Everything you need to know about software security testing


10 mins

Everything you need to know about software security testing

It is essential to incorporate security into your software in this day and age, when incidents of security breaches are on the rise. Businesses can only achieve this by developing a robust software security testing strategy for their apps and any other digital product that can receive crucial customer, client, or partner data.

Software is not immune to security threats just because it has a lot of features. That is the reason you should give close consideration to software security testing. Continue reading this blog to find out what software security testing is, why it is so important, and the methods and tools you can use to do it well.

What is software security testing?

The process of identifying and eliminating software vulnerabilities is known as software security testing (SST). Although it is an essential component of any software development project, getting started with SST can be challenging due to the numerous types of tests and security tasks that must be carried out.

Security testing is an important part of software testing because it helps us stop nasty attacks from outsiders and ensure the security of our software applications. It also helps us find flaws, risks, or threats in the software.

In order to ensure that the software does not cease to function, the primary objective of security testing is to identify all of the application's potential ambiguities and vulnerabilities. When we conduct security testing, we are able to identify all potential security threats and assist the programmer in correcting those errors.

It is a testing procedure that is used to ensure the safety of the data and continue the software's operation.

Importance of software security testing

Testing for software security is an essential part of the software development process. Various stages of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) can be used to accomplish this. Before the software is put into production, the purpose of software security testing is to discover any flaws. This will reduce the impact of any potential flaws and prevent future attackers from taking advantage of them.

Additionally, bugs that have nothing to do with security, such as performance or usability issues, can be discovered through security testing. The security of software's design and implementation must both be ensured. There are different ways to deal with accomplishing this objective.

Types of software security testing

Some of the most common software security tests that were used a few years ago might not be useful now. Let's take a look at some of the current security tests. Multiple types of web application security testing are simultaneously used.

Penetration testing

Penetration testing is the process of using safe conditions to simulate real-world cyberattacks against a system, application, or network. It can be useful in determining how well current security measures will stand up to an actual attack. Most importantly, zero-day threats and business logic vulnerabilities can be discovered through penetration testing.

Traditionally, an ethical hacker, a reputable and licensed security professional, performed manual penetration testing. The hacker works within a predetermined scope to try to control their entry into a company's systems without causing any harm. Automated penetration testing tools have helped businesses in recent years achieve comparable outcomes at lower costs and with increased testing frequency.

Network security penetration testing

Penetration testing for network security is the process of testing an information system against a set of predetermined threats to determine how secure it is. Hackers frequently gain access to networks and data through physical access, wireless, ethernet, phishing emails, hardware/IoT (internet of things), and ethernet. Security breaches and risks can result from testing on these platforms. Most of the time, a network security tester is in charge of finding vulnerabilities in computer networks and systems and figuring out the risks and consequences of those vulnerabilities.

Configuration scanning

Security scanning, also known as configuration scanning, is the process of finding software, networks, and other computing systems that have been misconfigured. Systems are typically checked against a list of best practices provided by research organizations or compliance standards in this type of scanning.

Misconfigurations are found and reported on by automated configuration scanning tools, which also offer suggestions for how to fix them.

SQL injection testing

Using SQL injection testing, an application is tested to see if it is possible to inject data into it so that it can run a user-controlled SQL query in the database. SQL injection testing is used by developers to determine whether they are susceptible to SQL injection attacks. All of the displayed code fragments are valid queries that can be injected.

Thick client testing

Thick client pen-testing uses proprietary communication protocols and involves both local and server-side processing. Thicker client testing may make use of proprietary communication protocols and may require both client-side and server-side evaluation. The attack is frequently put off by thick client pen-testing for hours or even days. Because of this, it is especially effective against a target that changes constantly and when an attacker is trying to avoid detection. 

IoT and embedded software testing

Defects in newly developed software or hardware can be discovered through embedded testing. It ensures that newly developed software or hardware does not contain any flaws. The majority of embedded software testing is carried out by the developers themselves, though external testers may also participate. The three phases of embedded software testing are as follows: System Testing, Integration Testing, and Unit Testing.

Unit testing, also referred to as component or module testing, is carried out on particular portions of the source code of an application. It is frequently utilized to test the various components of an application. By testing this way, you can make sure that all of the parts are working together to make a system that works.

Vulnerability management

An ongoing procedure, vulnerability management enables an organization to identify, evaluate, report, manage, and address security flaws in endpoints, workloads, and networks. Vulnerabilities are typically discovered and fixed through the use of vulnerability scanning tools by security teams.

Utilizing IT operations expertise and threat intelligence, a robust vulnerability management program determines the real business impact of vulnerabilities, sets risk priorities, and promptly addresses high-priority vulnerabilities.

Security audits

Security audits are a methodical procedure for checking an application or software against a specified standard. Most of the time, audits involve looking at architectures or code in light of security requirements, looking for security holes, and looking at how secure hardware configurations, operating systems, and organizational practices are. Additionally, it evaluates compliance with standards and regulations.

Risk assessment

Performing a risk assessment enables an organization to identify, evaluate, and categorize the security threats that it faces in relation to its business-critical assets. A risk assessment can help an organization identify the most significant threats to its infrastructure and prioritize system remediation. It can also assist with security investment budgeting and long-term planning.

Security posture assessment

A security posture assessment combines risk assessment, ethical hacking, and security scans to determine an organization's risks as well as the effectiveness of its current security controls. It can find holes in the security system that is in place right now and suggest changes or enhancements that will make protected assets safer.

Cloud data testing

Cloud testing is the process of testing software applications that are served by third-party service providers in a platform as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS) model or that are hosted on cloud computing resources in an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model.

Cloud data testing can minimize infrastructure or platform downtime and ensure optimal data performance, availability, and security.

Testing cloud data is primarily concerned with ensuring that cloud and SaaS providers keep their promises. Cloud data testing, for instance, can check that providers are adhering to performance SLAs, that data is actually replicated to multiple locations, and that disaster recovery procedures are working properly.

Different types of application security testing

Static Application Security Testing

Breaking down the application source code itself is called static application security testing (SAST). Black box testing, also known as SAST, is the procedure of examining source code for security flaws. The two types of security testing are carried out in entirely distinct ways. Black box testing is when the application's source code is evaluated outside the application. Static analysis, on the other hand, is carried out within the application itself. Because it lets you look at the source code line by line, static analysis is much more thorough than black box testing.

Application Security Testing (AST)

Application Security Testing (AST) describes the approaches that businesses can take to identify and eliminate software application vulnerabilities. Throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC), these methods include testing, analyzing, and reporting on a software application's security posture.

The primary objective of AST is to identify and address software vulnerabilities quickly in production if they are discovered before applications are released to the market. Effective AST brings about more powerful, secure source code, more prominent perceivability over application security issues, and further developed assurance against interior and outer dangers.

Web Application Security Testing

The purpose of testing for web application security is to ascertain whether or not a web application is susceptible to attack. It discusses both automated and manual methods.

The goal of web application penetration testing is to get information about a web application, find flaws or vulnerabilities in the system, find out how well these flaws or vulnerabilities can be exploited, and figure out how dangerous web application flaws are.

Dynamic Application Security Testing

If an expert attempts to enter the production web applications, dynamic application security testing, also known as DAST, is a security assessment tool that can identify certain web application weaknesses. An experienced DAST tester is known as a black box tester. In Dynamic Application Security Testing, testers identify vulnerabilities using the same methods that an attacker would.

Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

Software Composition Analysis (SCA) is a methodology of application security testing which helps in tracking and analyzing the open source software components. It provides insights into possible vulnerability of the project. Using SCA, developers can analyze their open source license limitations and thwart their organization from getting exposed to unessential legal/compliance issues. Using SCA tools, organizations can stay on top of their game of handling critical tasks such as license compliance, maintaining code quality and security while minimizing overall risks. 

API Security Testing

Application programming interface (API) and web service vulnerabilities can be identified and fixed with the assistance of API security testing. APIs give users access to sensitive data and can be used by hackers to get into internal systems. APIs can be shielded from unauthorized access and abuse by rigorous and frequent testing.

APIs are particularly powerless against dangers like man in the middle (MiTM) attacks. Here attackers can snoop on API Communications and take information or qualifications, API infusions, in which aggressors can infuse malignant code to inside frameworks, and forswearing of administration (DoS), in which assailants flood APIs with counterfeit traffic to refuse assistance to authentic clients.

An API's strong authentication of user requests, authorization of users in accordance with the principle of least privilege, encryption of all communication using SSL/TLS, and sanitization of user inputs to prevent code injection and tampering are all necessary measures to mitigate these threats.

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

Interactive application security testing (IAST) is an application security testing method used by testers to analyze code for the security vulnerabilities in the application. This methodology reports vulnerabilities in real-time while the app is run through an automated test. It means that it doesn’t add additional time to your Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery pipeline. 

IAST is completely different from dynamic analysis (DAST) and static analysis (SAST) and doesn’t test the entire codebase or the application, just only the code that is exercised by the functional test. It functions best when it is deployed in the QA environment along with the automated functional tests running in production real-time.

While running the Interactive Application Security Testing, a tester analyzes the following components in the app-

  • Each code of the application

  • Data on Backend connection 

  • HTTP requests and responses

  • Information on Runtime control and data flow 

  • Libraries, frameworks, and other components

  • Configuration information

This enables IAST tools to look after more codes, verify various ranges of security rules, and produce better results. IAST is easy to install and doesn’t require any technical application security expertise to run. They just work better. 

Application Security Testing Orchestration (ASTO)

Application Security Testing Orchestration (ASTO) is an important capability that runs in parallel to the development or production and is used to manage vulnerability scanning tools and remedation processes. 

It is a methodology used by testers to manage tools and data in one centralized location. This helps organizations of any size to track possible risks and address them as soon as possible. It allows you to add an additional security pipeline, and perform security checks on applications.

How to evaluate software security testing?

You must measure your software security initiatives against the following key metrics to determine their success or failure:

1. Vulnerabilities in code over time

These are the security problems you've found in your code after using tools like software security testing and penetration testing.

2. Vulnerability density

The number of security vulnerabilities in a given line of code is called vulnerability density. Risk can be compared across various technology platforms, languages, and systems using this metric.

3. Vulnerabilities with high severity

It is easy to classify vulnerabilities using this software security testing metric based on how they might affect system availability, integrity, and confidentiality of data. This makes you aware of the issues to prioritize.

4. Mean-time to repair

The typical time you take to fix the weaknesses is the interim to fix. You need to accelerate your software security testing efforts given the longer time it takes to resolve issues.

5. Percentage of vulnerabilities fixed

This number indicates the number of software security flaws you fixed. You can evaluate the effectiveness of your software security testing efforts using this metric.

6. Flaw-creation rate

The rate at which flaws are created is referred to as the flaw creation rate. We primarily compare it to the average repair time. The idea is to make sure we fix problems faster than we find them, because if we don't, you'll have problems.

Key approach in security testing

The most important approach to security testing is to concentrate on the following areas when testing the web application for security:

Scrutiny threat

The first step we take when creating secure software is to determine the potential threats to your software. We utilize many ways to deal with creating secure programming, including application entrance testing administrations, weakness appraisal, code audit and danger demonstrating. Cyberattacks are one of the most common types of threats that businesses face today. 

Denial-of-service attacks, which aim to disrupt or disable a computer network or system, as well as malware and ransomware attacks, fall under this category. Services are provided by our team of specialists to identify, manage, and address any vulnerabilities or threats that may arise from the application of information and communication technology to people, processes, and systems. 

Architecture study & analysis

The majority of software development projects begin with software requirements that describe the business's expectations for the project. Software requirements often include business or performance requirements that help with project management and define how the feature will be built at the highest level, as well as specific functional or non-functional specifications that detail how the feature will work in practice. 

Planning test

Test planning should incorporate the findings of requirements or product analysis into a well-established quality assurance (QA) strategy. Using clearly defined requirements and objectives, the resulting strategy documentation is intended to convey precisely what testing will or will not be performed. As requirements and user insights change, the testing strategy should be centrally located in the product management system. 

Most of the time, a testing strategy focuses on defining acceptance criteria, which are the set of conditions that a product needs to meet. Testing Tool Identification In the software testing approach, test tools are the products used to support test activities. Testing strategies may also include techniques like "black box" testing.

Identify testing tool

When developing applications, the testing tools can be used to support manual or automated test activities. The nature of the application that will be developed will determine the types of software testing tools used in software development. Test tools are typically used to test individual source code modules in a unit software testing approach. The interactions between software modules are typically tested using test tools in an integration testing approach. 

Develop test case 

Utilizing both human and automated testing to guarantee that the software's functionality is fully covered is the process of test development, which is guided by the predetermined requirements. Since human testing cases are introduced as cheat sheets, experiments for mechanized testing are oftentimes created independently.

Execute test case

The tests are created using a properly set-up test environment and pre-written test documentation. All test results are recorded by the test management system. Negatively passed tests are marked as errors when the actual result differs from the intended result and sent to the development team for revision, with rechecking after repair. Without a live user interface, the tests are carried out in the test environment.


At this point, the testing team sends a test closure report to the rest of the team, summarizing its findings. The manager's approval, an evaluation of the testing, and typically summaries of the testing effort and findings make up this report. 

The test closure report can be sent directly to the manager or sponsor of the project, or it can be sent through a QA lead, a product manager, a director of quality assurance, and other stakeholders. The team members' contact information may also be included in the report so that they can receive any additional inquiries from the project sponsor.


Security testing is necessary to ensure that sensitive information remains private for an application or software. Security testing is an important part of software testing because it helps us save the data we need in the end. In this, the test engineer will test the system or find security flaws by pretending to be an intruder.

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