How to enhance the accuracy of your web application security

Application security tests have been used for a number of years by organisations of all sizes and individuals alike looking to outsmart hackers by detecting and resolving weaknesses within their IT infrastructure. Whilst each company’s web security needs differ, there are a variety of techniques you can use to enhance accuracy when testing all necessary areas of your web applications.

How to enhance the accuracy of your web application security

Compatibility with modern technologies

Ensuring your security software gives you full coverage by translating and testing effectively is essential when improving the accuracy of scans. Nowadays more and more web applications are being built with AJAX and Javascript, instead of in HTML alone. Your security software should be able to interpret modern web technologies to offer better coverage and target vulnerabilities. This step is also vital when it comes to future proofing your protection, which should be able to adapt and improve to understand new technologies, which are constantly multiplying due to the ever-evolving intricacy of web applications.

Efficient scanning via profiling & performance

The efficiency of the scan itself relies on the use of the intelligent profiling of the web application, which should be as dynamic as possible in regards to its regulation of attacks in order to detect vulnerabilities appropriately. Alternatively, other scanners limit the number of attacks based on your needs, which can be selected to improve performance and provide a software security solution that fits.

Detection of valid vulnerabilities

Whilst the efficiency of the scan should highlight valid vulnerabilities within web applications, automated scans do produce false positives triggered by the often unusual behaviour of certain applications. For optimum efficiency and accuracy, security software scanners should double check results to ensure minimal false positives and the increased detection of valid vulnerabilities. Refining these stats however is an ongoing process which will be constantly improved with every input.

Slower scans vs. missed vulnerabilities

The majority of scanners tend to scan a selection of parameters on each pages to reduce scan time and complete the task, however, this limited scan can lead to a number of vulnerabilities not being picked up. Ensure every page and its parameters are fully checked with fully configured scans to make sure these vulnerabilities are pinpointed and remedied for a more secure, no holds barred solution. Partial parameter checking means that if just one parameter has an inadequate filter and the remaining parameters have good filters which are subsequently tripped during the attack phrase of the scan, the whole application would appear to be safe whilst in fact it is quite the contrary.

Whilst many vendors will want to appear efficient with superfast and successful scans, the line between performance and comprehensiveness must be bridged with slower scans, no shortcuts and few untested parameters.

Expected data input for the crawl and attack phases

When executing both the crawl and attack phases of the scan process, the use of expected data is integral to the success of the scan itself. In fact the use of unexpected or irrelevant data will cause the scan to terminate and leave the application open to missed vulnerabilities. For increased accuracy expected datasets must be utilised whilst the attack phase must be completed on one input at any one time.

By utilising these five steps to improved security software accuracy you can ensure you find a solution that is right for you and your web applications. Don’t leave yourself and your organisation vulnerable with an application scanner that works efficiency to remedy all potential threats.

About Jade Moodie

Jade Moodie works for Rugged Systems by Steatite, a specialist company that develops, manufactures and supplies rugged computing systems such as portable workstations, handheld devices, laptops and Android tablets.