October 3, 2022

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Types of Tools to Use for Application Security

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Testing applications is necessary, as bugs and other security vulnerabilities are always found in applications. Many developers have to work under tight schedules; therefore, they don’t always have enough time to test the applications, which often becomes a disaster. 

The high percentage of breaches at the application level calls for urgent and effective solutions. The obvious way to arrive at useful solutions with high precision is application testing. Just as there are a variety of application vulnerabilities, so also there are several application testing tools. 

In this article, we will discuss types of application security testing tools and their uses.

Application Security Testing Tools Pyramid

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Static Application Security Testing Tools      

First, we need to understand what static application security testing (SAST) is all about before giving information about available static application security testing tools. SAST is a type of application testing in which the testers have prior information or data about the application under testing, such as source code or architectural design. Such information or data can give insights into possible vulnerabilities in the application. 

SAST can analyze compiled or non-compiled code to figure out possible errors that can lead to security issues. SAST tools examine path traversals, input validations, and pointer references to discover vulnerabilities in an application.

Dynamic Application Security Testing Tools

Dynamic application security testing (DAST) is a security testing procedure that tests a running application to discover possible security vulnerabilities. DAST tests the behavior of an application in production to find potential security threats attackers can exploit. 

DAST tools are created to scan and test an application continuously as it grows to constantly be on the lookout for security flaws.

Interactive Application Security Testing Tools

Interactive application security testing (IAST) refers to the hybrid approaches that combine both static and dynamic testing. The dynamic approaches of IAST make it possible to test how applications respond to data flow by scanning their interactions recursively to gather consistent data on the potential security threat in the application. IAST tools can test how an application validates data provided to discover known security threats or errors that are exploitable. 

In short, IAST tools are very useful throughout the software development life cycle of development, QA, and production.

Software Composition Analysis Tools

Most applications are composed of several components, and sometimes, the components have vulnerabilities that can be used to exploit the main application. Software composition analysis (SCA) is designed to analyze and manage vulnerable components of an application. 

SCA tools scan application components (usually open source) for known vulnerabilities or errors that can be exploited by attackers and give insights for fixing identified security threats. These tools can also help identify whether the license of the open source software is compatible with the policies of a given organization.

Application Security Testing Orchestration Tools

Application security testing orchestration ensures various application testing tools are continuously integrated and organized to work both independently and collectively to report security vulnerabilities in an application. It creates an ecosystem of application security testing tools that test an application continuously at different stages of development.  This is to ensure the weakness of a testing tool is anticipated and guarded against by the strength of other security testing tools in the system. 

For example, some application security testing tools may yield false-positive output in some cases. Such output can be passed to other security testing tools in the ecosystem for confirmation to have a secure application.

Test-Coverage Analytics Tools

Organizations or teams tend to have an expected test coverage required to ensure their trust in the application they build. Therefore, test-coverage analytics tools are used to measure application-test coverage. By test coverage, we mean the percentage lines of code or available paths of an application tested. TCA tools are very useful to discover the parts of an application code or branches that are not tested which may be vulnerable to attacks. TCA tools are useful to discover and anticipate the parts of an application that could work in an expected manner.

Database Security Scanning Tools

Most applications are data-driven, and such applications are backed by databases. Data provided to the application and stored in its database might be compromised. Thus, database security scanning can be very effective in discovering compromised data that can lead to security issues if discovered or used by attackers. DSS tools are very useful to check for vulnerable data in the database.

Conclusion

Application security testing is very important to discover possible security vulnerabilities before attackers find them. Application security testing is necessary, as: “84 percent of all cyber-attacks are happening on the application layer.” However, application testing is extensive and has various types. 

Some of the types of application security testing have been addressed in this article so that you can be aware of their usefulness and use them to secure your current and future applications.

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