Security Testing: Techniques and Approaches to Protect Your Software

Every software should be protected from unforeseen actions that cause cessation of app’s functioning or information leak. That’s why security testing is an integral part of the testing of any product. It allows identification of the flaws, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses in the security of software products. Furthermore, this testing helps to spot to what extent data protection is reliable, and to what degree a system may be vulnerable to external interventions. Especially it concerns software that makes transactions, uses personal and bank user data or organization’s documentation.

The main aspects that should be checked during security testing are authentication, authorization, confidentiality, availability, integrity, non-repudiation, and resilience. Regular testing of such metrics helps in fixing founded issues in the coding stage and spend less time and costs for their fixing in the final stages of development, thus avoiding loss of customer loyalty, expenses for system restore, troubleshooting and additional protection.

Software Threats

Forewarned is forearmed! Before embarking on a review of the most effective techniques and approaches used in security testing, it is important to understand what threats can endanger or, even, damage the software, and what the origins of the latest are.

The most common attack is SQL injection, which implies the insertion of malicious SQL statements into an entry field for execution. Thus, attackers get the information from the server database and use it in selfish ends. Respectively all input fields should be checked on reliability during security testing.

Unauthorized access to the server or network data is also prevalent. It can be performed via data-fetching operations or monitoring the access of others. Also, having an account in the system, hackers can elevate their privilege up to super-users, and attack it by running any code.

The information leak is also possible if a web application uses the HTTP GET method to pass the info as hackers can apply URL manipulations to capture important data. It is frequent when intruders receive access to website files and place there infected links that run destructive scripts. Such scripts collect users access to accounts, act on behalf of them, steal data or bypass access controls. 

In fact, there are many ways to hack the software and harm its users. Some attacks can be minor, but there are ones that can make the app completely unusable. Professional security testing is what can help to predict and avoid unauthorized intervention to keep all data safe.       

Software Protection Techniques and Approaches

Quality security testing should be performed by professionals with a great understanding of client-server communications. But there are some techniques you can apply to protect your app at the initial stages.

If your application requires a password to access it is essential to save it from hacking with password cracking tools and using the common usernames and passwords available on the Internet. Set the opportunity to use only complex passwords and the encryption of cookies files.

The great practice in software protection is also using the security and vulnerability scanning programs. They help to identify potential security vulnerabilities in an app, computer systems, and networks.

Another important thing you need to test is database security as its information could be easily received with SQL injection attacks. You can check its vulnerability by typing a single quote (‘) in a text field. The system should reject this action, but if a database error appears it means the app is vulnerable and insecure.

More detailed security testing needs thorough preparation and planning. Here is the approach that makes it more effective:

  • understand security goals and analyze the requirements of the application under test
  • gather the information about software and networks settings, and make a list of security risks
  • based on identified threats prepare a plan for the elimination of issues, and create traceability matrix for each of them
  • choose tools and methods for each test case
  • prepare the security test case document
  • execute test cases, retest fixed bugs and perform the regression testing
  • prepare the detailed report of testing with the indication of vulnerabilities, threats, risks and open issues.

Following these steps, you can provide quality security testing of your software or just be aware of the testing process even if you entrust it to a specialized software testing company.

Conclusion

To sum up, there are a lot of ways to hack the application, and security testing is what can prevent or minimize a negative outcome. It is essential for the user to trust the software he uses, as well as it is important for the developer to provide the quality product. Therefore security testing must definitely be performed as part of every software development process.

Image credit: Protect Your Software via Bacho/Shutterstock

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