It is not so much that application security is the weakest link in the security chain, but rather it is the most overlooked one. Not taking the proper actions to secure the systems will leave them packed with vulnerabilities. For this reason, applications are frequently targeted by malicious attackers. The best way to protect your app from a cyber attack is to perform application security with testing and eliminate the vulnerabilities.
Why Is Application Security Important?
The importance of application security has been growing in recent years, and this trend will continue into the future. Nowadays, most applications are connected to the cloud. This makes them easy to access over several different networks and increases their vulnerability levels through the roof. While securing the networks is critical, application security is even more important, as most hackers try to breach data by finding exploits in the apps.
How Can Application Security Be Improved With Testing
Testing is a vital step in ensuring your application is secure. There are many different types of testing tools used to identify vulnerabilities in different stages of the SDLC. For best results, it is recommended you combine multiple tools to enforce application security from the beginning to the end. Here are short summaries of some of the most important application testing tools.
Static application security testing tools are used to detect vulnerabilities before the app is live and running. Even before the code is compiled, these tools scan the source code to identify any exploits that hackers might use for a breach. When the tool finds a weakness in the code it reports it to the developer and suggests a possible remediation path.
This method of testing is also known as white-box testing. It allows testing the inner structure of software and it is a great way to check the integration capabilities with external systems.
Most developers only worry about performance and how fast the application executes operations, neglecting the security aspect. SAST tools are just what they need to balance these two areas out.
Dynamic application security testing tools are used for detecting vulnerabilities in web apps while they are in production. Contrary to SAST tools, they identify weaknesses in running applications, but they can also be implemented early in the SDLC. Most organizations use the tools in the QA and testing phases.
The method of testing that DAST tools perform is called black-box testing. Namely, DAST tools cannot access the source code – they must test the application from the outside. Once they detect a vulnerability they report it to the security team and advise immediate remediation.
The idea of DAST tools is to allow you to see the app’s behavior from the point of view of a hacker. This way you can take action to improve the app’s weaknesses before an attacker has a chance to exploit them.
Interactive application security testing tools, just like DAST tools, can test applications while they are running. However, they are considered an upgrade on DAST tools because they can test both web and mobile applications.
In addition, just like SAST tools, they can test the source code. For this reason, their method is called gray-box testing. As you can already guess, IAST tools combine the best of both worlds and provide more accurate results than SAST and DAST. This is largely thanks to reason – they use multiple sources of data to confirm a vulnerability. This makes them suitable for use in any stage of the SDLC, even in production. The only downside to them is that they are much harder to implement than the other two.
Ensuring application security must be a top priority for any organization. Cyber-attacks are too big of a risk to overlook that can cost your business irreparable damage in terms of money and reputation. This is why you need to take advantage of every tool at your disposal to protect your system and prevent data breaches. Application security testing tools can do wonders to improve the way you protect your apps. As a final note, keep in mind that these tools aren’t a replacement for all security practices – they are just a part of the joint effort to stay secure.