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What is Application Security Testing?

Applications are an integral part of business and our daily lives. Today’s generation finds more than 90 % of their time engaged in online activities. The behavioural shift has induced enterprises to invest in business applications to reach out their services and flexibly take the need directly to their customers. While the need for web/mobile applications goes everlasting, many security challenges and threats shape the big picture on the other side.

According to 2021 statistics, 17 % of all incident’s shoots at application security, out of which 26 % of them were confirmed breaches. The surge with web application attacks almost sounded 7.4 times as in comparison to the previous years. The scenario has called the very requirement of application security, enabling businesses to protect their applications. Here is where application security testing holds the key to a secure application.

Application security testing is the process of making your applications more secure and resistant against any security threats, breaches, or incidents. The approach identifies weaknesses, flaws and vulnerabilities in the source code using security tools. Application security encompasses the considerations during application development and design, and at the same time, circles the security of apps and systems after deployment. Now let us move our lamp towards the different types of application security vulnerability testing and their necessities.

Types of Application Security Testing

Application security testing covers software testing methodologies and approaches uncovering,

*Security threats or issues

*Vulnerabilities and flaws

The main intention behind application security testing is to dig the software vulnerabilities, flaws and loopholes that can be fatal for business enterprises. Late vulnerability detection and security threat assessment can involve businesses with the loss of data, loss of revenue and loss of reputation. Application security testing has shielded the way of attacks and has been a saviour service against breaches and intrusions. So, here are the different types of application security testing that points to the security and protection of business applications.

  • Static Application Security Testing

Static Application Security Testing or SAST leverages a white box testing approach. The penetration tester examines the static source code of an application and reports on weaknesses, flaws and vulnerabilities present in the same. The testers involved in SAST checks the inner working of an application and deliver continuous results. Being an automated testing approach, SAST is a recognized way of identifying various hazards present in web, desktop and mobile applications. It detects vulnerabilities on the crawl, and at the same time, helps to

fix those vulnerabilities that it scans. SAST security testing tool shapes the required security by aiding the process of application security risk assessments and vulnerability testing’s.

  • Dynamic Application Security Testing

Dynamic Application Security Testing or DAST is another vital security testing approach that inspects vulnerabilities and threats in applications while they are running. In other words, it is a black box testing approach for detecting runtime vulnerabilities of an application subject to security testing. There are two types of DAST;

1)Automated DAST: Here, the DAST scanners get activated by crawlers, and they use bots to check the entire web application. Security audit setup adjoins the crawlers to detect possible vulnerabilities, which can include brute force attacks also.

2)Manual DAST: While automated DAST and SAST are good for regular security inspections, logic detections need human intervention. In manual DAST, testers learn the context of the application and create test cases, altering responses manually between the server and the browser.

  • Interactive Application Security Testing

Interactive Application Security Testing or IAST tools combine both DAST and SAST approaches to detect high-level security threats. IAST tools run dynamically and help in software runtime inspections. IAST uses software instrumentation to analyse running application, letting them check compiled source code like SAST. As it is a high-level approach to vulnerability detection, it can draw insights into the root causes of flaws, making remediation easier. It also identifies specific lines of codes that are affected due to the presence of vulnerable factors. Interactive application security testing is apt for inspecting source codes, configuration, data flow, third-party libraries, etc.

  • Mobile Application Security Testing

Mobile Application Security Testing or MAST evaluates an application, security, its threat vectors to identify inherent vulnerabilities. MAST is a blend of SAST, DAST and forensic techniques of inspection. It mainly focuses on probing and detecting mobile-specific issues such as data leakage, malicious data networks, jailbreaking, device rooting, certificate validation and spoofing. Additional to the mentioned, MAST unfolds OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities and threats connected to mobile applications.

  • Improper platform usage
  • Insecure Data Storage
  • Insecure Communication
  • Insecure Authentication
  • Insufficient Cryptography
  • Insecure Authorization
  • Client Code Quality
  • Code Tampering
  • Reverse Engineering
  • Extraneous Functionality
  • Runtime Application Self-Protection

Runtime Application Self-Protection or RASP tools has evolved out of SAST, DAST and IAST. The approach analyses the application and user behaviour at runtime, detecting cyber threats. RASP penetrates the application source code and aids in detecting next level threats. RASP identifies and exploits the weaknesses, and at the same time, provide active protection by producing alerts or terminating sessions. It completely covers and analyses the runtime traffic, detecting threat vectors and preventing cyber-attacks. The evolution of the RASP model of application security vulnerability testing has reduced the significance and reliance on both SAST & DAST approaches.

  • Software Composition Analysis

Software Composition Analysis or SCA tools aids application security testing by conducting the inventory of the third-party commercials and open source components. In today’s age of business evolutions, enterprise applications use many open-source and third-party components that may be susceptible to security risks and vulnerabilities. And to this instance, SCA tools help businesses dig into the versions and details of these components and identify the most severe vulnerabilities connected to the applications. With the SCA testing approach, enterprise businesses can have greater security threat coverage that sticks to the application environment.

Benefits of Application Security Testing

Application security can happen at various stages. But to foster the best security requirements, testing should happen at the application development phases. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that applications should never opt for post-development testings. So, we can orchestrate application security testing more likely as a perpetual action or practice that require time and skill. For business enterprises, there are many advantages connected to application security vulnerability testing, and here we enlist the best of them;

  • Protecting sensitive information from leaks
  • Maintaining brand image or reputation
  • Reduces internal as well as third-party risks
  • Keeping customer data secure and trust in place
  • Building vendor trust and credence

Tips for web application security

Web application security is one of the top considered priorities in cyber security practices. Investing in web app security at the earliest can heal your applications from emerging attacks and threats. Here go some of the tips related to web application security that businesses could employ for the best output.

  • Create an inventory list of web applications, including third-party and proprietary applications. In this way, you could prioritize damages and impacts on various applications.
  • Develop cyber security best practices such as solid password policies and multi-factor authentication.
  • Use a database for access rights and credentials. Apply privileges on granting access rights to the staff according to the needs and requirements.

Ensure proper session management and object-level user access control checks.

  • Hire professional white hackers from security consulting firms to pen test your applications. The approach can get you a clear picture of where you stand in your application security posture.
  • Back up the data in your applications as the information hits on the constant threat. Safeguard them outside the scope of applications to prevent future security after backs.
  • Review your application security measures on a regular basis. Identify the gaps, know the cause, and patch them at the earliest to mitigate future risks and challenges.
  • Keep an eye on your vendor vulnerabilities. Business enterprises must identify all potential vulnerabilities associated with each engagement that they make.
  • Make use of a security expert to identify and handle risks associated with your web applications. They could adjoin many testing approaches and scanning tools that are just right for your application fitness.

Conclusion

Application security vulnerability testing is pretty much inevitable to business enterprises in the connected world. Various testing tools and strategies could make your application fitness level go high. We need to understand the importance of data security when it comes to application usage. A small vulnerability is enough for attackers to penetrate your applications and make them their playground. Early to detect threats always sound like a healthy reflection of security in applications. Choosing the service benefits of a cyber security consultant firm in testing approaches can gleam the required standard and efficiency in operation.

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