Significance Of Security Testing In Preventing Cyber-Attacks

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War is a state of affairs fighting between countries or group of people. A war usually involves use of weapons, military/soldiers. From the most primitive times, individual states and communities have used war to gain control over regions. It has also been used to establish control on natural resources, for religious, cultural, or political reasons.

Following are a few different paradigms of wars that exist:

  • Asymmetric war
  • Biological war
  • Chemical war
  • Civil war
  • Nuclear war
  • Cyber war

The most significant transformation in cyberspace is the emergence of a new form of conflict termed as cyber conflict in military affair/war, which is a blend of computer network attack and special technical operations, gradually becoming an imperative “act of war”. Cyber-attacks are mounting rapidly in scope and frequency across the globe. This new face of war involves both offensive and defensive operations pertaining to the threat of cyberattacks, spying, and disruption. Nations have been developing their capabilities and engaging in cyberwarfare progressively.

In a Cyber war, a nation-state may attempt to penetrate another nation’s computers and networks for the purposes of causing severe damage or disruption. Some governments have made it an essential part of their overall military strategy to improve the competency. Primarily the targets are defense industries, government, financial institutions, mobile operators, engineering, mining sectors etc.

Cyber-attacks are very common these days and such incidents have been scaling up among countries and organizations over a decade. The global, social, and political landscapes have changed by the revolutionary development of information and communications technologies. It has significantly influenced warfare, among other ways, through the rise of network-centric combat. So far several attempts have been made on India to filch confidential information from military installations by the hacker groups from other countries; there have been cyber-attacks on some isolated internet connections of defense personnel as well;

From a recent survey, we could collate that out of total cyber-combats, close to 60% target financial sectors, subsequently 10 to 15 percent in infrastructure, communication and entertainment sectors. Cyber-attacks in the pharmaceutical industry are approximately around 2 to 3 percent, government 8 to 10%, industrial market, other fields close to 5 percent.

Most commonly executed cyber-attacks

Though there’s no end to the means by which someone can launch a cyber-attack, and more ways are being found, the most common types of cyber-attacks are as follows:

  • Malware: It is a variety of cyber threats including trojans, viruses, and worms which can be introduced to a system through software downloads, operating system vulnerabilities, email attachments etc.
  • Phishing: Attacks are sent via email which may include a link that will guide the user to a dummy site designed to steal a user’s information and personal data.
  • SQL Injection: It works by exploiting known SQL vulnerabilities that allow the SQL server to run malicious code to access user information.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): One of the most common ways an attacker can deploy a cross-site scripting attack is by injecting malicious code into a comment or a script that could run automatically and significantly damage the website by placing the users’ information at risk.
  • Session Hijacking and Man-in-the-Middle Attack: An attacker can hijack the session by capturing the session ID, allowing them to log in as an unsuspicious user and gain access to the information on the web server.
  • Denial-of-Service (DoS): Disrupting the service to a network, attackers send high volumes of data or traffic through the network until it becomes overloaded and stops functioning.

Significance of web application security testing to prevent and control cyber-attacks

To develop secure applications, web application security should be tested specially when the application deals with critical information. Web application security testing is a process that verifies the information system protects the data and maintains its intended functionality. It involves a vigorous investigation of the application for any weaknesses, technical flaws, or vulnerabilities. The primary purpose is to identify the vulnerabilities and subsequently repair them.

Most commonly used open source network and web security assessment tools are Wireshark, Nmap, Metasploit, OpenVAS, Aircrack and Nikto, Samurai framework, Safe3 scanner, Websecurify, and SQLmap.

Few common security testing techniques

Following is a list of a few critical security testing techniques that must be implemented in organizations to safeguard critical data and information:

  • Penetration Testing: It simulates an attack from a malicious hacker, involves analysis of a system to check for potential vulnerabilities to an external hacking attempt.
  • Vulnerability Scanning: It is done through automated software to scan a system to identify the weakness.
  • Ethical Hacking: It’s hacking an organization’s software/systems with the intent to expose security flaws in the system.
  • Risk Assessment: It involves analysis of security risks identified in an organization, classified as high, Medium and low. This assessment recommends controls, measures to reduce the risk.
  • Security Auditing: An internal inspection of applications and operating systems for security flaws. Audit can also be done by inspection of code.

Now it’s almost inevitable to strengthen the security measures, a new role had emerged called the ‘cyberwarriors’ who are basically a group of security engineers, having high-technical skills to understand, anticipate and avert various kinds of cyber threats like malware, phishing, bugs etc. There are some key roles these cyber warriors serve – like a malware engineer, vulnerability analyst who finds and fixes vulnerabilities. They are also instrumental in infiltration, causing impairment of information systems primarily for strategic, military purpose.

Cyberwarfare will continue to scale up attacks against governments, corporations, special interest groups and even civilians in the next 10 years where it will be analogous with traditional military attacks such as ground, air, naval combats and in the coming 20 years may surpass these maneuvers. To prevent the cyber conflicts, predominantly we shall constrict network, infrastructure security, invent technology to safeguard networks, revise the cyber security laws etc.

In Conclusion

What most organizations lack today in is a team that can completely focus on performing security and the other critical forms of tests such as digital, cloud, automation, software, performance, big data, and more. Due to this, a lot of applications are launched in the market without being tested thoroughly. This has led to the critical need for pureplay independent software testing vendors who can provide the focused approach to testing so desired.

The Security Testing services provided by Cigniti Technologies comprise an in-depth security analysis maintained by reports and dashboards that are comprehensive, in addition to remedial measures for any issues that may be found. Cigniti also has exceptional expertise in Security Testing for mobile applications, web applications, web services, and software products, both over the cloud, as well as on premise.

Over the past decade, Cigniti has assembled a knowledge repository, capabilities, and test accelerators, thereby leveraging the experience of working on over a hundred engagements, using latest industry standards (OWASP, etc.) and proprietary testing methodologies. Our team leverages passive security testing techniques (Social Engineering, Data Privacy, Architectural Risk Analysis, etc.) and active security testing methods (Ethical Hacking, Threat Modelling, etc.) using a combination of proprietary security, commercial, and open source testing tools. Cigniti processes are also aligned with ISO 27001:2013 standards which enables us to operate by adhering to the information security management system principles and practices.

To know more about the array of security-specific solutions our services can provide, visit our security testing services and get in touch with our experts.