By now, everyone in the software development world is aware about severe security risks that lie in unmanaged open source programs and tools. Still many companies ignore them, giving hackers an easy shot. Therefore, to stay protected and to be one step ahead of hackers we need to know how to detect security vulnerability in the system and steps to stay protected.
To detect security vulnerability companies, need to use security testing a variant of software testing. As it plays crucial role in identifying security flaws in the system, network and application development.
Here, we will explain you all about what security testing is, importance of security testing, types of security testing, factors causing security vulnerabilities, classes of security threats and how we can patch up software weaknesses threat to our system.
What is security testing?
Security testing is a process designed to detect security flaws and suggest ways to protect data from being exploited through these weaknesses.
Importance of security testing?
In the present scenario, security testing is a definite way of showing and addressing software or application security vulnerabilities that will help to avoid following situations:
- Loss of customer trust.
- Network, system, and website downtime that leads to loss of time and money.
- Investment cost put in to secure the system, network against attacks.
- Legal implications a company might have to face due to sloppy of security measures.
Now that we know what security testing is, why is it important. Let’s proceed to know types of security testing and how they can help to stay protected.
Types of security testing
To detect application, network, and system vulnerability one can use following seven main types of security testing methods explained below:
Note: These methods can be used manually to detect security vulnerabilities that may be a risk for critical data.
Vulnerability scanning: is an automated computer program that scans and identifies security loopholes that may be a threat to the system in a network.
Security scanning: it is both an automated or manual method of identifying system and network vulnerability. This program communicates with a web application to detect potential security vulnerabilities in the networks, web application, and operating system.
Security Auditing: is a methodical system of evaluating company security to know the flaws that may be a risk to company’s critical information.
Ethical hacking: means hacking performed legally by the company or security person to find potential threats on a network or computer. Ethical hacker bypasses system security to detect a vulnerability that can be exploited by bad guys to get into the system.
Penetration testing: security testing that helps to show system weaknesses.
Posture Assessment: when ethical hacking, security scanning, and risk assessments are joined to check organizations overall security.
Risk Assessment: is a process of evaluating and deciding the risk involved in the perceived security vulnerability. Organizations use discussions, interview, and analysis to figure out the risk.
Just by knowing, types of security testing, and what security testing is, we cannot understand classes of intruders, threats, and techniques involved in security testing.
To understand all this we need to read further.
Three classes of intruders:
Bad guys are usually categorized into three classes explained below:
- Masker: is an individual not authorized to access the system. To gain access individual impersonates like the authenticated user and gains access.
- Deceiver: is an individual who is given legal access to the system, but he misuses it to gain access to critical data.
- Secret user: is an individual who bypasses security to get control of the system.
Classes of threats
Besides, the class of intruders we have different classes of threats that can be used to take benefit of security weaknesses.
Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): it is a security flaw found in web applications, it allows cyber criminals to inject client-side script into Web pages to trick them into clicking malicious URL. Once executed this code can steal all your personal data and can perform actions on behalf of the user.
Unauthorized Data Access: apart from SQL injection, unsanctioned data access is also the most common type of attack. To perform this attack, hacker gains unauthorized access to the data so that it can be accessed through a server. It includes, access to data via data fetching operations, illegal access to client authentication information and unauthorized access to data by keeping a watch on activities performed by others.
Identity Tricking: it is a method used by hacker to attack a network as he has access to the credentials of the legitimate user.
SQL Injection: in the present-day scenario it is the most common technique used by attacker to get critical information from the server database. In this attack, hacker takes advantage of system weaknesses to inject malicious code into the software, web applications and more.
Data Manipulation: as the name suggests it the process in which hacker takes advantage of the data published on the site to gain access to information of the website owner and change it to something offensive.
Privilege Advancement: is a class of attack where bad guys create an account to get elevated level of privilege that is not meant to be granted to anyone. If successful hacker can access the root files that allows him to run the malicious code that can harm the complete system.
URL Manipulation: is another class of threat used by hackers to gain access to confidential information by manipulation URL. This takes place when the application uses HTTP instead of HTTPS to transfer information between server and client. As the information is transferred in form of query string the parameters can be changed to make attack a success.
Denial of Service: it is an attempt to bring down the site or server so that it becomes unavailable for the users making them distrust the site. Usually botnets are used to make this attack a success.
Security testing techniques
Enlisted security settings below can help an organization deal with the above-mentioned threats. For this what one needs to have is a good knowledge of HTTP protocol, SQL injection and XSS. If you have knowledge of all this, you can easily use following techniques to patch up security vulnerabilities detected and system and stay protected.
Cross Site Scripting (XSS): as explained cross site scripting is a method used by attackers to gain access therefore to stay secure testers need to check the web application for XSS. This means they should confirm that application does not accept any script as it is the biggest threat and can put the system at risk.
Attackers can easily use cross site scripting to execute malicious code and steal data. The techniques used to test in cross site scripting are as follows:
Cross Site Scripting Testing can be done for:
- Less-Than Sign
- Greater-Than Sign
Password Cracking: the most vital part of system testing is password cracking, to gain access to confidential information hackers use password cracking tool or use the common passwords, username available online. Therefore, testers need to guarantee that the web application uses complex password and cookies aren’t stored without encryption.
Apart from this tester need to keep in mind following seven characteristics of Security Testing and methodologies of security testing:
Methodologies in Security testing:
- White Box- testers get access to all information.
- Black Box- tester isn’t provided with any information they need to test the system in real world scenario.
- Grey Box- as the name suggests some information is provided to the tester and rest they need to know on their own.
Using these methods organization can patch security vulnerabilities detected in their system. Besides, the most common thing they need to keep in mind is to avoid using code written by novice as they have security weaknesses that cannot be easily patched or identified until rigorous testing is done.
We hope you found the article informative and it will help you to fix security loopholes in your system.