To keep your software applications safe from malicious attacks and your data confidential, the best solution is security testing. Find out what security testing is all about, what tools are available and how to solve security testing challenges.

The importance of Security Testing

Cybersecurity is a trending topic after global data hacks and spread of malware. Every business wants their data to be secure and safe. To protect your data, your applications need to be free of any possible security bugs. This is done through security testing, where testers play the role of “attackers” and try to find loopholes and weaknesses of your systems that might cause you unwanted loss of information to individuals outside of the organization. Identifying possible threats and fix these through coding are the main activities of security testing.

One popular (and false) myth about security testing is that there is no return on investment (ROI) in security testing, which is why not every company is prepared to do it. However, security testing can point out where your applications can be improved in order to improve efficiency, reduce downtime and enable maximum throughput.

Types of Security Testing

There are seven main types of security testing today:

Vulnerability Scanning: uses automated software to scan a system against known vulnerability signatures.

Security Scanning: identifies network and system weaknesses and tries to reduce these risks.

Penetration testing: simulates malicious hacker attacks and involves analysis of a system to check for potential vulnerabilities to external hacking attempts.

Risk Assessment: involves analysis of security risks in the organization, recommends controls and measures to reduce the risk.

Security Auditing: an internal inspection of applications and operating systems for security flaws.

Ethical hacking: involves hacking an Organization Software systems, with the intent to expose system security flaws.

Posture Assessment: combines Security scanning, Ethical Hacking and Risk Assessments in order to show an organization’s overall security posture.

Security Testing and the 80/20 Rule

The Pareto Principle, better known as the 80/20 rule, states that 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. This principle can also be applied to security testing, fixing 80% by focusing on the 20% causes. This can be achieved by identifying and classifying your applications on business criticality so that it´s clear which apps are vulnerable to eventual revenue or reputation loss. This distinction helps you to apply the appropriate security testing type (and assign the associated budget) to each application category, enabling you to be more efficient. Your current systems also need to be updated regularly with the latest security updates, so make sure your organization implements a patching process schedule, as well as a secure Software Development Life Cycle process. This ensures that security assurance activities such as penetration testing, code review, and architecture analysis are an integral part of the development effort. Finally, having a Web Application Firewall (WAF) will protect business critical apps.

Security Testing Tools

There are several security testing tools on the market. We can distinguish between commercial and open source security testing tools. Free and open source tools are: FxCop, FindBugs, FlawFinder and Ramp Ascend. Commercial security testing tools are Armorize CodeSecure, GrammaTech, Appscan and Veracode.

Security Testing Challenges

Security testing comes with a number of challenges. Compared to functional testing, security testing covers a larger test space. Part of the job can be done through automated testing, while doing manual testing for the rest. Even though it’s tempting to focus only on the business critical parts of an application, it´s always better to test the entire application as vulnerabilities can be anywhere. Security testers also must defend against a variety of unspecified attacks, whether it´s a cookie value or GET parameter and test hidden parts of an application.

If you need assistance conquering and addressing your security testing challenges, our dedicated team of experts at XBOSoft are here to help!  To get started, please contact us today. Thanks!