Nowadays, Automated Penetration testing offers a more comprehensive approach to identifying and fixing security flaws in applications than other traditional methods.
This article delves into various benefits and automated penetration testing tools in modern high-velocity application development.
How do Organizations Undertake Penetration Testing?
Ethical hackers perform penetration tests to check whether a system is secure enough to resist actual attacks that can threaten the business. Software teams follow a thorough, diligently planned process to identify and patch security vulnerabilities before being exploited. Don’t forget that you can find great articles about the various commonly used stages and types of penetration testing in our blog.
What Is an Automated Penetration Testing?
With an increased focus on automation in software engineering, automated penetration testing is an essential approach for easier, reliable, and efficient identification of security gaps and vulnerability exploitation.
These tests can be performed frequently, allowing software teams to keep their security up-to-date, maintain compliance, and retain optimum user experience.
By removing the lengthy and inefficient bottlenecks to perform manual penetration testing, these tools allow software teams to focus on application build rather than spending efforts on implementing security measures or hiring dedicated security professionals.
An automated penetration testing solution is delivered via a virtual machine or an agent that consistently scans the system for potential flaws. Unlike vulnerability scanners, these tools further filter through the vulnerabilities discovered and choose targets they can use to infiltrate the system.
Automated penetration testers decide on the best targets to use based on such factors as noise and ease of exploitation, among others. Once a target is identified, the software propagates itself through the infrastructure as a human tester would.
The Importance of Automating the Penetration Testing Process
With automated testing, software security tools imitate attackers’ actions without human intervention.
In the current technology landscape, an increasing number of organizations are now harnessing the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to develop powerful automatic pen-testing tools. While no mature auto-testing platform exists to consider vulnerabilities thoroughly, organizations use available tools for focused areas of vulnerability scanning.
Following are some of the key advantages such tools offer:
Automatic testing tools perform tests, analyze, and produce reports much faster, allowing organizations to detect more vulnerabilities in near real-time quickly. These tools mostly rely on rules set by Quality Security Assessors (QSAs) to test systems according to PCI security standards to rapidly test and analyze application entry points. Additionally, automated penetration testing tools can run multiple tests simultaneously, reducing the overall time and effort.
Integrating Security Testing into CI/CD Pipelines
With Continuous Delivery and Integration being practiced in modern software engineering, human-generated reports may be outdated before delivery. To help solve this, automated testing tools are replicated as frequently as needed, ensuring that security issues in the system are fixed as soon as identified. In addition, this allows development teams to verify the efficiency of components as soon as a change is effected in production.
Easy Learning & Updates
Human testers require methodical training and a steep learning curve to keep up with the latest developments in the world of cyberattacks. On the other hand, automatic tools are easily updated through over-the-air updates or downloaded scripts to detect newer vulnerabilities or acquire recent pen-testing capabilities.
Enhanced Team Productivity
Auto-testing tools take care of the repetitive and time-consuming tasks of vulnerability scanning, target identification, and privilege escalation. As a result, developers and members of the security teams enjoy reduced stress and improved productivity as they can focus their energy on sophisticated security controls or other tasks that require human intervention.
Top Automated Penetration Testing Solutions
Automated tools have found favorable use in modern security testing since they use robust, high-quality exploits that simulate a reliable and holistic penetration. Some popular automated penetration testing tools include:
Crashtest Security is a popular commercial-grade vulnerability testing suite that offers advanced crawling to detect vulnerabilities within applications. By seamlessly integrating into the application’s development pipeline, Crashtest Security combines high-grade, industry-standard scanning power with a user-friendly interface for efficient web application and API testing.
This tool automatically finds flaws in modern web applications using proprietary proof-based scanning. The tool plugs into existing tools and workflows, making setup easy and reliable. NetSparker also offers various reporting tools such as a visual dashboard and customizable resources for easy control of data and tracking trends.
Nessus is a popular, comprehensive automated testing tool that implements six-sigma accuracy to ensure deep vulnerability coverage. The tool uses a simple user interface to make penetration testing intuitive and straightforward. Nessus includes pre-built templates and policies for simple reporting and analysis and automatically updates plugins for enhanced malware detection. These make the tool suitable for sensitive data searches, compliance checks, and scanning websites & IP Addresses.
Burp Suite Pen Tester
The Burp Suite is designed to improve efficiency in pen-testing by offering complete visibility of the system’s comprehensive security exposure. The tool lets organizations combine manual pen-testing techniques with automation for improved speed and efficiency. The suite also consists of several tools that work together to perform the whole pen-testing process, from initial mapping to exploiting vulnerabilities.
Based on the concept of exploit scripts, Metasploit is one of the most popular frameworks for pen-testing. The open-source tool provides a powerful platform to probe weaknesses in the system and understand the motive of a threat attack. The framework integrates seamlessly with other scanning and patch enumeration solutions, making it easy to integrate security assessments into an existing stack.
A recent Cyber observer report suggests that roughly 314 days is the total time it takes from the breach to the containment of a successful cyber attack. It takes an average of 7 months to identify a breach and another 4 months to contain such a breach. The malicious programs deployed by successful hackers are stealthy, automatic, and can successfully disguise themselves as non-malicious files in case of a routine security check-up.Cyber Observer
Additionally, according to a Cybercrime Magazine’s trend report, by the end of 2021, hacking will cost organizations about $6 trillion.Cyber Magazine
Such statistics highlight the severity of the cyberattacks and their potential effects on organizations that rely on technology. To solve this, penetration testing lets organizations stay on top of threats by modeling real-life attacks safely. Automated tools beat conventional penetration testing in modern, high-velocity software pipelines by continuously simulating attack vectors and providing remediation. This accelerates the testing process, allowing vulnerabilities to be identified across all layers and stages of an application workflow.
To know more about how Crashtest Security can help your organization assess vulnerabilities and safeguard critical application components, sign up here for free and run your first scan.