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Security Testing: Best Practices for Protecting Your App From Cyber Threats

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09/08/2023 |

6 min read

Codete Team

With cyber threats skyrocketing and overshadowing secure application development, the importance of security testing is getting more and more vital. That’s because the stake is very high, and possible threats often turn into serious damages with grave consequences for the entire organization.

If malicious actors steal your data or gain remote access and control of your systems, it’s not only a matter of bad luck. It means that the right security measures were not in place – as eliminating security vulnerabilities is, at least to a certain extent, possible.

In this article, we’ll list some of the most important practices for protecting apps from cyber threats and bad actors who never stop looking for ways to exploit them. That’s why you can never let your guard down and must always fight for better network and cloud security.

Table of contents:

1. The importance of application security testing

2. Application security: possible cyber threats

3. Security testing best practices

4. Security testing – key takeaways


The importance of application security testing

Application security testing (AST) can be boiled down to „the process of making applications more resistant to security threats, by identifying security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in source code”. AST is performed automatically, with at least several application security tools involved.

As using cloud infrastructure and open-source components has become very common, the importance of security testing increased significantly, too. Nowadays, sensitive data loss prevention is key as mobile devices, laptops, and desktops people use are all susceptible to various types of security breaches.

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Application vulnerability results not only in potential but also genuine risks. For example, 72% of respondents with decision-making involvement in app development and security said that their organizations suffered at least one breach from an application vulnerability.

Application security: possible cyber threats

The number of threat vectors and possible security problems in applications is enormous. The state of application security in 2021 report by Barracuda indicated that what contributed to successful security breaches the most were bad bot attacks

Broken APIs and software supply chain attacks were other factors that put business data at risk. 

Other major security threats that may affect applications include: 

  • SQL injection,
  • Cookie poisoning,
  • cross-site and server-side request forgeries and cross-site scripting software attacks,
  • identification and authentication failures,
  • buffer overflow attacks,
  • broken access control,
  • security misconfiguration.

These threats are very real, as an application built with third-party components has an average of 71 vulnerabilities. And although there are 73 components per application used on average, only 23% of developers involved perform tests for vulnerabilities during component updates, a survey by Vanson Bourne, conducted on behalf of Veracode, unveiled.

Security testing best practices

With so many threat actors out there (cybercriminals, cyberspies, and insiders who want to harm their organization’s digital area), it’s essential to stay alert at all times and protect computer system resources. What may save the day is being threat-aware on every level of the company’s operations.

These bold malicious actors think and act outside the box, so if you want to stand up to them and be on top of things, there’s no place for routine activities. Avoiding legacy application security tools that are improper for modern Agile teams and cloud environments is simply a must.

Here are some other top security testing best practices.

1. Making things clear

Putting huge attention to security must be clear for everyone within the organization. You should determine, for instance, who’s in charge of keeping the company’s proper security posture and what their duties are. The types of tests that need to be run need to be defined, as well as the resources – money, time, and people – engaged.

2. Implementing the shift-left approach

A stitch in time saves nine, and the right timing is particularly important in security testing. According to the Agile-friendly shift-left approach, tests should have their place in all stages of the software development process and on each of the application’s builds.

3. Keeping the right timing

On top of that, any known vulnerability must be addressed promptly. Moreover, security tests should be repeated after any fix or patch has been implemented to make sure it was successful. Performing regular security, software, and documentation updates should also be on your to-do list.

4. Building AST into your organization’s DNA

The fear of slowing down the schedule by prioritizing security may be overwhelming for some people – but still, safety should be king and underpin virtually all actions that security teams and developers take. For example, you can integrate particular security tools into workflows that already exist.

5. Treating any external code with limited trust

If your mobile device application uses any third-party components, you should treat the embedded code with extreme caution. It doesn’t matter who’s standing behind it; even when the issuer seems to be trustworthy, the code should be meticulously inspected and scanned by your team.


Of course, there’s more. Some other key security testing practices include: 

  • implementing automation for all uncomplicated security-related tasks,
  • using pen-testers’ skills to perform thorough penetration tests,
  • making sure all developers are on the same page when it comes to security by providing them with comprehensive training.

If you want to be on the safe side, you may also try to follow the 5-step checklist for web app security testing:

Security testing – key takeaways

Threat actors never sleep, and neither should security teams, software engineers, and managers who stand behind creating web applications. The cyber threat landscape is extremely dynamic so you should always try to be one step ahead of cybercriminals.

If you experience a security breach, this may mean huge money and data loss and serious reputational damage. But with the right security controls in use, it’s way easier to minimize the risk, detect security vulnerabilities, and fix or patch any security issues on time.

It’s vital to put emphasis on solutions that help application developers and users avoid security breaches and their painful consequences. This is especially important when third-party components – be it open-source or commercial – are being used within an app development cycle.

These solutions include, for example: 

  • security assessment (or security audit),
  • code review,
  • threat modeling,
  • static application security testing,
  • penetration testing,
  • vulnerability scanning,
  • prompt incident response,
  • user authentication and authorization.

Fast-paced development cycles put pressure on security teams, but the high quality of products that the right security testing entails may be more important to reach business goals than just being quick. 

Staying on the safe side is crucial – and this may be achieved by making sure only authorized users gain access to your computer system resources, obeying security rules, regulatory requirements, and security testing best practices.

Need advice on protecting your apps from cyber threats? Want to improve your organization’s security posture? If you wish to take security testing at your company to the next level, contact Codete now.

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Codete Team

Codete is an IT consulting and software development company. Since 2010, we’ve been supporting businesses worldwide in gaining competitive advantage by means of modern technology. We advise on digitalization, develop and implement high-quality solutions, and augment our clients’ teams with skilled software developers.

Our mission is to accelerate your growth through technology

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