What is Security Testing? (Types with Examples)

What is the Purpose of Security Testing?

Security testing is a sort of software testing that identifies vulnerabilities, hazards, and dangers in a software program and guards against intruder assaults. The goal of security tests is to find any potential flaws and vulnerabilities in the software system that might lead to a loss of data, income, or reputation at the hands of workers or outsiders.

What are the Benefits of Security Testing?

The basic purpose of security testing is to find and assess possible vulnerabilities in a system so that attacks may be faced and the system does not cease working or be exploited. It also aids in the detection of any potential security vulnerabilities in the system, as well as assisting developers in the resolution of issues via code.

This guide will teach you how to −

  • What is the purpose of security testing?
  • Security Testing Types
  • How to Test for Security
  • Examples of Security Testing Scenarios
  • Security Testing Methodologies, Approaches, and Techniques
  • Roles in Security Testing
  • Tool for Security Testing
  • Security Testing Myths and Facts

Security Testing Types

According to the Open Source Security Testing methodology document, there are seven basic forms of security testing. The following are the explanations −

  • Vulnerability Scanning − This is done by scanning a system against known vulnerability signatures using automated tools.

  • Security Scanning − entails discovering network and system flaws and then proposing remedies to mitigate the risks. This scanning may be done in two ways − manually and automatically.

  • Penetration testing − This kind of testing replicates a hostile hacker's attack. This testing entails examining a specific system for possible vulnerabilities in the event of an external hacking attempt.

  • Risk Assessment − This kind of testing entails analyzing the security threats that have been identified in the company. There are three levels of risk: low, medium, and high. This testing suggests risk-reduction controls and procedures.

  • Security Auditing − This is an internal check for security issues in applications and operating systems. A line-by-line examination of code may also be used to conduct an audit.

  • Hacking an organization's software systems is referred to as ethical hacking. Unlike criminal hackers who steal for personal benefit, the goal is to uncover system security problems.

  • Security scanning, ethical hacking, and risk assessments are combined in a posture assessment to reveal an organization's overall security posture.

How to Test for Security

It is universally acknowledged that deferring security testing until after the software implementation process or after deployment would increase costs. As a result, security testing must be included early in the SDLC life cycle.

Let's have a look at the security procedures that should be used for each step of the SDLC.

SDLC PhasesSecurity Processes
RequirementsCheck for abuse/misuse incidents and do a security analysis.
DesignFor designing, do a security risk analysis. Creating a test plan that includes security tests
Coding and Unit TestingSecurity and Static and Dynamic Testing Testing in a White Box
Integration TestingBlack Box Testing
System TestingVulnerability scanning and black box testing
ImplementationVulnerability Scanning, Penetration Testing
SupportAnalyze the Impact of Patches

The test strategy should contain the following −

  • Security-related scenarios or test cases

  • Data pertaining to security testing

  • Security testing necessitates the use of test tools.

  • Analyzing numerous test results from various security technologies

Examples of Security Testing Scenarios

Sample test scenarios to give you an idea of the kind of security tests that are available −

  • A password must be stored in an encrypted way.

  • Invalid users should not be allowed to access the application or system.

  • For application, check cookies and session time.

  • The browser back button should not operate on financial sites.

Security Testing Methodologies, Approaches, and Techniques

Different approaches are used in security testing, and they are as follows −

  • Tiger Box − This kind of hacking is often done on a laptop with a variety of operating systems and hacking tools. This testing aids penetration testers and security testers in assessing and attacking vulnerabilities.

  • Black Box − The tester is permitted to test the network architecture and technologies in general.

  • Grey Box − A combination of white and black box models in which the tester is provided only partial knowledge about the system.

Roles in Security Testing

  • Hackers − Unauthorized access to a computer system or network

  • Crackers − Infiltrate computer systems in order to steal or destroy data.

  • Ethical Hacker − Performs the majority of the breaking actions with the owner's approval.

  • Script kids or packet monkeys are inexperienced hackers who know how to program.

Tool for Security Testing

1. Unwelcome Visitor

The intruder is a user-friendly enterprise-grade vulnerability scanner. It performs over 10,000 high-quality security checks throughout your IT infrastructure, including, but not limited to, configuration flaws, application flaws (such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting), and patches that are missing. Intruder saves time and keeps organizations of all sizes secure from hackers by providing intelligently prioritized results as well as proactive scans for the newest threats.


  • Connectors for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud

  • Results tailored to your perimeter to decrease your exterior attack surface

  • Reporting of exceptional quality

  • Integrations with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Jira, and Zapier

  • Integration with your CI/CD process using APIs

2. The Owasp

The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to making software more secure. Multiple tools are available for pen testing different software environments and protocols as part of the project. The project's flagship tools include

  • Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP - an integrated penetration testing tool) is a program that allows you to test your network for vulnerabilities.

  • Check for OWASP Dependencies (it scans for project dependencies and checks against know vulnerabilities)

  • Web Testing Environment Project (OWASP) (collection of security tools and documentation)

3. Acunetix

Acunetix by Invicti is a simple and easy-to-use tool that helps small and medium-sized businesses protect their online applications against expensive data breaches. It does this by identifying a broad variety of online security concerns and assisting security and development experts in resolving them quickly.


  • Scanning for over 7,000 online vulnerabilities, including OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities like SQLi and XSS.

  • Automated online asset discovery can help you find websites that have been abandoned or forgotten.

  • Advanced web crawler with multi-form and password-protected regions for the most complicated online applications.

  • Using a combination of interactive and dynamic application security testing to find flaws that other technologies overlook

  • For a variety of vulnerabilities, proof of exploit is given.

  • Integrations with common issue tracking and CI/CD systems enable DevOps automation.

  • PCI DSS, NIST, HIPAA, ISO 27001, and other regulatory standards require compliance reporting.

4. WireShark

Wireshark, formerly known as Ethereal, is a network analysis tool. It catches packets in real-time and displays them in a way that is understandable to humans. It's essentially a network packet analyzer that gives you minute data about your network protocols, decryption, packet information, and so on. It's free and open-source, and it works with Linux, Windows, OS X, Solaris, NetBSD, FreeBSD, and a variety of other operating systems. The information acquired by this utility may be examined using a GUI or the TShark Utility in TTY mode.

5. W3af

W3af is a framework for web application attack and auditing. It has three types of plugins: discovery, audit, and attack, which communicate with one another to find any vulnerabilities in the site. For example, a discovery plugin in w3af looks for different urls to test for vulnerabilities and forwards them to the audit plugin, which then searches for vulnerabilities using these URLs.

Security Testing Myths and Facts

Let's have a look at some intriguing security testing myths and facts −

Myth #1 − Because we have a tiny firm, we don't need a security policy. Fact: Every individual and corporation need a security policy.

Myth #2 − Security testing has no return on investment.

Fact − Security testing may identify areas where efficiency and downtime can be improved, allowing for maximum throughput.

Myth #3 − Unplugging it is the only way to safeguard it.

Fact − Finding "Perfect Security" is the only and best technique to safeguard an organization. By doing a posture assessment and comparing it to commercial, legal, and industry grounds, perfect security may be accomplished.

Myth #4 − The Internet is a dangerous place. I'll buy software or hardware to protect the system and rescue the company.

Fact − Purchasing security software and hardware is one of the most difficult tasks. Instead, the company should first learn about security before implementing it.


The most critical testing for an application is security testing, which ensures whether secret data remains confidential. In this sort of testing, the tester takes on the role of an attacker and explores the system in search of security flaws. Security testing is critical in software engineering because data must be protected at all costs.

It is vital to undertake security testing on an application or program to ensure that sensitive data remains secret. Security testing is critical in software testing since it allows us to keep our vital data in the end. In this scenario, the test engineer will impersonate an intruder and test the system or look for security flaws.

Updated on: 21-Dec-2021

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