Manual Software Security Testing – Why and How to Conduct It?

Software security testing

The only slogan that is common these days is “Attack, Attack, and simply Attack”. With the rapid rise in technological evolution, cybersecurity is greatly affected. Every business and organization is now bound to implement the use of some virtual portals, software products, and applications to provide convenience to the users. As the reliance on software products is increasing day by day, cybercriminals are becoming powerful more than ever before and are just ready to attack your systems. With this alarming situation, organizations cannot even think of compromising their software product and app’s security at any cost. This is why software testing is considered to be an essential part of your software development process. Cybersecurity testing enables you to defend against these attacks and prevents you from facing the malicious activities of hackers. Many organizations refer to trustworthy security testing companies in this regard. This is no doubt one of the great ways to make your cyber defense strong while putting in minimal effort from your side. On the other hand, many organizations rely on automated security testing tools to cater to their cybersecurity needs. However, some organizations conduct a mix of both manual and automated security testing to strengthen the quality of their software products. Undoubtedly, automation has generated ease for carrying business operations but this does not mean that manual testing is a complete waste. 

There are many ways to manually perform security testing to test the security status of the application. Before delving into them, let’s take a closer look at why we need to perform security testing manually.

Insights into the importance of manual security testing

Even the world is transformed by the evolution of automation tools yet there are still some business operations that are dependent upon the human involvement or human element. Humans are god gifted creatures with special analyzing and observing traits. Every human has the power to evaluate and perceive things from different perspectives. When it comes to evaluating a sensitive product like software, humans play an important role. Why? Because the evaluation of software includes various complex tasks like why some bugs occur? How can they get fixed and how to prevent them from exploitation? Resolving all these issues cannot be done simply by implementing the use of tools. However, it needs some special powers like curious minds, a thirst for investigating things from the grassroots. And humans are best at doing all cognitive thinking and brainstorming activities. 

Some vulnerabilities like business logic and cryptographic issues require human elements for their fixtures that’s why conducting manual security testing is important. However manual security testing does not mean that there will no longer be the use of any tool. Manual security testers often use tools that are best suited to their project needs. The major objective behind conducting software security testing is to spot maximum software vulnerabilities or errors before a hacker approaches them and steal valuable organizational information.

How to conduct effective manual security testing?

Here are some of the most effective and efficient ways on how to do security testing manually;

Managing the product’s Access Control – The most important step towards conducting your software product manual security testing is by effectively managing the access control of your software and applications. This will help you to protect against exploitation by hackers. Managing the access to your software products and apps can be classified as;

  • Authentication – Who are you?
  • Authorization — What are you up to and what information you want to access?

Ethical Hacking or Penetration Testing – Controlled and authorized cyber attacks for the sake of strengthening your cyber defense and not aiming to exploit the data for personal use is what we call ethical hacking or penetration testing. Pen testing is one of the best ways to hunt maximum bug leakages before they get attracted by the original malicious hackers. 

The process of manually conducting penetration testing or ethical hacking starts by first collecting data such as table names, databases, information about third-party plugins, software configurations, etc. After the collection of sufficient data a team of testers is made responsible for analyzing the risk that vulnerabilities pose to the system, then the teams launch controlled cyber attacks on the system under test to discover more vulnerabilities. And in the end, a report is prepared that covers the number of vulnerabilities found and the fixtures are suggested. 

Managing the passwords – One of the most productive security testing techniques that you can use while doing testing manually is password management. This refers to the various methods used to discover passwords and access user accounts or systems.

Manipulating the URL – Attackers or hackers are way more intelligent than your thoughts. They manipulate URLs as a way of exploiting your software product and applications. This is the process of modifying uniform resource locator (URL) parameters for the malicious purposes of the attacker. Now it depends upon manual testers to protect their products from being exploited by hackers. The best thing manual testers can do to protect the manipulation of URL is by verifying whether the application allows sensitive information in the query string. These types of attacks occur when the application uses the HTTP GET method to transfer information between the server and the client.

Final Thoughts 

As automation testing comes up with plenty of benefits for organizations yet it is not sufficient to make sure whether the software products and apps of different domains are free from the risk of exploitation and are secure. This makes it mandatory for organizations to have the user of manual security testing. Manual testing is one of the best ways to make a product or app maximum free of bug leakages while preparing it for a battle against hackers. The aforementioned ways of conducting manual security testing are best at reaping profits while saving your products and apps from being exploited.