As the world continues to embrace mobile and web applications, the level and intensity of attacks also increases.
Valuable information can be lost in a blink if the right security precautions are not put in place and this begins with mitigating the risk right at the stage of application development and continues all the way through the lifecycle of the application.
To ensure the security remains strong, assessments must be done periodically and constant security training must be in place.
The methodologies that surround software security are complex, extensive and require a high level of specific expertise.
Develops then to forget about the security because of this so every enterprise needs to have an onsite or contracted specialist on call as part of the security team in order to ensure each application is secure.
Before the developmental stage, security specialists will need to review the security requirements and the architecture and make adaptations where necessary.
While development takes place, those specialists are tasked with executing security tests and reviewing them until the security is deemed to be of a sufficient level.
Once that application or software is in the production stage, a number of security service and response processes must be implemented along with a continuous flow of review at certain intervals.
There are three main software security methodologies that should be used, depending on the software, where it is in the development process and the method used to develop it:
Agile Security Testing
There are a number of steps to agile testing, a method that is driven by versions of the software where the requirement for security is translated into automated test cases.
In this way, the security tests can be created before the system is developed into existence:
The Security Requirements
These are identified through the creation of Abuser Stories and Misuse Case Models.
Through the creation of these, security testers can determine security requirements and develop the right points for the reference tests.
The scenarios are developed through the act of determining how a malicious person could abuse or misuse a system and agile testing is normally carried out as part of a team, ensuing that the whole teams can relate to the security issues and determine how best to handle them
Most wed software has at least three different architectural layers and creating a testable architecture involves adding in another layer on top of each of the existing layers.
This means that security testing can be employed throughout the development cycle and it can be carried out either on individual layers, on all layers together or on any combination of layers.
Automated Security Tests
To benefit properly from agile testing, it is imperative that as much automation is included as possible.
This not only makes the testing faster; it also provides a higher level of confidence within the system. The tools used to automate the processes will depend entirely on what the application is and what the architecture is
OWASP is the Open Web Application Security Project, a non-profit project that allows enterprises to develop secure web apps and maintain them.
Their testing framework is based solely on a generic model, enabling enterprises to pick what works for them.
Penetration testing is one of the more common security methodologies and is carried out by professional testers.
They will use methods and tools that a malicious user might use in order to find vulnerabilities in the system and determine how much damage they can do, before recommending and/or applying fixes.
Too often it is a misused method; rather than being done at the end of the development process, it should be done from the start and throughout the entire process to find the vulnerabilities before the software reaches production.