As the software industry is witnessing a major technological transformation, the development and testing processes have also seen major advancements. Not just the functional and performance aspects, but the security testing is also getting critical to ensure data safety and privacy. Security testing focuses on finding all possible attack points and vulnerabilities and prevent any negative impact on the application. It ensures a completely safe and secured product is delivered to the users, buyers, and stakeholders.
With security being an integral part of software testing, an evolving role of security testers is on the rise. Security testers also known as penetration testers, pen testers, assurance validators, or commonly referred to as ethical hackers, are recently gaining immense importance. Software security testers check the software for any potential vulnerabilities that might give way for the hackers to exploit the data. The security tester’s key role is to ensure complete security of the application and prevent any kind of data breach or security threats to the system.
Why is security testing important? What do security testers do?
Security Testing is a software testing process that allows to find out vulnerabilities in software applications and identifies risks involving loss of information, revenue, or the organization’s reputation. This type of testing focuses on identifying all possible loopholes and weaknesses that might result in attacks from intruders who attempt to breach the security system with mal intentions.
Consider a scenario where a user’s private information is stolen and exploited for inappropriate reasons. Such situations can be easily avoided by reinforcing elaborate security testing in place. Hence, software security testers’ core responsibility is to ensure the software is completely secured upon release and allows a great user experience without having to fret over the security aspects.
Software security testers form an integral part of the testing team as well as the overall software development and deployment team. They work alongside developers and QA managers and are responsible for performing vulnerability checks, penetration checks, and the overall security of the developed software. This boils down to creating test plans for every step added into a product release regardless of how big or small it is, executing those tests on specific date ranges so as not to affect other departments too much, reporting equally, and simply getting the job done right.
Key roles of the security tester:
- Strategize, execute, and analyze the security tests to understand them from all possible perspectives
- Evaluate the existing/new security policies and techniques to understand their effectiveness
- Look for the existing security testing suite and thoroughly analyze it for efficiency and incorporate any changes or add new security tests if required
- Ensure security testing is in alignment with the project lifecycle
- Evaluate the security test report for accuracy, readability, consistency, and other related aspects
- Set the objectives for functionality and technology and the associated vulnerabilities to evaluate the situation and come up with the best security testing approach for the best outcome
- Able to think from the attacker/hacker’s perspective and try to secure the software from all possible malicious acts
- Perform thorough risk assessment and come up with a new strategy to secure the system from future security threats
- Analyze the systems for security loopholes and incorporate additional security systems for a completely secured system
- Evaluate the existing security testing tools and choose the one that best suits the process requirement
- Train the team and create awareness on information security
Types of Security Testing performed by software testers
Vulnerability Scanning: Vulnerability scanning is an ideal solution to prevent cyber threats and potential security breaches. With vulnerability scanning, software testers focus on identifying the presence of potential security vulnerabilities before disaster strikes.
Security Scanning: An information security expert performs security scanning by assessing available data, looking for any discrepancies or weaknesses. Such a scan can be carried out manually or using automation tools.
Penetration Testing: Penetration testing is one component of web application security verification and validation. Ethical hackers execute penetration testing to craft and deploy attacks on the security infrastructure in a controlled, systematic way to hunt down vulnerabilities that need to be patched.
Risk Assessment: Software testers conduct thorough risk assessments to identify risks and classify them based on importance.
Security Auditing: Security auditing is the practice of checking over source code to identify and neutralize potential vulnerabilities. It can also be called a line-by-line code audit, which the testers carry out with utmost diligence.
Ethical Hacking: Ethical hacking is different from malicious hacking. The software testers locate security flaws in the organization’s system through ethical hacking. .
Posture Assessment: Posture Assessment is a strategic approach, which the software testers conduct with an intention to help clients and companies determine their security status.
Software testers assist the product development and deployment team to verify the security parameters of the application. Furthermore, helping to increase security and minimize any unpleasantness for customers arising due to security reasons. In short, it helps to gain customers’ trust and improve the brand credibility, in turn, improving the business ROI.