. SAST involves analysing the source code in order to find potential vulnerabilities.
This method relies on a high level of expertise and can involve a high level of processing power. The benefit of Static Application Security Testing is that it reports less false positives.
Dynamic Application Security Testing, sometimes called DAST, involves detecting vulnerabilities by running a URL through automated scanning software.
The advantages of DAST are that it is fast and easy to integrate. The possible disadvantage of this method is that it can be prone to reporting false positives and negatives.
Interactive Application Security Testing, also known as IAST, is a method whereby the application is assessed through software instrumentation.
IAST has the advantages of both the aforementioned Dynamic Application Security Testing and Static Application Security Testing methods.
This technique grants access to various data including code, http traffic and configuration information.
If you are not sure of the kind of testing your application require, CloudCoCo can perform a security assessment of your current environment and guide you through the process.
If you’d like any help, ask a question below and one of our team will happily provide you with guidance
There are a multitude of potential risks vis a vis security for applications.
Some of the various categories of potential threats and attacks include input validation, tampering, authentication, authorisation, configuration management, session management, cryptography, parameter manipulation, sensitive information, exception management, and auditing and logging.
Attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and prevalent, and it is therefore important that robust security measures are in place and an application is fully tested for security threats prior to launch.
From a security standpoint, application testing is incredibly important as it ensures a safe and reliable user experience without the risk of data theft, loss, or other security breaches.
Aside from security, application testing in general is beneficial in ensuring a smooth user experience with high performance from the application.
It's important to ensure the app doesn't crash and therefore it's vital that bugs are detected and removed.
A poorly performing, unstable or unsafe app is very bad for business as it will diminish the reputation of your organisation.
As we mentioned at the beginning, it's often the case that security application testing as carried out almost as an afterthought once the application is complete.
This isn't ideal; it can save a lot of time and make the application's security more robust if testing is integrated into each stage of the development cycle.
Developers should be aware of and comprehend the various challenges and threats implicit to the application throughout its design and build.
Using advanced security tools when creating the source code can help to identify and eradicate any potential vulnerabilities before the app is finished.
Another important point to note is that testing should encompass the internal interface as well as APIs and UIs.
Whilst vigilance should be practised against external threats from the likes of user inputs, testing should not neglect weak authentication or other internal vulnerabilities.
Security amongst inputs, connections, and integrations between internal systems should be thoroughly tested as well to safeguard against potential weaknesses that could be exploited.
Testing should be carried out frequently; novel threats are registered all the time and so it's important that these are tested for in the event that a security update is required.
Resources should be allocated for continuous testing so that critical and high-impact threats can be resolved swiftly.
If you need any assistance testing your new application throughout its life cycle, contact the team at CloudCoCo on 0333 455 9885, email email@example.com or ask a question below.
In much the same way that in-house source code is tested, third-party code also needs to be subjected to the same rigorous testing standards.
Whether it's commercial or open source, any component from a third-party should be tested in case there are issues which need to be patched, or even components which will need to be replaced entirely.
An exhaustive process of manual and automated testing should be applied to the application in its entirety to ensure that it performs well and is safe and secure.
CloudCoCo is on standby to help manage any aspects of your Cyber Security today from initial testing to a full Security Operations Centre. Get in touch today to see how together we can grow your business whilst remaining secure against future threats.