Engineers Using Simulator

Threats to computer systems, software, and networks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent. In the event of a successful cyber attack, a business will lose not only financial resources but also its reputation and the loyalty of its target customers. For this reason, it’s crucial to regularly perform cyber security testing and assessments to identify any vulnerabilities and ensure they’re up-to-date and effective.

What is Cyber Security Testing?

Cyber security testing, also known as penetration testing or security testing, identifies security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a system or network and determines the best course of action for fixing them.

Cyber security testing seeks to identify vulnerabilities in a system or program before an attacker may exploit them. The testing checks how vulnerable the software is to cyberattacks and how it impacts malicious or unexpected inputs on its operations. Furthermore, the testing proves that systems are reliable and safe and don’t accept unauthorized inputs.

Unlike functional testing, which usually focuses on whether the software’s functions are working properly, security testing is a non-function test that focuses on whether the application is configured and designed correctly.

Now that we know what cyber security testing is, let’s check out what it entails.

What are the Types of Cyber Security Testing?

1. Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, or ethical hacking, simulates real-life cyberattacks against a system, software, application, or network under safe conditions. Determining how well-existing security measures will withstand a real attack is crucial.

The essential advantage of penetration testing is that it can reveal previously unknown security vulnerabilities, such as zero-day threats and vulnerabilities in business logic.

Before, an “ethical hacker,” a trusted and certified security specialist, performed penetration testing manually. The hacker would work under an agreed-upon scope, trying to break into an organisation’s systems without halting regular operations.

Nowadays, companies can reap the same benefits at a lower cost, more often thanks to automated penetration testing solutions.

2. Web Application Security Testing

Web application security testing is crucial in verifying whether web software is vulnerable to attack. There are both automatic and manual methods accessible.

The testing aims to gather information about a web program, detect security problems, determine how easy it is to exploit such vulnerabilities and estimate their risks.

3. API security testing

Application programming interface (API) security testing usually helps programmers identify applications and web services vulnerabilities and helps developers fix them. APIs provide access to sensitive data, which attackers can use as an entry point to internal systems. Therefore, when APIs undergo thorough, regular testing, they are protected against unauthorized parties.

4. Application Security Testing (AST)

Application security testing (AST) describes steps that can be taken to get rid of software application vulnerabilities. The steps include testing, monitoring, and reporting on the security posture of a software application at every level of the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Application security testing (AST) aims to find and fix software vulnerabilities as soon as possible after they are put into production, if not before. A successful AST means that you are better protected from internal and external threats and that application security issues are easier to see.

5. Vulnerability Management

Vulnerability management is a process that allows companies to detect, evaluate, report, manage, and remediate vulnerabilities in their endpoints, workloads, and networks. Most security teams use vulnerability scanning tools to identify threats and implement automatic or manual processes to fix them.

Understanding the impact of vulnerabilities, prioritizing risks, and fixing high-priority vulnerabilities as quickly as possible are all hallmarks of an effective vulnerability management program that draws on threat intelligence and IT operations experience.

6. Security Audits

A security audit is a process of auditing or reviewing software or applications under a defined standard. Audits involve reviewing code or architectures in the context of security requirements, evaluating the security posture of hardware configurations, and analyzing security gaps, operating systems, and operational procedures. Moreover, they assess how well rules and standards are being followed.

7. Configuration Scanning

Configuration scanning (security scanning) involves looking for security gaps in software, networks, or computer systems. A target system is usually compared to a set of standards by research organizations or regulatory bodies.

Automated configuration scanning tools usually detect misconfigurations and give a report detailing each one and suggestions for fixing them.

Example Test Outline for Cyber Security Testing

Here are some instances in which cyber security tests might be performed to identify vulnerabilities and assess the level of security measures.

1. Password Policies

To test how effectively passwords work, try bypassing or cracking them. Also, test security measures such as password storage and encryption.

2. Network Security

To test a network’s security, verify the effectiveness of firewalls, IDS/IPS, and other network access controls. To have access management, exploit security vulnerabilities in the network.

3. Mobile Device Security

Test the cyber security of mobile devices by trying to exploit vulnerabilities such as poor authentication or insecure data storage. Test how effectively the methods for managing mobile devices function.

4. Physical Security

Test how well things like access controls, alarms, and surveillance cameras work. Try bypassing or exploiting the physical security measures.

5. Web Application Security

Use SQL injection, cross-site request forgery (CSRF), cross-site scripting (XSS), and other security vulnerabilities to test the security of web applications. Test how well authentication and access control work.

6. Social Engineering

Using social engineering techniques like phishing emails or phone calls, test employees’ awareness. Test how well security policies and training programs are working.

7. Cloud Computing and Security

Test cloud-based services for vulnerabilities like insecure data storage or misconfigured access controls. Test the encryption and other security measures.

8. Incident Response

Simulate a cyberattack to test the incident response team’s ability to react promptly and effectively. Ensure that all communication and reporting channels are operational.

Cyber Security Assessment

A cyber security assessment involves evaluating the general security posture of a company. Performing a cyber security assessment is important for two main reasons: identifying vulnerable areas that need improvement and showing stakeholders that you gave the issue the attention it needed. With this information, businesses can prioritize security investments and use resources effectively.

There are three main types of cyber security assessments: compliance, risk, and maturity assessments.

1. Compliance Assessment

This process involves assessing a company’s security measures to ensure they follow the relevant regulations and standards.

2. Risk Assessment

This assessment usually involves identifying and assessing potential risks to a business’s assets, networks, and systems.

3. Maturity Assessment

A maturity assessment evaluates a company’s security against relevant standards and guidelines.

Cyber Security Testing Best Practices

Cyber security testing is crucial for protecting businesses against cyber attacks. Remember that security testing isn’t a one-time event but rather an ongoing process. Here are some best practices for effective cyber security testing and maximizing value.

1. Create a Clear Scope

Clearly define what is and is not part of the testing. The scope, which includes the systems, networks, and data to be tested, must be agreed upon by all parties involved.

2. Define the Testing Objectives

The objectives of the security testing should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). It is also essential for all parties involved to be on the same page when setting the business objectives.

3. Choose the Right Testing Approaches

You can help your business succeed by using the right testing methods. Consider the scope of the testing, the resources available, and the risks to the business.

4. Use Reputable Security Testing Tools and Services

Ensure the testing tools and services you intend to invest in have a track record of delivering accurate results. Avoid using unproven or untested tools or services.

5. Automate and Test Often

Though manual security testing, such as security audits or full penetration tests, is crucial, companies must also automate and do it often, especially after changing their apps or computer infrastructure.

Enterprise applications usually have a lot of parts that may need security updates or may no longer be supported by the software companies that made them. So, testing business-critical systems often prioritizes security issues that affect and fixes them immediately.

6. Test Internal Interfaces, APIs, and UIs.

Most security testing focuses on threats from the outside, like user inputs from public web forms. However, attackers are becoming more common in exploiting vulnerabilities in internal systems.

Therefore, it would be best to use security testing to ensure secure interfaces between internal systems and outside threats. This brings your company closer to a security model called “zero trust.”

7. Document and report results

Keep records of your testing procedures and results and share them with the relevant stakeholders. This allows for repeatable testing and correct data interpretation.

Let’s talk

If you would like to learn more about how Sapphire can support your organisation’s cyber resilience, get in touch with us.

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