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Cyber Security

Security Testing | Types, Tools, Methods and Best Practices

Parveen Bhandari | 15 March 2023

Security Testing Tools and its Best Practices

What is Security Testing?

A testing type of software testing that reveals vulnerabilities, pitfalls, and pitfalls in a software operation prevents vicious attacks from interfering. The purpose of security tests is to spot all possible loopholes and sins of the software system which results in a loss of information, profit, or reputation at the hands of the workers or outlanders of the association.It's about discovering all possible faults of the system, which might affect the loss of data or information of an organization.

It helps detect all possible security pitfalls in the system and assists inventors in fixing these problems through coding.

Security testing is essential to safe Data records lost and stolen by other industries. Click to explore about our, Testing in DevOps Techniques and Tools

What are the types of Security Testing?

The below highlighted are the different types:

Cross-Site Scripting

The tester should additionally check the application for Cross-site scripting. Attackers can implement this technique to execute malicious scripts or URLs on a victim's browser. Using cross-site scripting, attackers can use scripts such as JavaScript to steal user cookies and information stored in the cookies.

Ethical Hacking

Ethical hacking means being performed by a company or existent to help identify implicit pitfalls in a network of computers. An ethical hacker tries to bypass the system's security and look for any vulnerability that vicious hackers, aka Black headdresses, could exploit. White headdresses may suggest changes to systems that make them less likely to be entered by black lids.

Password Cracking

It is the most critical part while doing system testing. To approach the private areas of an operation, hackers can use a word-cracking tool or guess a common username/ word. Common usernames and passwords are available online, along with open-source word-cracking operations. Until a web operation enforces a complex word, it's easy to crack the username and password. Another way of cracking the word is if the username/ password is to target cookies if cookies are stored without encryption.

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is an attack on a computer system with the motive of
Discovering security loopholes, potentially gaining access to it, its

Risk Assessment

It is a process of assessing and deciding on the threat involved with the type of loss and the possibility of vulnerability circumstances. Different interviews, conversations, and analyses determine this within the association.

Security Auditing

A security check is an organized overview of the security of an organization's data/information system by calculating how well it conforms to a set of established criteria.

Security Scanning

Security Scanner is a program that works with a web application at the beginning of the web to identify security threats in web applications, OS, and networks.

SQL Injection

The following scenario should be tested for SQL injection. Entering a single quotation (') into any text box should not be accepted. Instead, if the tester detects a site error, the user input is inserted into another query that the application uses. If so, the application is at risk of SQL injection.

SQL injection attacks are even worse, as attackers can find important information on the server's website. To check SQL injection points in your application, find the code in your codebase where specific MySQL queries are applied to the site by accepting specific user input.

Vulnerability Scanning

The automated system automatically detects the security risks of the computer systems in the network to determine where the system can be exploited and/or threatened.

Posture Assessment

This defines the overall security structure of the organization; it is a combination of Ethical hacking, Security scanning, and Risk Assessment.

A process that continuously searches the web applications and the IT infrastructure for possible vulnerability and security risks. Click to explore about our, What is Continuous Security Testing?

Why do we need Security Testing?

The importance of it is highlighted below:

Data Security of Customer

A significant reason startups deploy testing in their development model is to take care of the products/ services standards.

These services very often collect and make extensive use of knowledge collected from the top clients/users. This is segregated into two parts, operational data, and data stored within the repositories. If any one of those data is compromised, it creates an enormous problem for the organization because the data becomes public, and it poses a threat of misuse of that data

Customer Confidence Matters

Users give critical & sensitive data on these applications & platforms and often depend on online banking & payment platforms to make transactions. The various Security breaches, whether major or minor, may lead to a loss in customers' confidence, honesty, and the organization's reputation, ultimately affecting the revenue.

Increase Product Quality

Debugging after a user has already encountered a problem is not just expensive. Still, it'll cost productivity, reputation, and consumer trust, and any startup can't afford to lose any of their very few customers. The latter is carefully analyzing what your product has to offer them.


The authentication will cover the outbreaks, which aim to the application methods of validating the user identity where the user account individualities will be thieved. The partial authentication will allow the attacker to access the functionality or sensitive data without performing the correct authentication.

A test that is done from an end-user perspective to detect malicious activities and attacks. Click to explore about our, Dynamic Application Security Testing

How to perform Security Testing?

The several stages for its testing are described below:

Requirement Stage

The SDLC requirements phase performs a security analysis of business requirements to see which cases are operational and which are wasted.

Design Stage

During the SDLC design phase, security tests are conducted to investigate the risk of the design and also embrace the security tests during the development of the test plan.

Development or Coding Stage

The SDLC coding phase runs white-box tests along with static and dynamic tests.

Testing (functional testing, integration testing, system testing) stage

During the SDLC testing phase, you need to perform a round of vulnerability scanning along with black-box testing.

Maintenance Stage

within the Maintenance phase of SDLC, we'll do the impact analysis of impact areas.

Application security describes the security measures at the application level that secures the data or the code from being stolen. Click to explore about our, Application Security Checklist and Strategy

What are the Security Testing Best Practices?

The best practices for security testing are:

Look for What Isn't There

Even if your application is built according to security and protection coding best practices, it still needs detailed testing before it is ready for release.

Test outside the public interface

It can often be a situation of forcing as many inputs through an application's API as possible. So it's much more important to test inputs that aren't coming from public interfaces, as this is the first place attackers will target for a "way in" to get your sensitive data.

Static Analysis

Static analysis scrutinizes without implementing the program. This allows developers to scrutinize every aspect of the software source code to identify bugs and backdoors that make an application vulnerable to attack.

Test Incident Response Procedures:

Do not delay until a security breach occurs to determine if the incident response procedure corresponds to the task. Let's run breach simulation exercises with any high-priority vulnerabilities identified during it. You can validate your organization's reaction to fixing the problem and developing and implementing the security patch.

A practice of implementing security at every step in the DevOps Lifecycle with DevSecOps Tools.Click to explore about our, DevSecOps Tools and Continuous Security

What are the best tools to perform Security Testing?

The best tools for security testing are listed below:

Burp Suite

Burp Suite is the world's most generally used web application security testing software. There are two versions – Burp Suite Professional for hands-on testers and Burp Suite Enterprise Edition with scalable automation and Continuous integration. Burp Suite is an integrated platform for the web application security testing.

IBM Security AppScan

IBM Security AppScan is a web application security testing product that reveals common attack patterns and vulnerabilities. A web application vulnerability scanner is designed to discover the most severe security vulnerabilities, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and command injection.


Suitable for penetration testers and admins, Arachni is developed to identify security issues within a web application. The open-source security testing tool can uncover several vulnerabilities


OWASP is the most famous security community. Its easy-to-use interface makes it one of the easiest-to-use tools online.

Qualys Free Security Scan

Qualys online free scanner provides ten free scans of URLs or IPs of Internet-facing, local servers, or even machines. In the initial stage, we can access it via the web portal and then download their virtual machine software if running scans on your internal network.

A set of practices, which automate the build, test, and delivery processes making the processes faster and more reliable. Click to explore about our, What is DevSecOps?

What are the Security Scanning Techniques?

The different types of security scanning techniques are:

  1. Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
  2. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
  3. Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

Static Application Security Testing (SAST)

SAST relies upon static analysis. This approach is the inside out process. It is also known as white-box testing and simulates a developer's testing methodology. The tester is aware of all the underlying technologies and has access to the code, frameworks, libraries, binaries, algorithms, and implementations. In SAST, analyze the source code  without running the application. Further, when using this approach, security vulnerabilities can be found during the earlier phase in the SDLC and are fixed before the application enters the testing phase. Furthermore, the tester needs to have advanced knowledge of the implementation, programming language, technologies used. SAST can't detect runtime vulnerabilities.

Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)

DAST relies upon dynamic analysis. This approach is the outside-in approach. It is also known as black-box testing and simulates a hacker's testing methodology. In DAST, the application is executed and analyzed. The tester doesn't require access to source code and only needs running applications to test. With this approach's help, security vulnerabilities are found during the later phase in the SDLC and generally got fixed in the next cycle except for the critical vulnerabilities. The tester needs to have essential to intermediate knowledge of the implementation, programming language, technologies used. DAST can detect runtime vulnerabilities.

Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST)

IAST combines SAST and DAST security testing techniques/approaches to address their drawbacks. It is a more focused approach to application testing. This approach uses information present inside the application while running and requires the tester to perform analysis in real-time and during any phase of the development process. IAST integrates well with the CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery). It also covers a broader set of testing rules than either SAST or DAST.

Security breaches are one of the most significant threats faced by various organizations in the modern world. Source: Guide to Security Testing in DevOps

What are the Security Testing Methods?

The primary task in penetration testing is security testing. The target of Evaluation (ToE) is the resource, system, or environment. Categorise Security Testing into two major categories, which can further be classify into different types. The two major categories are:

Based on the knowledge about the environment

The organization's information about the environment and the underlying infrastructure.

  • Black-Box Testing (No Knowledge Testing)
  • White-Box Testing (Full Knowledge Testing)
  • Gray-Box Testing (Partial Knowledge Testing)

Based on the pen tester location

  • Internal Testing
  • External Testing

Based on the method of conduction

  • Manual Penetration Testing
  • Automated Penetration Testing

Based on intimation vulnerability

  • Blind Testing
  • Double-Blind Testing
  • Targeted Testing

Based on the knowledge about the environment

  1. Black-Box Testing

    In black-box testing, the tester is not knowledgeable about the target environment or its components. It simulates an external attack where the attacker doesn't have any information provided by the organization. The tester does not know the internal working of the system and applications. The attacker's responsibility is to gather all necessary information about the target, including its security posture and vulnerabilities. It simulates a real-world testing approach that is taken by the external attackers. In black-box testing, the tester spends more time gathering information about the target. It is not suitable for algorithm testing. It is least exhaustive and least time-consuming, but it can be the most time-consuming in some cases. End-users, testers, and developers can perform it. Testing of data domain and internal boundaries is not possible with black-box testing. It is done by the trial-and-error method. It is opaque, and its granularity level is low. Black-Box Testing is also known as closed-box testing, data-driven testing, or functional testing. This methodology helps to check functionality. Knowledge of programming language is not required to carry out black-box Testing. The tester do not need to have implementation knowledge about the system or application to test. The end results we get from black-box testing are unbiased.

    White-Box Testing

    In white-box testing, the tester has complete knowledge about the target environment or its components. The organization provides all necessary information about the target, including documentations, security postures, and algorithms. The tester has full knowledge about the internal working of the systems and applications. White-box Testing is a more structured approach, and the security tester reviews the information provided by the organization and verifies its accuracy. It simulates a system to which an internal attacker follows. In white-box, testing the tester spends more time searching for vulnerabilities and exploiting them. It suits best for algorithm testing. It is the most exhaustive and most time-consuming. Tester and developers are the ones who perform this testing. Testing of data domain and internal boundaries is possible with white-box testing. It is transparent. Its granularity level is high. It is also a clear-box Testing, Structural Testing, or code-based Testing. This methodology helps to check system performance. Knowledge of programming language is required to carry out black-box Testing. The tester needs to have implementation knowledge about the system or application that is being tested. The results obtained from white-box testing can be biased.

    Gray-Box Testing

    In gray-box testing, the tester has partial knowledge about the environment and its components, including some documentation and limited information provided by the organization. The tester is knowledgeable enough about the internal working of the system. It is not best for algorithm testing. It is partly exhaustive and average time-consuming. End-users, testers, and developers can perform it. Testing data and internal boundaries can be possible with gray-box testing if the organization provides the information. It is translucent. Its granularity level is medium. This methodology helps to check functionality as well as performance. Basic knowledge of programming language is required to carry out black-box Testing. The tester needs to have basic implementation knowledge about the system or application that is being tested. The results obtained from white-box testing can be biassed or unbiased.

Based on the pen tester location

  1. Internal Testing

    In internal penetration testing, the tester or attacker performs the attack from within the organization's internal network. The attacker may be provided access to resources behind the firewall. This type of penetration testing simulates internal attacks that carry out by a  employee or stolen credentials.
  2. External Testing

    In external penetration testing, the tester or attacker performs the attack on the organization's external or internet-facing resources. The attacker may or may not be allowed to physically enter the organization's premises during the entire process and perform the pen test from any remote location. This type of penetration testing simulates external attacks or cyber-attacks.  
Penetration Testing using penetration testing tools is important process for assessing and testing the effectiveness of security controls. Source: Penetration Testing and Red Teams

Based on the method of conduction

  1. Manual Penetration Testing

    Humans and required human interactions carry it out at every point in time. Experts or professionals performs it as different tools must be run manually on the interaction and results at different points. It requires multiple tools, and results can vary every time based on the type of tool used and the attack vector targeted. It is time-taking and exhaustive both for the attacker and the resources but can be relied upon for critical resources. If the attacker uses manual penetration testing, he can explore the entire attack surface. There is a strong possibility of finding vulnerabilities that automated penetration Testing tools can't detect. It involves an analysis of obtained results at various levels and combining the insights to create the payload. The attacker creates the report after carrying out the pen-testing. Manual Penetration Testing is generally beneficial in the case of external testing.
  2. Automated Penetration Testing

    It carry out with the help of automatic tools that requires very little human interaction. Any learner can perform it as everything is automatic, and the tester just needs to know how to configure the scan. It has all the  tools in it, and the results are fixed as only a fixed set of predefined tests are run and attack vectors tested. It is fast and more efficient but cannot  completely reliable. If the tester uses automatic penetration testing, the tester gets the report at the end of the scan or test, and only the tests present in the tool's database carry out. Analyze the report manually by tester. Automatic Penetration Testing is generally helpful in the case of internal testing using various penetration testing tools.

Based on intimation

  1. Blind Testing

    In Blind testing, the tester has only the name of the target organization. This is necessary to get an analysis from a black-hat hacker perspective. Along with this, it replicates a real-attack scenario and helps the organization's security personnel get insights to improve their security posture.
  2. Double-Blind Testing

    In double-blind testing, the attacker or tester is only provided with the name of the target organization. The organization's security personnel are not aware that a stimulate attack (penetration testing) is going to happen. It helps to check the organization's readiness and test their defense strategies as the attack is in real-time, and the security team has no time to prepare for the attack.
  3. Targeted Testing

    In targeted testing, the tester or attacker and the organization's security personnel work together and keep updating each other about their progress. It provides the security team with real-time feedback and insights from a hacker's perspective. Targeted testing is a security training program.


Security breaches are one of the most significant hazards faced by various organizations today. There have been numerous data breaches, which puts the need for proper Continuous Security in place. Good security enhances a software product's use in the market and builds consumer trust.