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The prime objective of security testing is to find out how vulnerable a system may be and to determine whether its data and resources are protected from potential intruders. Online transactions have increased rapidly of late making security testing as one of the most critical areas of testing for such web applications. Security testing is more effective in identifying potential vulnerabilities when performed regularly.
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With so many techniques and approaches to web and mobile app security testing it can be difficult to understand which techniques to use and when to use them. Experience shows that there is no right or wrong answer to the question of exactly what techniques should be used to build a testing framework. In fact, all techniques should probably be used to test all the areas that need to be tested.
Although it is clear that there is no single technique that can be performed to effectively cover all security testing and ensure that all issues have been addressed, many companies adopt only one approach. The approach used has historically been penetration testing. Penetration testing, while useful, cannot effectively address many of the issues that need to be tested. It is simply “too little too late” in the software development life cycle (SDLC).
A correct approach is a balanced approach that includes several techniques, from manual reviews to technical testing. A balanced approach should cover testing in all phases of the SDLC. This approach leverages the most appropriate techniques available depending on the current SDLC phase.
Of course, there are times and circumstances where only one technique is possible. For example, a test on a web application that has already been created, but where the testing party does not have access to the source code. In this case, penetration testing is clearly better than no testing at all. However, the top software testing companies should be encouraged to challenge assumptions, such as no access to source code, and to explore the possibility of more complete testing.
Security Testing Overview
Security testing techniques and approaches scour for vulnerabilities or security holes in applications. These vulnerabilities leave applications open to exploitation. Ideally, security testing is implemented throughout the entire software development life cycle (SDLC) so that vulnerabilities may be addressed in a timely and thorough manner.
Vulnerability analysis is usually the process of looking for vulnerabilities in an app. Although this may be done manually, automated scanners are usually used to identify the main vulnerabilities. Static and dynamic analysis are types of vulnerability analysis.
Static Vulnerability Analysis
During static analysis, the application’s source code is analyzed to ensure appropriate implementation of security controls. In most cases, a hybrid automatic/manual approach is used. Automatic scans catch the low-hanging fruit, and the human tester can explore the code base with specific usage contexts in mind.
Manual Code Review
A human reviewer performs manual code review by manually analyzing the application's source code for security vulnerabilities. Methods range from a basic keyword search via the 'grep' command to a line-by-line examination of the source code. IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) often provide basic code review functions and can be extended with various tools.
Automatic Code Analysis
Automated analysis tools can be used to speed up the review process of Static Application Security Testing (SAST). They check the source code for compliance with a predefined set of rules or industry best practices, they typically display a list of findings or warnings and flags for all detected violations.
Although some static code analysis tools incorporate a lot of information about the rules and semantics required to analyze apps, they may produce many false positives, particularly if they are not configured for the target environment. A security professional must therefore always review the results.
Dynamic Vulnerability Analysis
The focus of dynamic analysis (also called DAST, or Dynamic Application Security Testing) is the testing and evaluation of apps via their real-time execution. The main objective of the dynamic analysis is finding security vulnerabilities or weak spots in a program while it is running. Dynamic analysis is conducted both at the platform layer and against the back-end services and APIs, where the application's request and response patterns can be analyzed.
Dynamic analysis is usually used to check for security mechanisms that provide sufficient protection against the most prevalent types of attack, such as disclosure of data in transit, authentication and authorization issues, and server configuration errors.
Avoiding False Positives: Automated testing tools' lack of sensitivity to the application’s context is a challenge. These tools may identify a potential issue that's irrelevant. Such results are called "false positives."
Penetration Testing (a.k.a. Pentesting)
The classic approach involves all-around security testing of the target application that's available at the end of the development process. A typical security test is structured as follows:
Preparation - defining the scope of security testing, including identifying application security controls, the organization's testing goals, and sensitive data. More generally, preparation includes all synchronization with the client as well as legally protecting the tester (who is often a third party). Remember, attacking a system without written authorization is illegal in many parts of the world!
Intelligence Gathering - analyzing the environmental and architectural context of the application to gain a general contextual understanding.
Mapping the Application - based on information from the previous phases; may be complemented by automated scanning and manually exploring the application. Mapping provides a thorough understanding of the application, its entry points, the data it holds, and the main potential vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can then be ranked according to the damage their exploitation would cause so that the security tester can prioritize them. This phase includes the creation of test cases that may be used during test execution.
Exploitation - in this phase, the security tester tries to penetrate the application by exploiting the vulnerabilities identified during the previous phase. This phase is necessary for determining whether vulnerabilities are real (i.e., true positives).
Reporting - in this phase, which is essential to the client, the security tester reports the vulnerabilities he or she has been able to exploit and documents the kind of compromise he or she has been able to perform, including the compromise's scope (for example, the data he or she has been able to access illegitimately).
The purpose of a security test approach is to discover the vulnerabilities of the web application so that the developers can remove these vulnerabilities from the application and make the web application and data safe from any unauthorized action.
Security testing is one of the most important types of software testing that intended to find the vulnerabilities or weakness of the software application. The main objective of security testing is to find the vulnerabilities of system & determine that its data and resources are protected from possible intruder. Security testing allows us to identify the confidential data stays confidential or not.
There are “Seven attributes of Security Testing” followed by top software testing companies. For more details check here:
Hacker’s today are on the rage and more organizations are falling victim to them. We are hearing reports of data leaks and website hacks more frequently than ever before.
Even though security steps have been taken to prevent attacks, hackers are better equipped today.
They continue to invent new hacking mechanisms and tools. To protect your data, app and website, you need to stay ahead of the curve.
You need to be proactive and not reactive with your security. You need the best security testing tools to stay ahead.
Security testing tools are used to observe an application and test their functionality to detect as many security issues as possible to prevent hackers from penetrating. These security tools are used without accessing any source code.
First, we’ll explain what security testing is and why it is needed.
Security testing is conducted to make sure that the data in an information system can’t be accessed by someone that hasn’t been authorized to do so.
It is done to ensure that the data remains protected. Security testing protects applications from threats like malware and others that can crash them.
Here are the major reasons for conducting security testing
Security testing helps to avoid:
I can cite some practical example for security testing a web application which are being used by our software testing company here while providing QA services while providing software testing solutions to our clients.
Scenario 1: Authentication and Authorization testing.
For example in a medical domain application a receptionist is least concerned about the laboratory tests as his job is to just register the patients and schedule their appointments with doctors. So, all application modules and screens will not be available to the Role of ‘Receptionist’. Hence , proper implementation of roles and right will confirm the security of access.
Testing Approach- You need to create several user accounts with multiple roles. Then use the application with the help of these accounts and should verify that every role has access to its own modules and menus only. If the tester finds any conflict, he should log a security issue.
Some tests may include a test for quality rules w.r.t password, test for default logins, test for password recovery, test captcha, test for logout functionality, test for password change, test for security question and answer, etc.
Scenario 2 : Protection of Data e.g. How data is stored in the database
To test this scenario one has to understand three aspects of data security as mentioned below:a.) A user can view/utilize only the data which he is supposed to use.b.) How application data is stored in the database for the application.c.) Security measures adopted when the flow of sensitive or business-critical data occurs.
A tester need to test above three aspects For Example, A medical sales repersentative for a medicine production company must view the data of available stock, but cannot see how much raw material was purchased for production.
All of the sensitive data must be encrypted to make it secure.
A testig of if application data floats between different modules or is transmitted to different applications, it must be encrypted to keep it safe. For example if the sensitive data like user credentials are transmitted via HTTP, then it is a threat to application security. Instead of HTTP, sensitive data should be transferred via HTTPS. As, HTTPS increases the attack surface and thus it should be tested that server configurations are proper and certificate validity is ensured.
Scenario 3: Denial of Service (Brute-Force-Attack):
Brute Force Attack is generally done by some software tools. The concept is that by using a valid user ID, the software attempts to guess the associated password by trying to log in again and again which results in account suspension for short period of time.
The tester must verify that some mechanism of account suspension is available and is working accurately and hence test if it is secure against brute-force attack.
The testing for this scenario can also be divided into two parts – black box testing and grey-box testing.
In Black box testing, the authentication method employed by the application is discovered and tested. Furthermore, the grey box testing is based on partial knowledge of password & account details and memory trade-off attacks.
Scenario 4: SQL Injection And XSS
Here a malicious code is used by hackers in order to manipulate a website. Tester has to test the immunity for these kind of attacks. Tester must ensure that maximum lengths of all input fields are defined and implemented. (S)He should also ensure that the defined length of input fields does not accommodate any script input as well as tag input. Both these can be easily tested.
Scenario 5: Session Management
A web session is a sequence of the HTTP request and response transactions linked with the same user. The session management tests check how session management is handled in the web app.
Tester can test session expiry after particular idle time, session termination after maximum lifetime, session termination after log out, check for session cookie scope and duration, testing if a single user can have multiple simultaneous sessions.
Scenario 6: Error Handling:
A Check for error codes e.g. test 408 request time-out, 400 bad requests, 404 not found, etc. To test these, you need to make certain requests to the page such that these error codes are returned.We can use API testing using cURL and POSTMAN.