Website security testing is a type of software testing that uncovers vulnerabilities, threats, risks in a software application and prevents malicious attacks from intruders. The purpose of security testing software is to identify all possible loopholes and weaknesses of the system which might result in a loss of information, revenue, repute at the hands of the employees or outsiders of the organisation.
The goal of security testing is to identify the threats in the system and measure its potential vulnerabilities, so the system does not stop functioning or is exploited. It also helps in detecting all possible security risks in the system and help developers in fixing these problems through coding. Read our Website Testing 2020 guide.
Types of security testing
There are seven main types of security testing:
- Vulnerability scanning: This is done through automated software to scan a system against known vulnerability signatures.
- Security scanning: It involves identifying network and system weaknesses, and later provides solutions for reducing these risks. This scanning can be performed for both manual and automated scanning.
- Penetration testing: This kind of testing simulates an attack from a malicious hacker. This testing involves the analysis of a particular system to check for potential vulnerabilities to an external hacking attempt.
- Risk assessment: This testing involves the analysis of security risks observed in the organisation. Risks are classified as low, medium and high. This testing recommends controls and measures to reduce the risk.
- Security auditing: This is an internal inspection of applications and operating systems for security flaws. An audit can also be done via line by line inspection of code.
- Ethical hacking: It's hacking an organisation software systems. Unlike malicious hackers, who steal for their own gains, the intent is to expose security flaws in the system.
- Posture assessment: This combines security scanning, ethical hacking and risk assessments to show an overall security posture of an organisation.
How to perform security testing
It is always agreed, that cost will be more if we postpone security testing after software implementation phase or after deployment. So, it is necessary to involve security testing in the SDLC life cycle in the earlier phases using security testing test cases.
Let's look into the corresponding security processes to be adopted for every phase in SDLC
|SDLC Phases||Security processes|
|Requirements||Security analysis for requirements and check abuse/misuse cases|
|Design||Security risks analysis for designing. Development of test plan including
|Coding and Unit Testing||Static and dynamic testing and security white box testing|
|Integration Testing||Black box testing|
|System Testing||Black box testing and vulnerability scanning|
|Implementation||Penetration testing, vulnerability scanning|
|Support||Impact analysis of patches|
The test plan should include:
- Security-related test cases or scenarios
- Test data related to security testing
- Test tools required for security testing
- Analysis of various tests outputs from different security tools
Methodologies/approach/techniques for security testing
During security testing, different methodologies are followed and they are as follows:
- Tiger box: This hacking is usually done on a laptop which has a collection of OSs and hacking tools. This testing helps penetration testers and security testers to conduct vulnerabilities assessment and attacks.
- Black box: Tester is authorised to do testing on everything about the network topology and the technology.
- Grey box: Partial information is given to the tester about the system, and it is a hybrid of white and black box models.
Security Testing Roles
- Hackers: Access computer system or network without authorisation.
- Crackers: Break into the systems to steal or destroy data.
- Ethical hacker: Performs most of the breaking activities but with permission from the owner.
- Script kiddies or packet monkeys: Inexperienced hackers with programming language skill.
Myths and facts of security testing:
Let's talk about some of the myths and facts of security testing:
Myth #1: We don't need a security policy as we have a small business.
Fact: Everyone and every company need a security policy.
Myth #2: There is no return on investment in security testing.
Fact: Security Testing can point out areas for improvement that can improve efficiency and reduce downtime, enabling maximum throughput.
Myth #3: The only way to secure it is to unplug it.
Fact: The only and the best way to secure an organisation is to find 'perfect security'. Perfect security can be achieved by performing a posture assessment and compare with business, legal and industry justifications.
Myth #4: The Internet isn't safe. I will purchase software or hardware to safeguard the system and save the business.
Fact: One of the biggest problems is to purchase software and hardware for security. Instead, the organisation should understand security first and then apply it.
Security testing and security testing tools identities and checks whether confidential data stays confidential on a website or application. In this type of testing, the tester plays the role of the attacker and navigates the system to find security-related bugs. Under the guidance of an established testing company with a large community, this method of testing hugely benefits the client as they can prevent and prepare for hacking incidences before they happen. Security testing is very important in software engineering to protect data by all means.