Every DevOps team should employ application security testing tools in this day and age and constant incoming news of companies being hacked and ransomed for millions. So, it pays off to make security testing part of the DevOps tools stack in the short, mid, and long term.
And while software development teams often move fast with the single goal of satisfying business needs and shipping features, having security professionals take care of the security issues is often an expensive and unnecessary organizational approach.
Let’s look into the top application security testing tools available out there and the type of vulnerabilities you can cover without needing in-house security teams or penetration testers.
What Are Security Testing Tools?
Security testing tools blend into a DevOps workflow strategically, forming a DevSecOps model while improving production efficiency and minimizing software development costs.
Such tools allow you to include testing and remediation of potential application vulnerabilities throughout the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and post-delivery Run & Maintain phases. Thus, enabling a DevSecOps model ensures developers adopt a secured development and delivery cycle without lagging productivity and attributing ‘security’ at the bottom of the SDLC.
The DevSecOps paradigm continues to evolve, and with the emergence of distinct application security tools, organizations can now test and secure different software development and delivery stages. DevSecOps security tools are most commonly categorized into Static Application Security Testing (SAST) and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) methodologies.
This article will look at the prominently used security tools and approaches.
Static Application Security Testing (SAST) Tools
SAST models on a multiform of Source Code Analysis, Binary Analysis, and White Box Testing Techniques. At a glance, SAST tools examine an application’s source code for security vulnerabilities, usually before the code is pushed to production. For example, a SAST Source Code Analysis involves testing static code for vulnerable defects such as race conditions, input validation, numerical errors, etc.
On the other hand, Binary Analysis requires testing for these defects in code that have been built and compiled. With many SAST tools, some test only the source code, some test the compiled code, while some test both source and compiled code.
Below are a few notable SAST tools:
Being an open-source platform, LGTM leverages security experts’ knowledge as contributors who use data science and semantic code search to write queries that detect existing and new code vulnerabilities.
More so, SonarQube can analyze your code in repositories like GitHub, Azure DevOps, and BitBucket, giving you instant feedback during code review.
The SonarQube community edition is free, open-source, and is popularly considered perfect for entry-level CI/CD Secure DevOps. On the other hand, its Developer, Enterprise, and Datacenter editions feature increasing sophistication levels for larger deployments.
Reshift was designed to bring security posture to the attention without slowing down development, ideally making it one of the flag bearers promoting a DevSecOps model.
This tool integrates with an integrated development environment (IDE), making it near perfect for identifying and fixing vulnerabilities in real-time. As a key feature, Reshift allows you to secure your applications during code review, compile-time, and as part of continuous integration.
Reshift is considered a perfect lightweight DevOps Security Testing solution for SMBs and growing software companies looking to integrate security into their Software Development Lifecycle without requiring security expertise for usage.
The Insider Source Code Analysis tool is a community-driven security tool that supports agile and easy software development by scanning for source code-level vulnerabilities.
With Insider Application Security, you can secure your code directly on the GitHub directory using a free, integrated, and frictionless GitHub action, making it easy to secure your source code directly in your GitHub directory.
In addition, the NPM CLI allows you to configure your packages, audit real-time application’s source code while accessing repositories for improved functionality. This solution automatically identifies and manages conflicts in dependencies, helping you fix vulnerabilities in real-time.
Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) Tools
DAST tools are also called Black Box Security Testing or Vulnerability Scanning tools. These tools test an application from an outsider’s perspective with limited to no knowledge of the written source code.
DAST tools simulate an attack vector’s action, testing the application during runtime to uncover potential security loopholes. In addition, these tools run without human intervention, automating the testing process with little to no manual intervention.
The Crashtest Security Suite is a security vulnerability scanning tool with advanced crawling to detect various vulnerabilities in web applications. In addition, screens can be automated by seamlessly integrating into the development pipeline to be part of the standard build and deployment process.
Crashtest Security is built with modern applications and development teams in mind. That means balancing enterprise-grade scans with a user-friendly interface, meaning you don’t have to be a security specialist to use Crashtest Security.
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) provides the Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), a free and open-source penetration-testing tool designed to test web applications.
ZAP acts as a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacker, mimicking an interception of communication between the tester’s browser and the web app.
ZAP can be installed on all major Operating Systems and Dockers and is known to increase your security testing functionality by installing various add-ons available from the ZAP marketplace.
Arachni is a free, high-performance testing tool based on the Ruby framework. Its distribution comes in multiple portable packages, which lets you instantly deploy to evaluate your application’s security. You may deploy it as a Ruby Library, CLI Scanner, WebUI, or Distributed system.
Arachni easily integrates with most modern platforms through REST API and comes with abundant vulnerability analysis checks that offer the highest resilience, accuracy, and reliability levels.
Why Use Security Testing Tools?
There is no denying that security testing tools have become an integral part of any organization’s DevOps workflow. However, what exactly makes them so valuable? Let us take a look:
- They ensure that your codebase is secure from day one
- They help in preventing future attacks
- They provide visibility into how your code works
- They can be used to automate repetitive tasks
- They make it easier to detect flaws before they get exploited
- They enable continuous integration
- They improve quality assurance
- They reduce time spent on manual testing
- They increase developer productivity
- They save money
- They decrease risks
- They make it easier for non-technical people to understand complex technical concepts
- They give confidence to stakeholders
- They create a culture of security
- They improve the overall security posture
- They help in identifying new attack vectors
- They help in maintaining strong security practices
- They help you achieve and remain compliant
How much money can I save using a security testing tool?
The amount of money saved depends upon the type of test performed. For example, if we talk about penetration testing, the total cost will depend on the number of days required to complete the test. If we talk about automated scanning, then the total cost would include maintenance costs and the cost of training. The savings may also vary depending on the size of the company.
Which security testing tools should I use?
You need to choose the right security testing tool according to your needs. Many different types of security testing tools are available in the market today. Some of the most popular ones are listed below:
- Static Analysis Tools – Static analysis tools are used to analyze the code without actually executing it.
- Dynamic Analysis Tools – Dynamic analysis tools are used to execute programs and detect errors during runtime.
- Penetration Testing Tools – Penetration testing tools simulate real attacks against an organization’s network infrastructure. They are used to determine the effectiveness of the security measures implemented by the organization.
- Vulnerability Assessment Tools – Vulnerability assessment tools are used to evaluate the risk associated with various applications. In addition, they are used to assess the security post errors that static analysis tools cannot detect.
Integrating security testing into DevOps requires an approach that secures pipelines and is also scalable across multiple business levels. The right security testing tools, automated source, and compiled code analysis help development teams address vulnerabilities by adopting security as an essential facet within the SDLC.
In addition, the right tools enable collaboration, pipeline management, and automated testing, eliminating defects without sacrificing performance, time, and overhead. Like an additional topping, integrating security testing into DevOps also reduces software development costs by reducing the coding required in remediation.
And if you are just started with DevSecOps, we thought this post might be helpful – DevSecOps, benefits, examples, and best practices.