Are you a developer? Or are you a business owner? Well, this article is important for both of you. You know, the speed at which software developers create and release any application needs a constant cycle of different testing during every phase of the application development life cycle. Wondering why? Because the application layer continues to be the most vulnerable, most invaded, and the most challenging to shield in the enterprise software stack. And believe me, when I say this, it is quite dangerous!
So, is there any specific testing solution to prevent this? Well, Congratulations! There is a solution.
It’s Application Security Testing.
Application security testing is the most crucial step in the software development and release cycle. Any reputable custom application development company swears by this testing approach and understands its significance for their applications. Moreover, there is a boost in different application security testing tools and techniques designed to avoid such attacks.
And according to Research Dive Report, the global application security testing market is expected to be valued at around USD 9779.8 million by 2027. Therefore, developing safe applications requires continuous testing of applications and looking out for loopholes as they arise.
So, please allow me to tell you more about application security testing. It will be a concise guide in which you’ll understand the 3Ts of application security testing.
Come on, then!
What is Application Security Testing?
Application Security Testing (AST) is an extensive process of discovering the security vulnerabilities and drawbacks of an application that it may somehow experience while operating it or can come under any hacker’s notice. In its heyday, AST was carried out with the help of a manual approach. However, with the rising challenges of applications and the integration of numerous functions, manual testing became time-consuming. But, now with the complete automation of application testing security, most companies opt for a combination of different application security tools.
On a brighter note, several types of application security tests should be conducted consistently throughout the distinct phases of application development regularly. These tests help to keep your web and mobile app security under control.
Importance of Application Security Testing
AST is an important process of assessing any application’s security standpoint, determining potential loopholes and risks, and reducing and rectifying them. Security testing is one of the most crucial steps in the software development life cycle, which can help software development teams identify security loopholes in apps before they intensify into dangerous attacks and security breaches. It is more horrible than it sounds!
Following are the reasons behind the importance of application security testing, every mobile or web application development services provider swear by:
- It helps pinpoint the security flaws in the initiation phases of the development process when they are simple and economical to fix.
- AST prevents shipping software solutions with security loopholes, which can afterward have significant impacts on any company, including reputation risk, legal risk, and compliance risk.
- It helps to avoid attackers or hackers causing any damage by checking to keep a check on security vulnerabilities or issues when apps are already functioning in production and rapidly mitigating them.
- They consistently try to enhance the application security by discovering unfamiliar problems and dangers and improvising security measures.
Now, in the following sections, we’ll go through the 3Ts of our topic, i.e., types, techniques, and tools.
But here’s the deal, to understand them thoroughly, you need to be with me till the end. And I hope you will!
Types of Application Security Testing
Application security testing can be classified into 3 types; they are:
Black-Box Security Testing
In black-box security testing, the test automation app or the tester does not have any data about the internal system functioning. This enables the tester to fake a real attack by an external object. Interesting! Therefore, black-box testing has a vital advantage in that it provides end-to-end application security tests, consisting of different security integrations and misconfigurations between security systems.
Gray-Box Security Testing
In gray-box security testing, the automated test application or tester has very confined information about the application functionality. This models the case of an exclusive insider who utilizes their knowledge and skills to carry out a more cultivated attack or a constant threat carrying out an in-depth investigation of the ecosystem. Therefore, gray box testing provides the advantage of keeping a balance between testing depth and productivity.
In white-box security testing, an automated testing mechanism or a human tester acquires full access to the insides of the application. So, an excellent example of white box testing is Static Application Security Testing (SAST) (we’ll discuss this in further sections), in which the scanning of application source code is done via an automated tool. All this is to find and rectify bugs and other security loopholes. White box testing also helps expose different important security flaws, such as business logic loopholes, unsafe coding practices, poor code quality, and security misconfiguration in the app itself.
Different Techniques of Application Security Testing
A security audit consists of a systematic assessment of any system’s security state by verifying whether it adheres to the established security standards. It’s an extensive audit that evaluates the software system’s physical configuration and the safety of its software, ecosystem, user practices, and data processing.
If you are from the tech world, you must’ve heard about the term ethical hacking. So, ethical hacking is a legitimate attempt to violate software systems, apps, or information. It involves simulating the actions and strategies of someone nasty like hackers. This strategy can help expose several security loopholes before their exploitation.
A penetration test or a pentest is an authorized fake attack targeting a software system to assess its safety and security. Pen testers follow this approach to determine and test the overall business impact of the application’s weaknesses. And to follow this approach, they utilize different tools, processes, and techniques that any would-be hackers or attackers might utilize.
Any experienced application development services would employ vulnerability scanners. Now, what exactly is it? Vulnerability scanners help in determining different security loopholes and shortcomings in software programs and operating systems. Different vulnerability management programs consist of scanners as a core element to enhance security and defend against several security breaches. Moreover, the resulting evaluation of a scan assists in minimizing risks and measuring security readiness.
6 Types of Application Security Testing Tools
Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) tools utilize a white box testing methodology, where testers need to examine the internal application functionalities. SAST also examines static source code and provides information on security flaws. SAST tools can be employed in non-compiled code to detect problems like unsafe or invalid references, input validation issues, math errors, or syntax errors. They can also operate on compiled code using bytecode and binary analyzers.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
DAST tools utilize the black box testing method. They execute code and examine it in runtime, determining the problems that may denote security loopholes. This can consist of problems with DOM (Document Object Model) injection, data injection, execution of third-party elements, authentication, cookie and session handling, memory leakage, utilization of scripts, requests, and responses, and lastly query strings.
Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)
Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) tools are the advancement of Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools. The combination of these two methodologies determines a broader range of security vulnerabilities. Like DAST tools, IAST tools are also dynamic and can run and inspect software code during runtime. However, the tools are run from within the app server, enabling them to examine the compiled source code the same as IAST tools.
Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST)
Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) tools integrate dynamic analysis, static analysis and examine forensic data originated by mobile apps. Like SAST, DAST,and IAST, it can also test for different security vulnerabilities. Additionally, it also addresses mobile-specific loopholes like data leakage from mobile devices, malicious Wi-Fi networks, and jailbreaking.
Software Composition Analysis (SCA)
Software Composition Analysis (SCA) tools assist organizations to carry out third-party commercial inventory and open-source elements utilized within their software solutions. Enterprise applications utilize hundreds and thousands of third-party elements, which may consist of several security vulnerabilities. SCA assists in comprehending which elements and versions are being utilized, recognizing the most serious security loopholes impacting those elements, and understanding the most effortless approach to rectify them.
Runtime-Application Self Protection (RASP)
Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) tools are evolved from SAST, DAST, and IAST. They help to study user behavior and app traffic in a runtime environment. It helps them to determine and avoid cyber-attacks. Like the earlier generation of application security testing tools, RASP has a great view of application source code and can easily examine weaknesses and loopholes. It goes another inch by identifying the exploited security vulnerabilities and offering active protection by closing the session or releasing a warning.
Be Ready to Secure Your Apps!
For a robust application, it is crucial to ensure that security loopholes and issues are determined and rectified as soon as possible. Moreover, with the rising popularity of agile development and CI/CD, security testing requires to shift left and into the hands of software developers. and developers nowadays prefer application security testing. And to succeed with flying colors, it’s necessary for businesses to adopt developer-friendly AST tools.
Is it that easy?
Adapting and implementing different tools and techniques of application security testing can be handy, yet overwhelming. But you don’t have to stress. As per my experience in the technical world, I would suggest you hire a custom application development company. They’ll help you overcome all the security vulnerabilities easily, eventually making your application efficient and adored.
That’s all from my end.
Thank you for your time and patient learning. I hope you liked the article.