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Software Penetration Testing: Assess Software’s Security

If you’re responsible for the security of your company’s software, then you need to know about penetration testing.

Penetration testing is a process by which you can evaluate the security of your software by simulating attacks on it.

 

software-penetration-testing

 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what software penetration testing is, how it works, and why it’s important.

We’ll also provide some tips on how you can get started with penetration testing in your own organization.

 

Basics of Software Penetration Testing

Penetration tests are a form of security testing that focuses on finding and assessing flaws in a software.

Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in the code or configuration of an application, operating system, device, or network.

Hackers can exploit it to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data.

These vulnerabilities pose serious risks for organizations.

This is because they allow attackers to steal information, modify data without authorization, perform attacks such as denial-of-service (DoS), or execute remote code execution (RCE).

A penetration test involves using automated tools and manual techniques.

This is to identify these vulnerabilities so that you can be fix them before an attacker has the opportunity to exploit them.

Penetration tests vary widely depending on who performs them and what their goals are.

Some of the best software testing companies hire ethical hackers also known as “white hat” hackers to perform penetration testing on their products, while others use in-house teams of security experts.

Some companies even offer commercial products that internal staff can use to perform the tests themselves.

 

How Does Software Penetration Testing Work?

A software penetration test begins with an assessment of what information is available about your company’s product online and through public forums like GitHub or Stack Overflow.

The testers will also review any documentation provided along with the software itself, such as user manuals or help pages.

From this research phase, they’ll create a list of potential vulnerabilities that could exist within the application source code (this is a threat modelling).

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Then it’s time for them to dig into those threats one at a time.

The testers will use a variety of automated and manual techniques to try and exploit these vulnerabilities.

Automated techniques include using readily available hacking tools.

At the same time manual techniques might involve reverse engineering the code or taking advantage of social engineering tactics like phishing attacks.

Once you`ve exploited a vulnerability, the testers will document it along with steps that one can take to fix it.

 

5 Phases of Software Penetration Testing

There are typically four phases in a software penetration test:

 

Phase 1:  Research

In this phase, the testers will gather as much information as they can about the product, its architecture, and the potential vulnerabilities that could exist.

This includes looking for information online and reviewing any documentation provided with the product.

 

Phase 2: Threat Modeling

The testers will use this information to create a list of potential threats that could exist in the application source code.

 

Phase 3: Exploitation

This is where the testers attempt to exploit the identified vulnerabilities using automated and manual techniques.

 

Phase 4: Reporting

Once all the tests are completed, the testers will compile their findings into a report for the client.

This report will include a description of the vulnerabilities found, steps that one can take to fix them, and suggestions for further mitigation measures.

 

Why Is Penetration Testing Important?

While no penetration test is 100% effective in identifying all vulnerabilities, they are an important part of any security program.

This is because they provide a real-world view into how an attacker could attempt to compromise your software.

The results of a penetration test can help you identify and fix critical vulnerabilities before hackers exploite them.

This can help reduce the risk of a breach or compromise.

 

Penetration Testing Tools, Services and Training Resources

There are many testing tools.

But you cam use the best penetration testing tools for software penetration testing.

They are Wireshark, Nessus, Metasploit Framework, Nmap, Burp Suite, Nikto, SQLMap and Aircrack-ng to name just a few.

Security professionals can use these tools.

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Also, even non-technical users who have some computer skills and time on their hands can use them.

There are also commercial products available from companies like Astra Pentest which offer more advanced features at reasonable prices.

Finally, there are many excellent resources available for learning about penetration testing.

SANS Institute offers a comprehensive course on the subject.

One can take it online or in-person.

In addition, OWASP provides a wealth of information on application security vulnerabilities and how to fix them including their comprehensive penetration testing guide.

 

Tips to Get Started With Software Penetration Testing

If you’re interested in getting started with software penetration testing, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start by gathering as much information about the product and its architecture as possible. By doing so, you may reveal any weak spots that could exist. Open-source intelligence tools like Shodan and TheHarvester work great against web applications.
  • Use automated tools like Astra Pentest and Nessus to help you exploit these vulnerabilities.
  • Check out resources like SANS Institute and OWASP for more information on how to perform penetration tests.
  • Practice your skills by trying to hack into some of your own products or those of friends and family members (with their consent of course).

Conclusion

A great way to find flaws in your software is penetration testing. It is so effective because it uses the same methods an attacker would.

The goal is to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited and provide recommendations for how they can be fixed.

There are many different types of software penetration tests that can be performed, depending on what’s being tested and the goals of the organization conducting the test.

Note that every software is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to software penetration testing.

While no penetration test will identify 100% of all possible vulnerabilities, they are still extremely valuable because they give you insight into how an attacker might attempt to compromise your software.

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