Automating Security Testing: Can It Be Done?

Automating Security Testing: Can It Be Done?

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Security testing is a crucial part of ensuring the robustness and safety of your software applications. However, the process can often be labor-intensive and time-consuming. This article explores the possibilities of automating security testing, using insights from industry professionals.

Challenges in Automating Security Testing

Before diving into potential solutions, it’s important to understand the main hurdles associated with automating security testing:

  • Complexity of Tests: Each set of penetration tests often involves multiple individual tests, making it difficult to log and track results.
  • Result Analysis: The results are often “squishy,” involving numerous warnings, errors, and informational messages that require manual scrutiny to determine their validity.
  • Filtering: Filtering out known issues can lead to missing new but similar issues in future builds.

Expert Insights

Industry professionals have shared their experiences and advice on automating security testing:

Manual Oversight is Irreplaceable

One professional emphasized that finding a security flaw requires a specific skill set that cannot be fully automated. While bots can identify basic vulnerabilities like SQL injections, they lack the intelligence to detect more complex issues. For instance, a significant security flaw was discovered by manually changing the name of a cookie to gain unauthorized access, a task that a bot would likely miss.

Utilizing Existing Tools

Another expert suggested leveraging tools like Burp Suite for creating and running automated scripts. While these tools can automate parts of the process, manual review is still necessary to parse out actual threats from noise. Outputting these results into a CSV or XLS file can facilitate easier filtering and interpretation.

Investing in Comprehensive Tools

Tools like Acunetix offer customizable and comprehensive security scanning capabilities. These tools can be run via command line or remote request and can generate detailed reports for both management and technical teams. However, they also require a significant investment and may not always fit seamlessly into existing release schedules.

Balancing Automation with Manual Testing

While automation can significantly reduce the manual workload, it is not a replacement for skilled security testers. Automated tools are excellent for catching regression bugs and known vulnerabilities, but new and complex issues often require the expertise of a dedicated security professional.

Streamlining Your Testing Process with Repeato

For those looking to enhance their testing processes, consider using Repeato, a no-code test automation tool for iOS and Android. Repeato helps you create, run, and maintain automated tests quickly and efficiently, leveraging computer vision and AI. While it is primarily designed for functional testing, its ease of use and rapid test editing capabilities can complement your security testing efforts by ensuring that your application’s basic functionalities are robust and reliable.

For more information on setting up and using Repeato, visit our Getting Started page.

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