When building a web application, security assessment tools are used to find errors, fix them, and secure the application in the development stage. Once applications are deployed, these efforts must continue, but the stakes are higher in live environments. The impact of a successful cyberattack will disrupt your business operations and threaten compliance. To prevent this, your organization should consider utilizing web application security assessment tools to protect web applications throughout their lifecycle.
Top 10 Web Application Security Assessment Tools
The following web application security testing tools facilitate secure, protected web apps:
- Static application security test
- Dynamic application security test
- Software composition analysis
- Database security scanning
- Mobile application security test
- Interactive application security test
- Application security test as a service
- Correlation tool
- Test coverage analyzer
- Application security testing orchestration
These tools, or similar solutions, protect code, control access, and maintain database integrity—to name a few critical areas where security measures are required for successful application deployment. However, as important as it is to know the web application security testing tools at your organization’s disposal, it’s critical to understand the top cybersecurity threats they help protect against.
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#1: Static Application Security Test (SAST)
Static application security tests examine application source code “at rest” (i.e., not running) to find errors and security vulnerabilities. SAST tools easily identify some common vulnerabilities, but many remain outside of their detection. Further, configuration issues are not represented within a given application’s code, making them nearly invisible.
While SAST tools can be helpful during development stages, their limitations require additional tools as part of a more comprehensive assessment program.
#2: Dynamic Application Security Test (DAST)
Unlike the steady-state of SAST, the dynamic application security test examines your application while it is running. DAST “attacks” the application from various angles, a process known as “fuzzing,” where unexpected inputs are sent to the application to determine what outcomes reveal vulnerabilities.
#3: Software Composition Analysis (SCA)
The SCA tool examines the open-source components of your application and compares them to known vulnerabilities in the NIST National Vulnerability Database. The overall integrity of an application hinges on your thorough review of the base components and eliminating vulnerabilities.
#4: Database Security Scanning
Database Security Scanning provides insight on patches, configurations, and errors associated with database management. Scanned functions and components generally related to user accounts and activity, including:
- Account- and role-based permissions
- Login times and origination (e.g., remote)
- Ownerships (e.g., objects, cross-database chaining)
- Administrative accounts and activity
- Buffer overflows
#5: Mobile Application Security Test (MAST)
If your organization develops mobile applications for business convenience, you’ll need to apply these controls for mobile web application security testing, as outlined by OWASP:
- Mobile platform internals
- Security in the mobile application development cycle
- Static and dynamic testing
- Mobile application reverse engineering and tampering
- Software protection assessment
- Test cases depicting requirements from the Mobile Application Security Verification Standard (MASVS)
#6: Interactive Application Security Test (IAST)
Interactive Application Security is a blend of static and dynamic web application security testing. IAST tests for known, static vulnerabilities and whether they are exploitable while the application is running. This tool creates test cases or scenarios for the application and uses the results to refine parameters and reduce false positives.
#7: Application Security Test as a Service (ASTaaS)
Organizations often outsource responsibilities and tasks to managed security services providers (MSSPs) if they do not have the bandwidth of expertise to complete them in-house. Web application security assessment tools are no different and are categorized as “applications security test-as-a-service (ASTaaS).
You can hire an individual or a team to perform the following on your web application:
- Static Analysis
- Dynamic Analysis
- Penetration Testing
- Application Programming Interfaces (API)
ASTaaS has been particularly useful as organizations continually embrace cloud applications and “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) to support network infrastructure.
#8: Correlation Tool
With various web application security assessment tools deployed to collect multiple data points, you need a correlation tool to streamline inputs into a manageable list of action items. Similar to a security incident and event management tool for your network, correlations tools corral code scan, runtime scan, and database management information from their respective web application security tools into a single repository for faster vulnerability mitigation.
#9: Test Coverage Analyzer
Your web application security testing plan would not be complete without knowing an evaluation’s extensiveness. Test coverage analyzers—or code coverage tools—indicate the percentage of application code (lines, statements, or blocks) assessed. Developers and testers can reference coverage results to ensure thorough vulnerability scans and remediation.
#10: Application Security Test Orchestration (ASTO)
Introduced within Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Application Security, Application Security Orchestration and Correlation (ASOC) brings together the inputs of various tools and integrates DevSecOps philosophies.
Developers, engineers, and security teams all have a stake in successfully deploying a secure web application. ASTO coordinates test data from the many different assessment methods that comprise this list. Extensive testing results from complementary tools provide the resources for a swift and coordinated response to flaws and vulnerabilities in your applications.
OWASP’s Top 10 Web Application Security Risks
The Open Web Application Security Project is a non-profit and broader community that promotes software security. Their efforts include the periodic release of the OWASP Top 10, an industry consensus of the most significant risks developers and security teams face when protecting their applications.
Though the OWASP Top 10 compiles application security risks, it can also serve as a web application security testing checklist of cyberattacks to implement protective measures against and code and configuration vulnerabilities to investigate:
- Broken Access Control – Prevent attacker access and deny by default unless providing a public resource.
- Cryptographic Failures – Protect data at rest and in transit via encryption through proper key management and data classification.
- Injection – Safeguard SQL and OS commands and validate user inputs.
- Insecure Design – In the absence of a risk profile, the application is built without respect to known and likely vulnerabilities.
- Security Misconfiguration – Eliminate default accounts, passwords, and unnecessary application features. Use automated processes to verify configurations.
- Vulnerable and Outdated Components – Ensure continuous monitoring, triaging, and updating throughout application lifecycles.
- Identification and Authentication Failures – Implement password checks and complexity. Implement multifactor authentication wherever possible. Secure session IDs and invalidate after logout.
- Software and Data Integrity – Use digital signatures to ensure data is from trusted sources. Review codes and configurations to ensure only vetted information is updated and received from trusted repositories.
- Security Logging and Monitoring Failures – Ensure all login and user input activities are monitored and logged. All suspicious activity should be logged for investigatory analysis, escalated and remediated as appropriate, documented internally, and reported.
- Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF) – Place remote resource access on a separate network to minimize SSRF impact. Use a positive allow list for URLs, ports, and destinations.
Additionally, consider getting expert assistance with your application’s threat and vulnerability management to ensure a secure and, if necessary, compliant web application is deployed.
The RSI Security Approach to Web Application Security Assessment
Security assessment and remediation are essential to successful web application deployment. Without thoroughly evaluating your organization’s web applications, you remain at risk to the OWASP Top 10 and more cyberthreats. To perform effective web application security assessments during development and once live, you’ll need to employ dedicated tools and up-to-date threat intelligence of the most significant risks.
As a cybersecurity expert, RSI Security will help you determine the appropriate web application security testing plan, including assessment methods and tools, to help you ensure secure operations.
For help choosing the right web application security assessment tools for your organization, contact RSI Security today!
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RSI Security is the nation’s premier cybersecurity and compliance provider dedicated to helping organizations achieve risk-management success. We work with some of the world’s leading companies, institution and governments to ensure the safety of their information and their compliance with applicable regulation. We also are a security and compliance software ISV and stay at the forefront of innovative tools to save assessment time, increase compliance and provide additional safeguard assurance. With a unique blend of software based automation and managed services, RSI Security can assist all sizes of organizations in managing IT governance, risk management and compliance efforts (GRC).RSI Security is an Approved Scanning Vendor (ASV) and Qualified Security Assessor (QSA).