Security Testing Tools Empower Developers to Deliver Safe and Secure Software Applications

security testing

Security Testing Tools: The popularity of apps is growing at the same pace as that of mobile devices.  Apps help us to lead a fast life by making it extremely convenient to do numerous tasks of daily living as well as seeking entertainment and have now become integral to our lives. Whether for personal use or business, multiple apps around us have become indispensable tools to help us in performing various tasks in the easiest possible manner.

From booking cabs to flight tickets and from banking to online shopping, everything is now so easy to accomplish by using apps.  Apps are not only practical and efficient but fun too because studies show that gaming apps are the most popular. Besides allowing users to interact with the world and providing innovative solutions, apps are much attractive for businesses that can use it for online operations and advertising.

Apps are software created for specific applications and work on mobile devices only because it uses some of the hardware features of the device to run efficiently. Therefore, app development takes into consideration the limitations of the devices and the operating system used. For example, apps developed for Android phones will not work on phones based on iOS and vice versa. Moreover, gaming apps make use of the accelerometer of the device just as a drawing pad app makes use of the tablet’s stylus.

The need for security testing

While using apps is fun and convenient, there is always great concern about data safety and security due to the possibilities of intrusion into your device or system by hackers and malicious individuals and the threat of malware and cyber-attacks.  Before you install an app, you must investigate its safety by evaluating the trustworthiness of the source from where it is available. This makes it imperative that you must only use apps that you can rely upon for protecting your data. App developers make all efforts to make apps completely secure that earn the faith of the users, and app security is the most challenging job for app developers.    

All mobile applications, including those that you find at, go through intense security testing to ensure that it remains impregnable to online attacks and intrusions. The process of app development includes rigorous security testing by experienced testers to detect vulnerabilities and enhance the security of the app to ensure its safe use.

What is security testing?

To determine if the data within an app which is part of an information system is duly protected, software developers conduct elaborate security testing that also ensures proper app functionality. Security testing assures that the aspects of authentication, authorization, availability, confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation are maintained at any cost.

Security protects the application from external threats of attacks by malware and other threats not usually anticipated that may result in exploitation of the application or make it malfunction.  Security testing helps to detect the flaws in apps that render it vulnerable. The threats that developers do not usually anticipate could either be unplanned or deliberate. To determine the security of apps, developers use security tools for detecting and analyzing whether the requests that flow in from third parties are suspicious and harmful, or these are benign.

Classes of threats

To plan for proper security testing, it is essential to understand the types of threats or attacks that developers might encounter during the production of apps. This should help to take the right measures to eradicate the threats that attackers carry out in a planned manner.

Privilege elevation –

Hackers who have an account on a system carry out this type of attack. The hacker first enhances the system privileges of the account to a higher level typically not meant for them, and if they succeed, it could give them access to the root on a UNIX system. By gaining the privileges of a super-user, the hacker uses it to run code that effectively compromises the system.

Unauthorized data access –

Gaining unauthorized access to data within an application is the most common type of threat that compromises data of a network or server. It includes unauthorized access to data with the help of data fetching operations and by monitoring the access of others.  By monitoring the access of others, hackers can access reusable client authentication information that gives easy access to data.

SQL injection –

SQL injection is the most prevalent layer attack technique used by hackers by which they put malicious SQL statements into an entry field for execution. This type of attack is very harmful because the hacker can access critical information in the database. Hackers exploit the gaps in the web application to carry out such attacks by hacking the system. To have better control over SQL injection, extreme care of text boxes, comments, and other input fields is necessary. To prevent SQL injections, you must refrain from using special characters in input boxes, and if it is unavoidable, then you must know how to handle it properly.

Data manipulation –

This kind of threat involves hackers changing the content of the website to malign or embarrass the website owner or gain some advantage from it. Hackers gain access to HTML pages and change the content to defame, malign, or insult the website owner with offensive content. 

URL manipulation –

To capture important information, hackers take to manipulating the website URL, which becomes easy if the application uses the method of HTTP GET to pass information between the server and the client. The information passes on to the parameters in the query string. The tester changes the parameter value in the query string to test its acceptability by the server.   

Distributed denial of service –

DDoS is a malicious attack to disrupt regular traffic to a network or server by flooding the network or server with massive traffic that creates a blockade. Hackers make use of multiple compromised computer systems to organize the attacks. Computers and mobile devices can all be targets of DDoS attacks. The attacker will infect the computer system or server or device with malware, thereby turning it into a bot or zombie and then take control of the group of bots called the botnet. In the process, the entire machine or the application can become unusable.

Cross-site scripting (XSS) –

This threat pertains mostly to web applications. Cross-site scripting enables hackers to put client-side script into web pages viewed by all and luring users to click on the URL.   Once the user’s browser executes the code, it results in changing the behavior of the website completely, performing actions on behalf of the user, and stealing personal data. 

Identity spoofing –

In this method, a hacker uses the legitimate credentials of any device or user to launch attacks against the host of the network and bypass network controls to steal data.

Techniques of security testing

There are some established methods of security testing, followed by software developers like Tiger Box testing, Black Box Testing, and Gray Box testing. All the methods use various security testing tools that we will discuss later.

Tiger Box Testing –

The test comprises simulating hacking a laptop that has a collection of hacking tools and operating systems (OS).  The test is useful for conducting vulnerabilities assessment and attacks during penetration testing and security testing.

Black Box testing –

The testing method authorizes testers to perform tests on every aspect of the technology and the network topography.

Gray Box testing –

This type of testing is a combination of the Tiger Box and Black Box testing models that provides partial information about the system to testers.

Code review tools

As developers strive to make apps secure and impregnable by hackers and intruders, they extensively use code review tools to detect vulnerabilities faster and fix them quickly. Security risks of applications or apps seem to have reached an all-time high as the software is the primary target of malicious attacks. Software developers face ever-increasing challenges to ensure faster delivery of apps by maintaining a high level of security. New types of code review tools help developers to expedite app delivery without compromising on safety. These tools help to assess and improve application security right from the inception stage through the production by following the best practices in application security.

security testing tools

Some of the tools work continuously in the background and help in identifying flaws during the production process when the code is being written. Also, Static Analysis Tools help developers quickly identify vulnerabilities and fix them by eradicating security flaws without the need to manage a complex tool. The static code review tools do not require source codes for analyzing major frameworks and languages, thereby facilitating the assessment of the code which is written, downloaded, or purchased on a single platform.

Software composition analysis tools help to identify vulnerabilities in commercial and open-source codes and helps to manage the mitigation and remediation process.

Code review tools enable developers to carry out automatic testing throughout the app development lifecycle besides accelerating development to ensure faster delivery by simplifying and speeding up software testing. The use of the tools ensures adherence to web application security standards and consistent delivery of secure software.

Also Read about: WordPress Security Tips to Keep Your WordPress Site Secure
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