Why Security Testing | Testing Techniques & Procedures

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Why Security Testing Will Save Your Business

Kelsey Meyer

Published September 11, 2018

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Cybercrime is not likely to go away soon.  Thieves with extensive technology know-how are constantly looking for ways to obtain personal information. Information they can use to open up lines of credit and drain bank accounts. Identity theft affects millions each year. Thieves prey on companies with low level security defenses,while other thieves go after bigger fish. They target corporations which stores thousands or millions of customers information.

While corporations have the latest technology to block cyber thieves from gaining access, sometimes crooks are able to get around defenses. This could be a result of unforeseen circumstances or a lack of sufficient cyber testing. Implementing cyber testing is one way to better protect a company and their greatest asset … their image.

A Shift from Hardware to Software

Cyber-attacks are moving from IT infrastructure to software programs used daily by thousands of people.

Software infections can provide cyber thieves with additional access to customer’s personal data. Primary targets are software programs specifically designed to gather, organize, and store consumer’s personal information.

Just when IT developers identify and create a defense against the latest cyber scheme, it’s just a matter of time before another one comes out which keeps technology professionals constantly on their toes. It’s important company IT staff are one step ahead of their cybercrime nemeses.

When security breaches happen, depending on the severity, it can have a huge impact on a company.

A huge security breach will create dire financial consequences. Employees may have to take part in damage control, setting aside normal duties to assist callers with questions and concerns. Those in charge of public relations will have to face the media firestorm. Finally, depending on the industry, money may have to be returned or customers will cancel their monthly subscriptions. Plus, customers and clients will lose faith in the company and take their business elsewhere.

A brand’s image which takes a significant amount of time to build can be squashed within a few hours following a breach.

Needless to say, breaches cause a massive headache for executives and employees for months.

Therefore, a strong IT security team is vital to every organization. A team which can quickly identify and defend their company against the latest threats.

1. Always be on the lookout for hidden threats.

This is where testing is important. Implementing testing to ensure coding does what it was designed to do.

It is also important to ensure functionality, which is not supposed to be included, is identified and eliminated.

These can cause unexpected side effects which could be exploited by potential hackers. There is no such thing

as a ‘no big deal’ issue. Each issue identified should be handled immediately.

For example, you may live in a safe neighborhood and generally leave the doors unlocked every night. Yet,

eventually an upset neighbor or complete stranger may decide to target your home. When you get home, you

notice all your expensive belongings are missing. It was an issue which may have never happened if your door

was locked while you were away.

The same holds true with identifying and eliminating any issues which are not consistent to the end goal.

2. Never exclude public interfaces when testing

While in a rush to get software completed and integrated, it’s wise not only test it in house but also with

public interfaces. During security testing, inputs tend to arrive through its application program interface and

other public interfaces. These end up outnumbering inputs which arrive from the network and file system.

This can be a doorway prone to attackers looking for sensitive data.

3. Static Analysis

This is a process which allows developers to inspect a software source code while the program is resting. In

order to capture potential flaws in coding, it’s important developers create a program static analysis tool

designed to find flaws which may have been made during the coding process.

4. Dynamic Analysis

This step focuses on testing performed in a runtime environment and security analysis while the application is

in operation. Dynamic testing can uncover hidden problems which could may be too complicated for static

analysis to detect. Issues which may not be in plain view.

5. Testing the deployment environment

The next step would be checking for configuration errors before deploying the software to the end user. Even

a small misconfiguration or mistake during the setup process can leave a secure application exposed.

6. Testing procedures for incident response

IT professionals always have their incident response procedures up and running properly knowing by not

doing so could make them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. They will run breach simulation exercises during

security testing to be able to quickly identify significant vulnerabilities. A training exercise which helps those

on the front lines better prepared to fix problems.

Security protocol can make or break a company

Incorporating sufficient cyber defenses will lower chances of a breach happening.

While time is of the essence when implementing new technology, minor flaws overlooked can create significant

problems and open a door to cyber crooks to gain access to personal information. Not just for customers but

also about the company they hack.

Following a standard protocol to ensure security is catching threats can be the key which either makes or breaks

the company’s brand.

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