The Importance of Application Security Approach in Today’s Computing
Application security testing was not a vital part of software development in the early days of computing. In those early days, the most important factor was that the developers meet the deadline, for the program to run as intended. The security issue was seen as an afterthought, an idea that the developer will patch the program if there is a discovered flaw. That no longer applies these days, since, with the growth of the Internet, many apps are designed to access it.
The importance of security testing is the primary hurdle before a software is released to the public. This is because of software company’s fear of bad PR if they end-up having an insecure software and it was the host where a data breach or stolen user information happened.
“The application security Testing market is expected to grow from USD 2.79 Billion in 2017 to USD 9.0 Billion by 2022, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26.4%. Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) vertical are expected to have the largest market size by the end of the forecast period,” said by a detailed report by MarketsandMarkets.
As more people and corporations move from traditional desktop apps to the web-based apps and mobile apps, the bigger role security application testing will play in order to safeguard the end-users. “Moreover, government and defense, retail, and IT and telecom verticals are also some of the major contributors to the overall application security market size,” MarketsandMarkets further explained.
Experienced testers use a risk-based approach, grounded in both the system’s architectural reality and the attacker’s mindset, to gauge software security adequately. By identifying risks in the system and creating tests driven by those risks, a software security tester can properly focus on areas of code in which an attack is likely to succeed. This approach provides a higher level of software security assurance than possible with classical black-box testing.
Not surprisingly, standard software testing literature is only concerned with what happens when software fails, regardless of intent. The difference between software safety and software security is, therefore, the presence of an intelligent adversary bent on breaking the system. Security is always relative to the information and services being protected, the skills and resources of adversaries, and the costs of potential assurance remedies; security is an exercise in risk management. Risk analysis, especially at the design level, can help us identify potential security problems and their impact.
Once identified and ranked, software risks can then help guide software security testing. A vulnerability is an error that an attacker can exploit. Many types of vulnerabilities exist, and computer security researchers have created taxonomies of them. Because attacks are now becoming more sophisticated, the notion of which vulnerabilities actually matter is changing. Although timing attacks, including the well-known race condition, were considered exotic just a few years ago, they’re common now. Similarly, two-stage buffer overflow attacks using trampolines were once the domain of software scientists, but now appear in zero-day exploits.
There is no silver bullet for software security; even a reasonable security testing regimen is just a start. Unfortunately, security continues to be sold as a product, and most defensive mechanisms on the market do little to address the heart of the problem, which is bad software. Instead, they operate in a reactive mode: don’t allow packets to this or that port, watch out for files that include this pattern in them, throw partial packets and oversized packets away without looking at them. Network traffic is not the best way to approach this predicament, because the software that processes the packets is the problem. By using a risk-based approach to software security testing, testing professionals can help solve security problems while software is still in production.
Kevin Jones934 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.