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cyber security for SME

5 Types of Application Security Testing

What is Application Security Testing?

AST encompasses various methodologies aimed at identifying and removing software vulnerabilities. The security testing process entails tests, analyses, and reports that offer valuable insights into the security posture of a software application.

The application of the AST process can be extended throughout different stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Its use can facilitate the detection and correction of software vulnerabilities before deployment to production, thereby minimizing the number of vulnerabilities that remain unaddressed. Additionally, implementing AST during production enables the consistent identification of serious threats.

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5 Application Security Testing (AST) Solutions

AST won’t happen without tools. Let’s review five types of solutions that can help you test software
through the SDLC – from development to production.

Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

SAST, a type of white-box testing, involves scrutinizing the at-rest source code to identify exploitable design and coding flaws. It enables you to evaluate the source code of your applications, bytes, and binaries. By utilizing SAST tools, external parties can be prevented from taking advantage of vulnerabilities present in the code.

A SAST scan is typically conducted using predefined rules that outline coding errors. Furthermore, it can be used to identify common security vulnerabilities, such as SQL injection, stack buffer overflow, and input validation errors.

It is possible to integrate SAST into the development and quality assurance process and synchronize it with integrated development environments (IDEs) and continuous integration (CI) servers.

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST is a type of black-box testing that imitates external attacks on an operating application in order to identify structural weaknesses and security flaws. By inspecting exposed interfaces, DAST endeavors to infiltrate the application from the outside to expose vulnerabilities and deficiencies.

In contrast, SAST tools scrutinize the source code of the application while it is at rest, performing a line-by-line examination. DAST, on the other hand, is executed when the application is running and can be utilized to test applications in various settings, including development and testing environments as well as production.

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

The IAST tools and testers scan the post-build source code of your application in a dynamic environment. The test is usually performed in a test or QA environment and in real-time while the application is running. By employing IAST, you can pinpoint problematic lines of code and receive instant alerts that prompt immediate remediation.

IAST directly examines the source code after building it in a dynamic environment through code instrumentation. This process entails deploying agents and sensors into the application to analyze the code for vulnerability detection. Integrating IAST into your continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline is simple.

Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

SCA tools perform automatic scanning of your application's codebase to ensure visibility into open source software usage.

These tools have the capability to identify all open source components present in your codebase, retrievetheir license compliance data, and detect any common security vulnerabilities. Certain SCA tools even offer prioritization of open source vulnerabilities, along with insightful information and automated remediation measures.

Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP)

Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) technology offers an additional layer of security for applications, as it detects and prevents real-time attacks. It operates by monitoring the application while it is running and stops any malicious activity that may not be identified by conventional security measures, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS), and antivirus software.

RASP functions by integrating security controls into either the application or the runtime environment. These controls monitor the application's conduct, identify suspicious activity, and take necessary action to stop the attack. For instance, RASP can obstruct SQL injection attacks, buffer overflows, and cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.

3 Types of Application Security Testing

Application security testing can be categorized into three types: black-box, gray-box, and white-box testing.

Black-Box Security Testing

When conducting black-box security testing, the tester or automated application is not privy to the internal operations of the system being tested. This enables the tester to simulate an authentic attack by an external entity.

The most significant benefit of black box testing is its comprehensive approach to testing application security, including evaluating security misconfigurations and the cohesion between security systems. A misconfiguration in the firewall, for instance, can be easily identified by black box testing, as it tries to gain access to the application as an external attacker would. Nevertheless, the downside of this approach is its inability to identify underlying application vulnerabilities.

Gray-Box Security Testing

When conducting gray-box security testing, either a tester or an automated test application possesses only limited information about the application. This mimics the situation of a privileged insider utilizing their knowledge to conduct a more complex attack, or a persistent threat engaging in comprehensive reconnaissance of the environment.

Gray box testing presents a crucial advantage in that it strikes a balance between testing depth and efficiency. It is capable of being precisely calibrated to concentrate on the most important security elements that necessitate testing. Its disadvantage is that the test may be skewed or unrealistic based on the information furnished to the tester.

White-Box Security Testing

White-box security testing allows a human tester or automated mechanism to access the inner workings of an application. An example of this type of testing is static application security testing (SAST), which scans source code for bugs and security flaws. This type of testing is beneficial because it can identify security issues such as misconfiguration, poor code quality, insecure coding practices, and business logic vulnerabilities that other tests may overlook. Despite its comprehensive approach, white-box testing may prioritize issues that cannot be easily exploited by an external attacker.

Test Your Web App for 10,000+ Attacks

Integrate vulnerability testing into your DevOps pipeline. Find & fix vulnerabilities fast with zero false positives.

See Our Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) in Action

Book a Demo

and see how easy AppSec can be

Application Security Testing Best Practices

Effective AST requires a strategic approach. To start with, it is best to begin the process early on in the application development lifecycle, preferably during the design and planning phase. This enables the incorporation of security measures into the application from the outset, eliminating the need for retrospective measures. To achieve a comprehensive overview of the application's security status, a combination of both static and dynamic testing techniques is advisable. Testing should also be carried out on a regular basis, particularly when changes are made to the codebase. Prioritizing vulnerabilities is a critical component of the AST process, with an emphasis on tackling the most severe ones first. All stakeholders should be involved in the process, including developers, testers, and operations teams, to ensure that everyone is aware of potential risks and taking the necessary steps to mitigate them. Finally, it is essential to maintain continuous monitoring of the application and respond promptly to any new vulnerabilities identified.

cyber security for SME
cyber security for SME

Application Security Testing with Warrior Networks

To establish a comprehensive application security program, it is crucial to identify and address security vulnerabilities at an early stage and frequently. As development methodologies become more agile, and continuous integration and delivery (CICD) processes gain traction, security testing should be moved to the left, closer to developers.

To accomplish this, it is essential to implement developer-centric security testing tools such as Warrior Network’s DAST scanner. The tool is designed explicitly for DevOps and CICD, enabling developers to take ownership of the security testing process. It boasts a wide range of key features, including comprehensive testing of both web applications and APIs (SOAP, REST, GraphQL), reliable results with zero false positives, seamless integration with automation, and fast, easy-to-use feedback loops across all your pipelines. The scanner also provides straightforward remediation guidelines, facilitating quick resolution of security issues, including automatic detection of business logic vulnerabilities.

Test Your Web App for 10,000+ Attacks

Integrate vulnerability testing into your DevOps pipeline. Find & fix vulnerabilities fast with zero false positives.

See Our Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) in Action

Book a Demo

and see how easy AppSec can be