What You Need to Know About Application Security Testing

By Special Guest
Boris Dzhingarov
  |  July 27, 2020



Application Security (News - Alert) is as important as application development. This is because it is the major factor that determines how secure an application is for the organization behind it as well as the users. More important than even the best practices used during development are the security techniques used around the application.

Vulnerabilities, poor security configurations, cross-site scripting, and many other problems give attackers opportunities to ruin the experience of users through web applications. It is therefore important to test applications as some of these problems can be overlooked during development.

What Is Application Security Testing

Application security testing describes all the measures taken to ensure that an application performs optimally and securely.

The purpose of application security testing is to discover potential security problems in applications. Such discoveries are influenced by research carried out by different organizations. For example, here are OWASP 10 Security problems that show areas security problems that applications must avoid.

This type of research is also carried out on open-source packages thereby generating a report of their respective versions with a discovered vulnerability.

Application Security exists in various types. There is Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST), Static Application Security Testing (SAST), and Dynamic Application Security (DAST).

Types of Application Security Testing

1. Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

Here, tests are executed while an application is in production to detect security issues. That is real-time testing. IAST does not inspect the entire codebase. Instead, it tests functionality at specific points the tester defines and can also be integrated into CI/CD pipelines.

The automation it offers helps organizations to easily discover security issues that developed within an application.

2. Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

This is also known as white-box testing. It involves testing the internals of an application by inspecting source codes. During this test, the code is visible to the users.

The test is commonly used to discover security vulnerabilities in the flow of inputs and outputs in an application. It tests the application even before the code is compiled

3. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST, unlike SAST, focuses on the functionality of an application to discover security vulnerabilities. It has no access to the source code used, hence it determines the security problems by performing attacks (imitating a user) on the application.

This is also known as black-box testing.

Tools Used for Application Security Testing

Manual security testing can be stressful and not optimal. Thankfully, there are easy-to-use and advanced tools used for security testing. These tools are configured by professionals to ensure they follow security standards as well as identifying bugs.

Let’s look at some of them:

1. Netsparker

This tool automates web security processes in your application to ensure security. It automatically crawls and scans all web applications as well as password-protected web assets.

It also assigns security levels to vulnerabilities to signify the potential damage and urgency to be fixed.

2. Acutinex

Acutinex scans for SQL injection, XSS, and many other vulnerabilities. It also generates reports based on tests carried out. It has a DeepScan feature that can perform deep scans websites including Single Page Applications (SPAs) developed using HTML5, JavaScript, and RESTful APIs to detect poor code configuration.

3. Nikto2

Nikto2 is a web server scanner for web servers that scans them for security issues. It checks server configurations as well as updated versions of the server.

There are many more security testing tools. These are just to name a few.

Conclusion

Almost all companies are going digital now - developing digital software for their users. Just as the web is open to anyone on the internet, companies have to apply security measures to keep their products reliable.

Having a good understanding of security testing will help companies develop secured products and reduce vulnerability problems.