Websites and applications running on the web have been increasing immensely since they are no more the means of publicity or marketing but have evolved to become comprehensive business tools. With this increase in websites and web applications, there has been a considerable increase in the amount threats of unethical hacking, unauthorized access, malware, data tampering and misuse since these websites are exposed on the web or cloud.
As per the Web Application Security Consortium, 86% of websites and web applications are vulnerable to security threats and attacks. Since these clouds of threats andcyberattacks continue to hover over the websites, investing in security testing becomes the need of an hour.
Security testing is the process of determining that a system or application is protected from possible risks. Web application security testing ensures that the website or web application under check is free from loopholes and secures it from possible vulnerabilities. Security testing is also performed in order to ensure there is no information leakage due to encryption, firewalling, etc.
In Security Testing, web applications are tested to figure out that they are secure in terms of following 6 criteria or concepts:
1. Authorization: Checks the rights of the user to access services or perform a particular operation
2. Availability: Ensures availability of information to users as and when required
3. Authentication: Checks whether the user identity, as well as information, is validated and verified
4. Confidentiality: Prevents data disclosure to parties other than intended
5. Integrity: Ensures that the information presented to the user is not outdated or irrelevant or altered
6. Non-Repudiation: Checks the genuineness of the user with some sort of proof such as Session ID.
There are several practices used by hackers and unauthorized parties to damage the web applications and websites. Below are 4 common types of practices or tricks used by hackers which can be avoided by Security Testing.
This is the most common type of hacking trick to invade an application. In this, the hacker logs into the application with a username and password. If the passwords are not known to them, they utilize password cracking tools.
To avoid such kinds of attacks, testers in the context of security testing can put strong passwords with a combination of alphabets, numbers, and special characters and protect the applications from unauthorized access due to weak or easily crackable passwords.
URL manipulation is another method by which hackers hack the websites. In this, they manipulate the URL query strings of websites which use HTTP GET method to pass information. This is how hackers break into the application and steal important data.
In order to ensure that a website is safe from such practices, testers can test the application by modifying the parameter value and check if the server accepts it or rejects it. If the server rejects it then the application is secured from possible damages of information leakage due to URL manipulation.
- SQL Injection
Web applications that use databases are prone to SQL injections in which hackers inject their own SQL code which is then executed by the application.
In such a case, testers need to ensure that the applications reject user inputs such as special characters or quotes (‘) from being inserted into the application database. There are several tools available that help in testing application against SQL injection.
Cross Site Scripting
In this method, the hacker tries to hack the websites and steal cookies by executing malicious scripts in the victims’ websites.
To prevent such attacks, testers can check the web applications for cross-site scripting and restrict it from accepting outside HTML scripts.
It should be noted that testers should be careful while securing applications against these 4 types of vulnerabilities as any modification in the actual configuration or data can ruin the application functioning.
The aim of security testing as mentioned above is to remove the vulnerabilities from the applications and keep them running smoothly for the purpose they are actually developed.
If you are looking for any assistance in regards to application testing or test automation, feel free to get in touch with our experts.