API Security Testing : Rules And Checklist

One of the most valuable assets of an organization is the data.  It is important for an organization to identify the threats to secure data from any kind of risk.
That’s why API security testing is very important. An Application Programming Interface provides the easiest access point to hackers.
To make your data safe from hackers, you should use API security testing and ensure that the API is as safe as possible. If there is an error in API, it will affect all the applications that depend upon API.
An API is a user interface intended for different users.
It is made for a machine running software so that two machines can communicate with each other in the same way that you are kind of communicating with your devices when you are browsing the internet or using certain applications.
Rules For Api Security Testing
Unfortunately, a lot of APIs are not tested to meet the security criteria, that means the API you are using may not be secure.
So, you have to ensure that your applications are functioning as expected with less risk potential for your data. You must test and ensure that your API is safe.
Although, API testing is simple its implementation is hard. Here are some rules of API testing:

  • An API should provide expected output for a given input
  • The inputs should appear within a particular range and values crossing the range must be rejected
  • Any empty or null input must be rejected when it is unacceptable
  • Incorrectly sized input must be rejected

Methods Of API Security Testing
Fuzz Testing
It is one of the simple and common ways to test the delicacies in a web service.
It is basically a black box software testing technique which includes finding bugs using malformed data injection.
Fuzz testing does not require advanced tools or programs. Fuzz testing can be performed on any application whether it is an API or not.
You can simply use the command lines like curl and simply send some unexpected value to API and check if it breaks. For example:
Fuzz Testing Numbers: If your API expects numbers in the input, try to send values such as negative numbers, 0, and large digit numbers.
A badly coded application will depend on a certain format, so this is a good way to find bugs in your application.
Fuzz Testing Strings: the best way of fuzz testing strings is to send SQL queries in a criterion where the API is expected some innocuous value.
Undoubtedly, an API will not run any SQL sent is a request
Command Injection
An injection flaw occurs with respect to web services and API when the web application pass information from HTTP request through other commands such as database command, system call, or request to an external service.
For example, you send a request to an API by entering a command  ?command=rm -rf / within one of the query parameter.

If the API does not validate the data within that parameter properly, then it could run that command by destroying the contents of the server.
Here we will discuss the ways to test API vulnerabilities.
Operating System Commands in API Requests: You can start with determining the operating system on which the API runs. Generally, it runs on Linux and Windows.
Now, try to send commands within API request that would run on that operating system.
Consider the following example in which the API request deletes a file by name.

$fn = $_GET[‘filename’];
system(“rm $file”)

If the user’s request sends a vicious command in the filename parameter, then it will be executed like:


SQL in API parameters: As similar to operating system command injection, SQL injection is a type of instability that happens when invalidating data from an API request is used in database command. For example

$name = $_GET[‘username’];
runDbTransaction(“UPDATE user SET username=$name WHERE id = …”)

An attacker or hacker can easily run database command by making an API request if the input data is not validated properly.
(Un) Authorized Endpoints And Methods
It is very important that an API should authorize every single request before processing it because when the API reveals any sensitive data and allow the users to make damaging actions.
Test For Authentication On All EndPoints: This is one of the ways to test your API security is to set up automated tests in the scenarios such as test authorized endpoints without authorization, test authorized endpoints without authorization and test user privileges.
Test Unhandled HTTP Methods: API that uses HTTP have various methods that are used to retrieve, save and delete data.
The ways to set up a security test for these cases are using HEAD to bypass authentication and test arbitrary HTTP methods.
Parameter Tampering
It takes the advantage of backend sanitizing errors and then manipulates parameters sent in API requests.
According to this, the forms that use type=”hidden” input should always be tested in order to make sure that backend server correctly validates them.

<input type=”hidden” name=”price” value=”100.00″ />

Conceptually, when the user opens his web browser and changes the input valued from 100.00 to 1.00 and submit the form, then the service will be vulnerable to parameter tampering.
API Security Testing Tools
It is a functional testing tool specifically designed for API testing.
It allows the users to test t is a functional testing tool specifically designed for API testing.
It allows the users to test SOAP APIs, REST and web services effortlessly.

  • It runs the test quickly and easily with point & clicks and drag & drop
  • The load tests and security scan used in SoapUI can be reused for functional testing

Katalon Studio
It is a free security testing tool for API, web and mobile applications.

It supports both REST and SOAP request with various commands and functionality.
It has the capability of combining UI and API for multiple environments.

  • It supports the data-driven approach
  • IT support CI/CD integration
  • It supports both SOAP and REST

It is a security testing tool used to test web services and API.
It was designed to send HTTP requests in a simple and quick way.
Now it has extends its solutions with the native version for both Mac and Windows.

  • It can be run on Linux, Windows, Mac and chrome apps
  • It is easy to use REST client
  • Rich interface
  • Used for automated and exploratory testing
  • It doesn’t require learning a new language
  • It also has run, test, document and monitoring features

Tricentis Tosca
It is a continuous security testing platform with several benefits and features

  • It supports an array of protocols such as SOAP, IBM MQ, Rabbit MQ, JMS etc.
  • API tests can be used across packaged apps, cross-browser, mobile etc.
  • It reduces the time of regression testing

It is a cross-cloud API security testing tool which allows the users to test and measure the performance of API.

  • Powered by Javascript.
  • It allows design, monitor, scale and deploys API.
  • Identify performance issues.
  • Create API proxies.

How To Do Security Testing: Best Practices

The industry of software has a huge reputation and presence in almost every sector.
Most businesses utilize IT solutions and web-based systems to manage and maintain their business. The banking, payments, stock, purchasing and selling, and many other activities are conducted digitally these days.
The rise of digital business has made security testing extremely important. This article will show you the major steps to perform security testing.
1. Test The Accessibility
Access security should be your first priority to ensure the safety of your business and your customers.
Accessibility includes authentication and authorization. You decide who will get the accessibility and how much accessibility is allowed to an authenticated person.
This helps in ensuring that your data stays safe from internal and external breaches.
To conduct the accessibility test, you are required to test the roles and responsibilities of people in your company.
Hire a tester who is qualified for the job. He or she will generate multiple user accounts, including different roles.
security testing those generated accounts will help in ensuring the security level in terms of accessibility.
The same test can also include password quality, default login capacities, captcha test, and other password and login related tests.
2. Test The Protection Level of Data
The security of your data depends on:

  • Data visibility and usability
  • Data storage

While data visibility is about how much data is visible to users, the data storage involves the security of your database.
Proper security testing measures are required to ensure the effectiveness of data storage. However, you have to test first to check the vulnerabilities.
A professional tester can test the database for all kinds of critical data such as user account, passwords, billing and others.
It is important that the database stores all the important data. The transmission of data should be encrypted as well. The qualified tester also checks the ease of decryption of the encrypted data.
3. Test For Malicious Script
Hackers utilize XSS and SQL injection to hack a website. A malicious script is injected into the system of a site, which allows the hacker to control or manipulate the hacked website.
A tester can ensure the safety of your site against these practices.
The tester can check the maximum lengths allowed for the input fields. This restriction doesn’t allow a hacker to include these malicious scripts.
4. Test The Access Points
In today’s market, collaboration is the way of doing business. Many businesses collaborate on a digital level by providing services in a collaborative way.

Also Read : How to Test a Bank ERP System

For instance, a stock trading app has to provide consistent access to the latest data to the users and new visitors as well. But this open access also presents the risk of unwanted breach.
To immune from such attacks, a tester can check the entry points of the app.
The professional tester evaluates and ensures that all the access requests come from reliable IPs or application.
If not, the app system should have the capacity to reject those requests.
5. Test The Session Management
Session on the web includes the response transactions between your web server and the browser utilized by a user.
Testing the session management involves multiple actions such as expiry time of the session after a certain idle period, maximum lifetime of termination, session end time after a user logs out and others.
6. Test The Error Handling
Testing the error codes is important too. This includes the errors of 408, 400, 404, and others.
The tester can perform directed actions to reach such pages and ensure that the presented page doesn’t contain any critical data or information.
This helps in ensuring that all the data presented on error pages are safe and can’t help the hackers.
This test also includes the checkup of the stack traces, which can help the potential hackers to breach.
7. Test For Other Functionalities
Other functionalities that require testing are the file uploads and payments. These functions require thorough testing.
app testing
Any malicious file should be restricted. Also, the tester should check the vulnerabilities associated with the payments such as buffer overflows, insecure storage, password guessing, and other issues.
Apart from the mentioned tests, a professional tester can recommend others, according to the business model you have.
Conducting the tests in the mentioned way will help you ensure a comprehensive security of your digital presence.

Mobile App Security Testing Checklist Every Developer Must Have

Mobile apps have become the ultimate solution for every organization to conduct their businesses. Thus, the usage of mobile apps has been soaring heights in these recent years. While many of the apps perform the function of storing and displaying data, other apps are involved in transmitting some of the sensitive data. However, with higher power come great responsibilities. Thus, it is essential that the organizations safeguard their apps alongside enjoying the tremendous benefits that these apps provide.

app testing

Mobile app security works in an entirely different way than any of the traditional applications. Time is of the essence when it comes to the latest mobile universe. Developers are always in a rush when putting together a mobile app that they sometimes forget to implement the most critical security measures that should be performed.

Thus we have come up with a quick checklist that you could refer to when building your mobile apps.

Penetration Tests

One of the best ways to avoid security risks is by running pen tests on your mobile applications against the various vulnerabilities. Penetration testing includes hacking into the mobile apps and imitating both general and mobile-specific attacks. It also provides replication of the attacker’s action to extract confidential information.

Every device tremendously varies with regards to the features and operating systems. Thus, there are unique challenges that appear when running penetration tests. However, this method shouldn’t be avoided because it is an absolute necessity when it comes to detecting loopholes in a system. If left unseen, these loopholes could grow to become potential threats that give access to the mobile’s data and features.

Source Code Encryption

Almost all the codes in a native mobile app are left on the client’s side. Mobile malware often targets vulnerabilities in the code and design to pose a threat to the mobile applications. Before the attack, the attackers can extract a public copy of the application. They reverse-engineer the application so that the codes could be plundered and malicious codes could be inserted. After which they are further posted on third-party app stores to trick the people who install them.

Furthermore, be extra careful when using codes from third-party libraries. Check the code thoroughly to make sure that it doesn’t have any security flaw. Third-party libraries can be a lifesaver when working on time-consuming projects; however, they can sometimes be extremely insecure for your apps.

Threats like these can take an organization’s reputation downhill. Developers should thus put extreme care when building an app and include tools to detect and close security vulnerabilities. Developers should even make their applications robust against any tampering and reverse-engineering too. Minimisation would make the code harder to interpret; however, they won’t necessarily ensure secrecy. Keeping the codes a secret is of utmost importance, and encryption provides the most efficient and highest security making the code unreadable.

Security of the Device

A mobile application can only remain secure if the phone is secure. Otherwise, when a mobile is ‘rooted’ or ‘jailbroken’, it points at the authentic software restrictions that have been compromised. By making an application ‘risk-aware’, enterprises are given the ability to put a limitation on particular functionalities, sensitive data, and enterprise resources. Moreover, enterprises are asked to not wholly depend on native app development platforms, as these platforms are not always resistant to mobile security threats.

Thus, it is wise to choose intelligent sources and quality application services to keep track of the apps and their associated risks.

Protecting Data in the Transit

Data is always transmitted from clients to servers, and it needs to be protected to keep away from privacy leaks. It might seem like an unimportant task to most of the developers, but it is never a better option to be ignorant when the security of an app is at stake. Using either an SSL or VPN tunnel is highly advisable when you are trying to safeguard the data that is being sent from a client to the server.

A risk-aware transaction should be embraced by the entire organization to restrict risk factors regarding the mobile applications.

File-Level and Database Encryption

The bandwidth and varying connection quality imply the importance of more client-side code and the vast amount of data stored on a device. Unlike desktop applications, mobile applications are required to stay on the device itself. Moreover, this very fact has a significant impact on the security. Most developers design the mobile app in a way that the data is stored in the local file system. However, by default, these can’t encrypt the data and thus leave a major loophole for potential vulnerabilities.

To overcome this, modules that can encrypt the data should be put to use. They can provide file-level encryption and can be very helpful when it comes to amplifying security.

High-Level Authentication

Security breaches usually happen due to the lack of high-level authentication. Authentication refers to passwords and other personal identifiers that are put to act as a hindrance to entry. Only the users with the right identifier can access the information, whereas the others are left out. However, when working as a developer, this mainly depends on the end users. Thus, encouraging the users to grow more sensitive towards authentication would be the best way to avoid security breaches.

Developers should design the apps in such a way that it only accepts strong alphanumerical passwords. Additionally, makes sure that the app makes the user change these passwords in every three or six months. In case of extremely sensitive apps, biometric authentication should be employed such as fingerprints and retina scan.

mobile app

Now that you have the complete checklist of security measures that you should take when developing an app, you would prove to be a sinecure. However, it is advisable that every developer become extra careful, and put all the safety measures to use to make the application as strong as an ox.

Mobile Security: Factors To Look Out For While Testing an App

Today, we use mobile phones practically for everything from shopping for clothes to performing business activities, so mobile security has prominence than ever.

app testing

There are so many apps available in the market that you are confused which is the right one for your needs and also the most secure. Before going to that, you must know about the three basic types of mobile applications:

  • Native Applications – mobile applications that run on a specific platform. For example, iOS apps like Health, Voice Memos, and Find iPhone that works on an iPhone.
  • Web Applications – these are websites that you can access using any smartphone.
  • Hybrid Applications – mobile apps that can be used on different operating systems. Some of the classic examples are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Here are seven important activities that developers and businesses should perform to check the security of their mobile applications:

  • Hack Proof Code

It is common for mobile apps to be attacked with malware and data breaches. It means that developers need to be extra attentive while writing code, which is reliable and free from any backdoors. Robust code is the secret to error-free and hack-proof mobile application, which forms an integral part of its mobile security. One way to test the application’s security is by checking if it doesn’t store, use, or transmit a lot of data.

  • Security Features

A mobile app is made for functioning on different systems including Android, iOS, platforms, and devices. While making a hybrid application, the software developer should be careful about features, capabilities, and limitations of different operating systems. It will help the developer to optimize mobile security and make the mobile application hack proof.

  • User Permissions

Another way to secure your apps is by putting security measures at the application layer. It helps the app users to stay away from malicious applications by giving them the choice to select the mobile security setting level.

  • Third-party Libraries

Many application developers use third-party libraries, but there’s a lot of risk attached to them. They are vulnerable to malicious content, which means developers need to be extra careful from where they source the third-party library. Make sure you test the code before using it for your mobile application.

Also Read : Video Game Testing – Play Games and Earn Money

  • Unnecessary Security Risks

Features like social network connectivity are essential for proper functioning of a mobile app; therefore developers should pay particular attention to them while including it in the application. They should be managed in such a way that they don’t slow down the application.

  • Backend

A reliable and secure backend system is essential for developing an application. You must know that hackers get into an application mostly through its backend systems, so give it as much as importance you give to the frontend system. It is these little things that when you ignore makes your applications hacker-friendly.

  • Strict Testing

Security testing the application might be your least favorite part of the whole development process but it is the most critical one. To reduce the pile of work in the end, perform security testing after completion of each stage of the process, so that testing work is over soon after the development process is. Make sure you develop the mobile application according to national and international security regulations.

Steps involved in security testing of mobile applications:

1. Threat Modelling
In the first step of the process, you identify the threats to your mobile app.
2. Analysis of Vulnerability

In this step, you identify aspects of the mobile application that are vulnerable to be hacked, which are found by tests including Dynamic methods, forensic methods, and Runtime analysis.

3. Information about the Mobile Application
Make sure you gather as much information you can about the mobile app that you’ve developed.
Reasons why Mobile Application Security Testing is an essential part of the Development Process for Companies:
1. Reputation of the Business

No one is going to download apps from a business that is continuously hacked or was hacked in the past. Downtime due to these security breaches could lead to huge amount of loss to any business and thus damaging their reputation in the market. Companies can’t be stubborn and cut costs on application security because it might lead to intangible expenses.

2. Business Mergers

Companies merge all the time because they bring in more business. If you plan to combine your app development company with another, you need to have clear records. It isn’t easy to find vulnerabilities but companies should have a holistic approach to app security.

3. Customer Safety
Mobile application market is expected to grow year-on-year. Customers have a big appetite, so it goes without saying that you need to pay close attention to safety measures taken while developing an app. Application security is as important as quality user interfaces and it’s also a healthy way to attract potential customers.
4. Time is Money

What do you prefer more? Going back to the same application because it gets hacked again and again or develop an app so perfect that is the most hack-proof? With the demand for mobile apps being more than ever, developers are in a race against time to meet deadlines, which only makes it right to make the application that is perfect in all sense.

5. Everything Counts

Let’s say you use a simple application to enter data or calculate interest, which you didn’t test well enough. Hackers get in it and cause a security breach and you might end up losing all your data, some of which will be confidential and might end your business. Hackers will give you a run for money if they crack into many such applications.

The first step to avoiding unnecessary risks is realising the importance of mobile application security. A new way to reduce cybercrimes is by preventing security mistakes in the development stage, which helps in the company’s success and safety of app users.

7 Possible Security Testing Mistakes that Can Occur Anytime

Mobile apps become a double- edged sword especially when a mobile payment application has to do mass transfers. New features are prone to hacking and extortion if not handled with care.  NowSecure Mobile Security Report 2016 has found that 25% of the mobile applications always deal with at-least one highly extended security risk. When attacks on mobile applications increased, authorities started considering security checks before launching the app.
app testing
Here, we are going to discuss about 7 possible security testing errors that may occur but can be avoided:

  • Failing to understand how an application is exposed to risk

We know that to cure a disease, we have to understand the cause first. So, it’s necessary to analyse the possible security risks that can affect the user, device and systems, and the damages it can bring. ‘Threat modeling’ is a practice which helps organizations to analyse the potential of risk, measuring up the development and growth of the threat. Usually, the risks happen to be identity theft and financial fraud, where the password and user name to any kind of financial account of an individual is hacked. The type of attack depends on the hacker’s motive.

  • Failing to connect security with application design

Usually, security testing is left to be done at the end of the development process or is never done at all.  This is mainly due to the misconception among developers that security testing costs a lot. But, patching up the bugs after the application reaches the audience is more expensive than designing a security checked code from beginning.

  • Lacking the quality in security testing

Checking vulnerabilities and block box testing should be included while performing security tests. Penetration testing has the ability to prevent bugs and malware from real world hackers and keeps apps secure. It is always better to arrange a professional security than an in- house testing team with little knowledge in security testing.

  • Use end-end encryption in data

Using weak or no encrypted data is a commonly made mistake which make data theft easier for the hacker. To avoid malwares, it’s better to use the end-end encryption in data for all data transferred through mobile devices. Apart from that, it is also important to input the encryption feature in devices so that non transmitted data is also secured. This has to be built directly into the device.

  • Exposing sensitive data

Try not to use password remembering feature which may lead to accidental login without the user being aware. Easy access to the login details can help hackers find the weakest points of an account. Never keep sensitive data unattended. Always ensure their safety. An experienced hacker may always try tricks on users to retrieve information.

  • Limit app features

Avoid adding features that doesn’t add value to your app. Keep the number of features to a minimum; it ensures that the app leaves a smaller surface for security attacks to happen, thus increasing safety. . THE same applies to permission requests, and therefore, ask permissions only for the necessary details.

  • Develop a security response plan

 A 100% secure application is not possible, even though it passes through every type of testing. Technology is growing fast that new vulnerabilities are also being made every day to beat security plans.
We just can’t do anything about it.
A critical action plan can be implemented by:-
1. Monitoring the device, identifying every unusual activity
2. Appointing an in/out house team to identify and recover threats
3. Having policies that help you to limit the damages