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The what…

  According to techopedia web application security testing is the process of measuring, analyzing, and summarizing the security level and/or posture of a Web application. Web developers and security administrators use this form of security verification to test and gauge the security strength of a Web application using manual and automated security testing techniques. What is the main objective? Identify any vulnerabilities or threats that can jeopardize the security or integrity of the web app. Typically, this security test is performed after the web app is developed. The web app undergoes a meticulous testing process that includes a series of fabricated malicious attacks to see how well the Web application performs/responds. The overall security testing process is followed by a report that includes:  (1) identified vulnerabilities, (2) possible threats, and (3) recommendations for overcoming the security shortfalls.

The how…

Below are the three different approaches to web application security testing. 
  1. Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
  2. Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
  3. Application Penetration Testing
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST)
This approach looks for vulnerabilities in a web app that an attacker could try to exploit. DAST works to find which vulnerabilities an attacker could target and how they could break into the system from the outside. Since the app’s original source code is not needed, testing with DAST can be done quickly and frequently.
Static Application Security Testing (SAST)
This is more of an inside-out approach. SAST looks for vulnerabilities within the app’s source code. Since it requires this form of access, i.e. access to the web app’s original source code, SAST offers a realtime snapshot of the web app’s security.
Application Penetration Testing
Application penetration testing brings in the human element. A security professional will try to duplicate how an attacker would break into the web app by using their security know-how and a variety of penetration tests to exploit any potential flaws. This can be outsourced to a web application penetration service provider if in-house resources are limited.

The why…

  If your application is not tested and validated against security threats right from the initial stages of development, it may fail to protect valuable corporate data and resources from malicious attacks.  To build a highly secure web application, it is vital to work upon a security development lifecycle. Security is a key element that should be considered throughout the application development lifecycle, especially when it is designed to deal with critical business data and resources. Web application security testing ensures that the information system is capable of protecting the data and maintaining its functionality.

The process encompasses analyzing the application for its technical flaws, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, right from the design and development phase. The primary objective is to identify the potential risks and subsequently, fix them before the final deployment.