Security Audit

What is Security Testing and Why is it important?

Published on: December 8, 2021

What is Security Testing and Why is it important?

Security is a big deal in modern application development. Business logic is getting more and more complicated. Web applications are incorporating a lot of new stuff. On the one hand, it is a good thing – a modern application is a complex product. On the other hand, it leads to a lot more security vulnerabilities. It is a challenging task to develop browser-based software, which will be secure and reliable. In this blog post, We will share our opinions and ideas about what security testing is and how it can help in making a web application more secure.

What is Security Testing?

Security testing is a type of software testing used to search for security vulnerabilities in the application. These vulnerabilities are primarily found in web applications, cloud infrastructure, blockchain applications, etc.

Security testing is a combination of the testing techniques used to test the application for security problems. It is mainly used to test the security of the data and functionalities of the application.

Security testing is not just about testing the application by breaking into it, but security testing is also about identifying weaknesses in applications that attackers may exploit. Security testing can be done manually or with the help of software tools known as automated security testing tools.

Why is Security Testing important?

Security testing is a process that evaluates the security of a system and determines its potential vulnerabilities and threats to its security. Security testing is an essential phase in the SDLC and is used to find the security issues in the system to prevent attacks in the real world. 

Security testing is based on the assessment of potential security threats in the system. It is a process in which the system’s security is tested by performing both positive and negative tests to find the potential security threats in the system.

The main goal of security testing is to identify the threats in the system and measure its potential vulnerabilities so that the threats can be encountered and the system does not stop functioning or can not be exploited.

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5 different types of Security Testing

1. Vulnerability Scanning

Vulnerability scanning is an automated activity that identifies the vulnerabilities present in your software systems or network. Typically, automated vulnerability scanning is done periodically and is not tied to a specific event (such as a change to the system). It is a proactive approach to finding and remediating vulnerabilities.

2. Penetration testing

Penetration testing is a testing method in which testers find security weaknesses, usually to determine the risk of damage from possible attackers. In other words, penetration testers try to find security weaknesses before a hacker does in your network or software.

Benefits of Penetration Testing
Image: Benefits of Penetration Testing

3. Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is the process of identifying and prioritizing the risks and threats that may be faced by an organization and its business-critical assets or IT systems. Risk assessment helps an organization take the necessary countermeasures for reducing and mitigating risk and threats and respond to them in the event of an incident effectively. This is why risk assessment is often considered the first step of the risk management process.

4. Security Auditing

A security audit reviews and assesses an application or network to verify its compliance with standards, regulations, and company policy. It is a systematic and detailed examination of a system or network to evaluate the system’s security and detect and report any security vulnerabilities. A security audit is usually carried out by an independent third party or by an internal auditing team.

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5. Source Code Review

Source code analysis (aka source code review) verifies that the code complies with the specifications. It is a process of looking for errors and vulnerabilities in the code. It is an essential part of the software development life cycle (SDLC). 

Even though it’s called “review,” the review process often involves more than one person, and it is usually done by independent security experts rather than by the development team. This way, the specialists can identify and report potential security and functional issues. As a result, the quality of the product and its security is improved.

6 principles of Security Testing

1. Confidentiality

Confidentiality is one of the cornerstones of information security. Confidentiality is the obligation of an organization or individual to keep the information confidential. Confidential information is any information that is not meant to be shared with third parties. The primary purpose of confidentiality is to protect the stakeholders’ interests by preventing the unauthorized disclosure of information. 

2. Integrity

Integrity is one of the core security concepts. It is about system and data integrity. The need for integrity stems from the fact that we often want to ensure that a file or data record has not been modified or has not been modified by an unauthorized party. Integrity is a fundamental security concept and is often confused with the related concepts of confidentiality and non-repudiation.

3. Availability

The definition of availability in information security is relatively straightforward. It’s the ability to access your information when you need it. A data breach might cause downtime, productivity, loss of reputation, fines, regulatory action, and many other problems. For all of these reasons, it’s crucial to have a data availability plan in case a data breach happens.

4. Authentication

Authentication is the act of confirming or denying the truth of an attribute of a single piece of data claimed valid by an entity. Authentication can be perceived as a set of security procedures intended to verify the identity of an object or person. 

5. Authorization

Authorization is a security mechanism to determine access levels or user/client privileges related to system resources, including files, services, computer programs, data, and application features. 

6. Non-repudiation

In the context of information security, non-repudiation is the capability to prove the identity of a user or process that sent a particular message or performed a specific action. Proof of non-repudiation is a critical component of electronic commerce. It protects businesses from fraud and ensures that a company can trust a message or a transaction from a specific user or computer system. 

Security Testing Tools

Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

Static Application Security Testing (SAST) focuses on analyzing source code and application files. It is a technical and time-consuming process and is used to identify security flaws and vulnerabilities in applications. 

SAST is also known as Static Code Analysis (SCA) or Static Application Testing (SAT). It is a methodology used to assess the security of software applications. It involves the use of manual and automated tools to discover defects or flaws in the source code and configuration errors. In contrast to the Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) methodology, SAST focuses on analyzing source code and application files. 

SAST operates at a different level of abstraction than a typical vulnerability scanner. The security issues that a SAST tool can detect are similar to those detected through a source code review.

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST is the the process of finding security issues using manual and automation testing tools that simulates external attacks on an application to identify outcomes that are not part of a typical user experience.

A dynamic application security testing (DAST) tool is a testing tool that examines the application during runtime. The purpose of DAST is to detect exploitable flaws in the application while it is running, using a wide range of attacks. 

In DAST, the application is tested with different inputs and parameters, and the tool monitors the application, looking for any reactions. The goal is to test the application for all possible vulnerabilities, and the DAST tool will generate a report detailing the weaknesses of the application. 

Application security testing is an integral part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). It is essential to test the application during the development phase, as well as the production phase. DAST tools are the next step in the evolution of application security testing, as they can detect vulnerabilities using different kinds of real-time attacks.

What is security testing and DAST in SDLC is included in security testing tools
Image: DAST in SDLC

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) is a modern approach to application security testing. IAST is a best-in-class methodology for evaluating the security of web and mobile applications that are designed to identify and report vulnerabilities in the application under test. 

3 Things to check while opting for External Security Testing Vendor

When a company has a limited budget for a security testing project, they usually choose to outsource this testing work. One ubiquitous question that then arises in the minds of the management is: how do you choose a suitable security testing vendor? Choosing a good vendor is not an easy job.

Following are the three things that you should consider while choosing a good security testing vendor.

1. Make sure the company has an up-to-date vulnerability database and skilled security engineers.

2. The Return on Investment (ROI) should be good as compared to the price.

3. Check the reputation of the third-party vendor in the market.

How to choose security testing company?
Image: How to choose security testing company?

Tools used for Security Testing

Security Testing is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of activities, from vulnerability scanning and code analysis to penetration testing, security audits, and more. To better understand what tools are used in security testing, we have created a list of security testing tools.

The most common tools used for Security Testing are:

1. OWASP ZAP: OWASP ZAP is an application vulnerability assessment and management tool for web applications. ZAP is often used by developers who are building applications and by security teams who are doing internal security assessments.

2. W3AF: W3AF is a Web Application Attack and Audit Framework. The framework is extensible with modules that are designed to be easy to configure and extend. The framework can either be used in a manual or automated way by using the API in the Python language.

3. SonarQube: SonarQube is an open-source platform developed by SonarSource. It is designed to perform a continuous inspection of code quality to perform automatic reviews with static analysis of code to detect bugs, code smells, and security vulnerabilities in 20+ programming languages.

4. NMAP: Nmap is an open-source network administration tool for monitoring network connections. It is used to scan large networks and helps for auditing hosts and services and intrusion detection.

5. Wireshark: Wireshark is a network traffic analyzer, monitoring software that allows you to see what traffic flows through your system network.

Security Testing with Astra

Astra is a leading cyber security company providing cutting-edge security testing solutions. We offer a comprehensive range of services, from testing and vulnerability assessments to complete application security testing. 

Companies of all sizes use our products to test their applications’ security and protect their digital assets. We provide complete testing solutions that both security experts and non-technical users can use.

Our security experts performs a thorough security audit and penetration testing of your systems. Post that, Astra provides you with a detailed and extensive report, along with an action plan to fix issues for any security vulnerabilities we detect.

Why Choose Astra?
Image: Why Choose Astra?

Conclusion

Security testing is one of the essential parts of making sure your application is secure and fast. Many software companies and testers consider it a complex task, but you can make it a success with the right approach. Astra’s only goal is to make security simple for you. Get in touch with us, and let us make sure you are protected from hackers.

Have any questions or suggestions? Feel free to talk to us anytime! 🙂

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FAQ’s

1. What is Security Testing?

Security Testing is a process of identifying and eliminating the weaknesses in the software that can lead to an attack on the infrastructure system of a company.

2. How is Security Testing different from Software Testing?

A primary difference between security testing and other forms of software testing is that security testing is concerned with identifying vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to gain access to systems. This is in contrast to other testing practices, which are more concerned with identifying deficiencies in the way software functions.

3. How much does penetration testing cost?

Security testing costs between $490 and $999 per scan, depending on your plan. To learn more about the pricing of Astra’s solution, check this out.

4. Can Astra help me with Security Testing?

Yes, Astra offers an automated security testing tool and manual security testing. Astra can help you with web application security testing, mobile application security testing, network security testing, blockchain security testing and API testing.

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Ankit Pahuja

Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security. Ever since his adulthood (literally, he was 20 years old), he began finding vulnerabilities in websites & network infrastructures. Starting his professional career as a software engineer at one of the unicorns enables him in bringing "engineering in marketing" to reality. Working actively in the cybersecurity space for more than 2 years makes him the perfect T-shaped marketing professional. Ankit is an avid speaker in the security space and has delivered various talks in top companies, early-age startups, and online events.
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