Cybersecurity

Published on February 28th, 2022 | by Bibhuranjan

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What Is Software Vulnerability And How to Test It?

One of the most important steps in software deployment has to do with figuring out where your developers dropped the ball, or what factors – which are not under your purview – can expose you to risk. Tracking down software vulnerabilities, identifying them, and testing them. Vulnerability testing helps an organization get a better handle of their liabilities and their risks — it is a critical factor in risk assessment. Supporting a good software vulnerability protocol decreases your chances of risk exposure and safeguards your infrastructure from compromises.

What is vulnerable software?

A software vulnerability is a flaw or weakness in software that can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access to a system and obtain sensitive data. Software vulnerabilities are usually classified based on the impact they have on the security of the system, such as denial of service, information disclosure, the elevation of privileges, and arbitrary code execution.

Software vulnerabilities may be introduced during design and development or by an attacker after deployment. In many cases they can be unintentional – an error designed by one of your developers, that is not picked up with testing and is later exploited by cybercriminals. They may also be introduced by coding errors in software that was created manually or generated automatically. Contact Apiiro experts for software vulnerability.

What are the most common software vulnerabilities?

Software vulnerabilities are flaws in software that can be exploited to make the program do something that it was not intended to do.

Some of the most common software vulnerabilities are:

  • Buffer overflow: This occurs when a program copies data from one area of memory to another, but there is not enough space for all the data. The extra data overflows into another part of memory and corrupts whatever is there.
  • SQL injection: This occurs when an attacker enters malicious code into a database query to exploit a security vulnerability and run their own commands on the database server.
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS): This occurs when an attacker injects malicious scripts into web pages viewed by other users, allowing them to steal cookies or other sensitive information from those users.

What is software security vulnerability testing?

Software security vulnerability testing is a process that is primarily used to find weaknesses in software code. Vulnerability software testing can be done on the source code or the executable code. The goal of this process is to identify and eliminate any vulnerabilities that could lead to system crashes or malicious attacks.

Software security vulnerability testing is an important aspect of the development process. This type of testing can be introduced during any stage of the software development lifecycle.

The goal of software vulnerability testing is to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers.

How to test software for vulnerabilities?

When a company is testing software they are evaluating if a vulnerability is worth the risk – and exposure – or if it’s a “game over” scenario. In other words, can we fix it, and if we can’t how exposed are we and our clients? Most of the times vulnerabilities can be patched and rapidly dealt with — other times the vulnerabilities are put on the back burner and a “Technical Debt” with the consumer is enacted. The company has to, thorough updates, fix that error. Why not solve it before launch? Because it’s not a simple patch or because it’s not that serious.

There are many ways to test software for vulnerabilities, some of which are manual and others automated.

The manual way of testing for vulnerabilities is through code review. This is done by examining the code line by line and looking for any potential flaws that may be present. Automated tests can be run on a variety of platforms including Selenium, Appium, and Cucumber.

To properly get a handle on the type of testing your developers have to do, you first have to understand that there are two different types of vulnerabilities depending on their function.

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

The ones that can be exploited to execute arbitrary code on the machine

Hackers can tamper your software’s code – either by introducing malicious code or by simply tweaking the one you already have in place. Why do they do this? Because they want your software to execute actions it wasn’t meant to do. For example, a common practice is for hackers to use your platform and your software to redirect users to an external website. Once there, your users, sure that it’s the norm and that the website has been vetted by you, are liable to do just about anything — including giving away sensitive financial information.

The ones that can be exploited to access sensitive information

Another vulnerability has to do with accessing sensitive information — not only your user’s but your company’s information. In many cases, this is a vulnerability that is a product of a developer’s mistake.

For example, in August 2017 a client spotted a huge error in the Panera Bread delivery API. Folks could, due to a coding faux-pass, get the full name, home address, email address, food/dietary preference, username, phone number, birthday, and even saved credit card simply by incrementing the index in a URI — note this breach was uncovered by a consumer and was only fixed by the company, who didn’t even know it existed, when that same consumer send an email to the Director Of information at Panera.

All companies need to test for both of these vulnerabilities to make sure that their software is secure.

Do you need software vulnerability testing?

Even if it’s an API or a plugin you installed into your WordPress website — you need software vulnerability testing. Today, one of the biggest issues when it comes to the integrity of the software is the fact that, like that plugin, our developers are prone to simply download code and add to their designs – to our products. In some cases, these very same codes have backdoor entries, they are unaware of, designed exclusively to give attackers access to your software. This is a common practice. On top of that, we also have to take into account human error. Our developers are humans, they will make mistakes, they will expose your products – accidentally – to breaches. Testing your software for vulnerabilities is one of the most important stages of product launch right now.


Cover Image by Freepik

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About the Author

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Editorial Officer, technofaq.org I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.



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