Web-based applications have become more important for us than we realize. From ordering food to finding a dating partner and bank transactions to keeping track of our expenses, we use them for everything.
Application users always and developers often fail to realize the amount of data that goes into every signup, login, swipe, and online purchase.
Given that 62.3 percent of the world’s population is now online and more than one billion GB of data is transferred across the internet each month, web application security is more important than ever.
The Magnitude of Cyber Attacks
Here are some stats about data breaches related to web-based applications that can shed some light on how important web app security is.
- In 2018, 1,244 data breaches were reported in the US alone, according to Statista. These attacks exposed 446.5 million records.
- In 2019, Forbes reported that data breaches in the first half exposed 4.1 billion records.
- According to the World Economic Forum, cyber-attacks are considered one of the five greatest threats to global stability.
It means if we want to keep using the internet for all the benefits, it needs to be made secure for everyone.
Internet security is nothing but the amalgamation of the security of the things that make it up, including web applications. And these web apps cannot be considered secure without sufficient security testing.
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Before we see more aspects that highlight the importance of web application security testing, let’s look at how applications are made secure in the first place.
What Goes Into Making Secure Web Applications?
The primitive practice of protecting a database via a firewall is not relevant when securing applications that are publicly accessed from all over the globe.
The applications need constant contact with the users to be useful, and that gives the hackers weak points to enter the application’s database and access data they are not supposed to.
What’s important to make web applications secure in this day and age is that the developers focus on the security of the app right from the start of its development and give proper attention to the following six areas:
Access to vital data must only be given to the users who are authorized and no one else. A ‘default deny’ approach is an example of this.
The identity of all users accessing the application must be verified before they are granted access to the app.
Every user must be required to perform an action (enter a password or produce a code sent to them) to establish their identity before they can access their account.
Security measures must be put in place for the receiver to verify the data they are getting from the app.
Communication and information must be readily available via the app.
Prevention of the denial of any action that has already occurred.
In addition to all that, sufficient web application security testing against the known methods of hacking is required. The techniques that can potentially bypass the authentication, authorization, and validation of the users need to be tested more rigorously.
These include parameter tampering, cookie poisoning, session hijacking, user privilege escalation, and credential manipulation for most apps.
Benefits of Web App Security Testing:
1. Security is the Most Important Aspect
If there is one thing on the earth right now in excessive supply, it’s web-based applications. Therefore, it is important to have distinctive features and functionality in your app to attract customers in a market where countless apps are constantly being developed and released.
However, all the features and perks of your app will be useless if it is not secure. No one will trade a gimmick for compromised privacy or security. If you look at the most successful apps on the market, they happen to be the most secure ones.
Web application security testing is necessary, more than anything else, to secure the app.
2. Detect Vulnerabilities that Fly Under the Radar
No matter how good an app is made, how talented and experienced the developers are, and how many security testing tools have been used in the development process, there can still be vulnerabilities in the code. It is just that way. Unfortunately, you cannot avoid that.
The only way to expose (and then fix) these vulnerabilities is by testing the application against the main types of attacks that the app is expected to face. There is no replacement for penetration testing and dynamic app security testing.
3. Get Certifications and Compliance Standards
Certain industries mandate penetration testing and vulnerability assessment. Passing the audit of these tests can entitle you to international certifications and standardizations like:
- ISO 27002/ ISO 27001
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Compliance
- Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance
- Statement on Auditing Standards
Having all these certifications will increase your client’s trust in you, which is always good for business.
4. Avoid Complications in the Longer Run
The implications of an insecure app, especially the one that has not been tested, are not temporary and not limited to loss of business.
If a data breach happens via your app and it is found that you could have avoided the event by implementing proper security testing, you can be in a lot of trouble.
Lawsuits can amount to more than the entire worth of your company. The only way to avoid this and many more complications is to implement appropriate security testing practices for all applications you make.
To Sum Up
Web-based apps have become more important for our day-to-day life than we realize. The only way to guarantee fool-proof security of these apps is through security testing. Failing to do so can have far-reaching implications for the organization at the back of the app.