What is Security Testing in Software Testing?

Security Testing in Software Testing

Security testing in software testing is used to discover risks, threats, or vulnerabilities in a software application to prevent malicious attacks by outsiders and to protect the functionality of our software applications. Also helps us to ensure security.

The main purpose of security testing is to find out all the possible ambiguities and vulnerabilities of the application so that the software does not stop working. If we do security testing, it helps us identify all the possible security vulnerabilities and also helps the programmer fix those errors.

It is a testing procedure, which is used to ensure that the data will remain secure and the software will continue to function.

Security Testing Types

According to the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual, there are seven main security testing types. They are defined as follows:

1. Vulnerability scanning: This is done by automated software to scan the system against known threat signatures.

2. Security Scanning: This involves identifying network and system vulnerabilities, and subsequently providing solutions to mitigate these risks. This scanning can be done for both manual and automatic scanning.

3. Penetration Testing: This type of testing simulates a malicious hacker attack. This testing involves analyzing a specific system to check for potential vulnerabilities in an external hacking attempt.

4. Risk Assessment: This testing involves analyzing the security risks observed in the organization. Risks are categorized as low, medium, and high. This assessment recommends controls and measures to reduce risk.

5. Security Auditing: This is an internal inspection of applications and operating systems for security flaws. An audit can also be done through a line-by-line inspection of the code.

6. Ethical Hacking: It is hacking an organization’s software system. Unlike malicious hackers, who steal for their own gain, the goal is to expose security flaws in the system.

7. Posture assessment: It combines security scanning, ethical hacking, and risk assessment to reveal an organization’s overall security posture.

Security Testing Principle

Here, we will discuss the following aspects of security testing:

  1. Availability
  2. Integrity
  3. Authorization
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Authentication
  6. Non-repudiation

1. Availability

In this, the data must be held by an official person, and they also guarantee that the data and statement services will be ready to use whenever we need them.

2. Integrity

In this, we will store the data that has been changed by the unauthorized person. The main purpose of integrity is to allow the receiver to control the data delivered by the system.

Integrity systems regularly use some of the same basic methods as privacy structures. Still, they typically include data for communications to provide a source of algorithmic checks rather than encrypting all communications. And also verify that the correct data is passed from one application to another.

3. Authorization

This is the process of specifying that the client is allowed to perform an action and receive services. An example of permission is access control.

4. Confidentiality

This is a security process that prevents data leakage from outsiders as it is the only way we can ensure the security of our data.

5. Authentication

The authentication process consists of verifying the uniqueness of a person and tracing the source of a product necessary to allow access to private information or systems.

6. Non-repudiation

It is used as a reference to digital security and is a way of ensuring that the sender of a message cannot agree to send the message and that the receiver cannot deny receiving the message.

Non-repudiation is used to ensure that a message was sent and received by the person claiming to send and receive the message.

Security Testing Process

Security testing needs to be done in the early stages of the software development life cycle because it will cost us more if we do security testing after the software implementation stage and the deployment stage of the SDLC.

We now understand the security testing process in parallel at each stage of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

Step 1

SDLC: Requirements Phase

Security Procedures: In the requirements phase of the SDLC, we will conduct a security analysis of the business requirements and also verify which cases are manipulative and wasteful.

Step 2

SDLC: Design Phase

Security Procedures: In the design phase of SDLC, we will conduct security testing to find design vulnerabilities and also accept security tests during test plan preparation.

Step 3

SDLC: Development or Coding Phase

Security Procedures: In the coding phase of the SDLC, we will perform white box testing along with static and dynamic testing.

Step 4

SDLC: Testing (Functional Testing, Integration Testing, System Testing) Phase

Security Procedures: In the testing phase of the SDLC, we will perform a round of vulnerability scanning along with black box testing.

Step 5

SDLC: Implementation Phase

Security Procedures: In the implementation phase of the SDLC, we will again perform vulnerability scanning and also perform a round of penetration testing.

Step 6

SDLC: Recovery Phase

Safety Procedures: In the maintenance phase of the SDLC, we will perform an impact analysis of the impact areas and the test plan should contain the following:

  • Test data should be linked to security testing.
  • For security testing, we need test tools.
  • With the help of various security tools, we can analyze several test outputs.
  • Write test scenarios or test cases based on security objectives.

Security Testing Example

Usually, this type of security testing involves a lot of thought-provoking and difficult steps, but sometimes simple tests help us uncover the most important security vulnerabilities.

Let’s look at a sample example to understand how we perform security testing on a web application:

  • First, log in to the web application.
  • and then log out of the web application.
  • Then click the browser’s back button to confirm that it is asking us to log in again, or that we are already logged in to the application.

Security Testing Tools

1) Acunetix

Acunetix by Invicti helps small to medium-sized organizations ensure their web applications are protected from costly data breaches. It does this by detecting a wide range of web security issues and helping security and development professionals work quickly to resolve them.


  • Advanced scanning for 7,000+ web vulnerabilities, including OWASP Top 10 like SQLi and XSS
  • Automatic web asset discovery to identify abandoned or forgotten websites
  • Advanced crawler for the most complex web applications, incl. Multi-format and password-protected areas
  • Combined interactive and dynamic application security testing to discover threats that other tools miss.
  • Exploit proof provided for several types of vulnerabilities
  • DevOps automation through integration with popular issue tracking and CI/CD tools
  • Compliance reporting for regulatory standards, such as PCI DSS, NIST, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and more.

2) Intruder

The intruder is a powerful, automated penetration testing tool that discovers security vulnerabilities in your IT environment. By offering industry-leading security checks, continuous monitoring, and an easy-to-use platform, Intruder keeps businesses of all sizes safe from hackers.


  • Best-in-class risk coverage with over 10,000 security checks
  • Checks for configuration vulnerabilities, missing patches, application vulnerabilities (such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting), and more.
  • Automatic analysis and prioritization of scan results
  • Intuitive interface, quick to set up and run your first scans
  • Proactive security monitoring for the latest threats
  • AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Connectors
  • API integration with your CI/CD pipeline

3) Owasp

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a global non-profit organization focused on improving software security. The project has several tools for testing different software environments and protocols. The project’s flagship tools include

  1. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP – an integrated penetration testing tool)
  2. OWASP Dependency Check (this scans for project dependencies and checks against known vulnerabilities)
  3. OWASP Web Testing Environment Project (collection of security tools and documentation)

4) Wireshark

Wireshark is a network analysis tool formerly known as Ethereal. It captures packets in real time and displays them in a human-readable format. Basically, it’s a network packet analyzer – providing minute details about your network protocols, decryption, packet information, etc. It is open source and can be used on Linux, Windows, OSX, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and many more. other systems. The information obtained by this tool can be viewed through GUI or TTY mode TShark utility.

5) W3af

w3af is a web application attack and audit framework. It has three types of plugins. Discovery, audit, and attack communicate with each other for any vulnerabilities in the site, for example, a discovery plugin in w3af searches for different URLs to check for vulnerabilities and audit it sends to the plugin which then uses these URLs to search for vulnerabilities.

Why security testing is important for web applications?

Nowadays web applications are growing day by day and most web applications are vulnerable. Here we are going to discuss some common web application vulnerabilities.

  1. Client-side Attacks
  2. Authentication
  3. Authorization
  4. Command Execution
  5. Logical Attacks
  6. Disclosure of Information

1. Client-side Attacks

A client-side attack means that some illegitimate execution of external code occurs in a web application and data spoofing operations have taken over where a user believes that the specific data running on a web application is correct, and does not come from an external source.

2. Authentication

Authentication will cover attacks aimed at web application methods to verify user identity where the identity of the user account will be stolen. Incomplete authentication will allow an attacker to access functionality or sensitive data without valid authentication.

For example, brute force attack, the main purpose of a brute force attack is to gain access to a web application. Here, attackers will repeatedly try usernames and passwords until it is entered as this is the most accurate way to prevent brute force attacks.

After all, once they try all the specified number of wrong passwords, the account will be automatically locked.

3. Authorization

Authorization comes into the picture when some intruders are illegally trying to retrieve sensitive information from the web application.

For example, a classic example of permissions is directory scanning. Directory scanning here is a type of outbreak that works to detect flaws in the webserver to gain illegal access to folders and files not mentioned in the public area and once attackers gain access, they can download sensitive data and install malicious software on the server.

4. Command Execution

Command execution is used when malicious attackers will take control of a web application.

5. Logical Attacks

Logical attacks are used when a DoS (Denial of Service) occurs, preventing a web application from supporting regular customer operations and also restricting the use of the application.

6. Disclosure of Information

Information disclosures are used to expose sensitive data to attackers, which means it will cover bots planning to gain accurate information about a web application. Information leakage occurs when a web application exposes sensitive data, such as an error message or developer comments, that could help an attacker exploit the system.

For example, the password is going to the server, which means that the password must be encoded when communicating over the network.

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