Netsparker Web Application Security Scanner

Automation Is A Must In Web Application Security Testing

In few days back we seen about “Top 10 Web Security Checks – How to Test for a Secure Website?

In today’s article we are going to see “Is Automation Must In Web Application Security Testing?

As we all know, Humans can do great things. We have climbed the tallest mountains, discovered the wonders of the universe and created beautiful art in the forms of paintings, poetry or prose. However, by default, we are not perfect and we do make mistakes. And this is where automated tools have an advantage over us mere Humans.  Automated tools such as web application security scanners are better suited to perform mundane yet incredibly important, tasks. They never get tired or distracted and don’t need regular breaks for coffee or nicotine.

I am not suggesting to trust all your security auditing responsibilities to only automated scanning tools. They also have their limitations, for example web scanners cannot detect logical vulnerabilities. However for certain tasks, such as scanning web applications for technical vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection and XSS vulnerabilities, automated scanning is the most efficient use of your time & resources. Here are six reasons why technical vulnerabilities scanning duties are best left to the ever vigilant, never faltering, ‘eyes’ of  automated security scanners.

Automated Web Application Security Scanning Saves Time & Money:

Automation Is A Must In Web Security Testing

Using a real life example; your new web application has at least 100 potential attack surfaces. Each entry point needs to be checked against 400 different web application vulnerability threats. This process requires your highly trained penetration tester to launch 40,000 security tests, each of which takes around two minutes. This results in 1,333 man-hours, or in simpler terms, half a year of work. By using an automated web application scanner, this task can be completed in just a few hours.

Automated web application security scanning means convenience without disruption.

Adding new functionalities to web applications is a natural part of the product life cycle. And each new change can open up unexpected vulnerabilities. By using automated web security tools your development team can scan these updates and re-mediate any issues prior to releasing the update to a live environment within just a few minutes, without having to wait for a security professional to audit their work which typically delays the deployment process.

Automated Web Application Security Scanning to Ensure the Security of More Websites

Automated web application scanning allows you to easily scale up and scan multiple websites and web applications simultaneously. Built-in reporting tools also allow you to track the state of security and compliance of each web application and website. These features are suitable for both large corporations with lots of people on a web development team, to just a single developer working on smaller operations.

Automated Tools Make Web Application Security Easy

Web application security is not easy but by using automated tools it can be made easy. This is due to the minimal amount of setup & integration required before you can start carrying out security scans on your websites and web applications. For example if you use Netsparker Cloud you do not have to configure URL rewrite rules. It has heuristic URL rewrite technology that automatically creates custom URL Rewrite rules to scan parameters in the URLs. This feature means that a task that normally required a detailed working-knowledge of the web application can now be handled automatically by the web application scanner. Easy to use tools also free up the time of experienced developers allowing them to work on other tasks.

Automation Helps You Keep Hackers at Bay!

Hackers use their own versions of automated scanners to identify vulnerabilities in websites and web applications. By using automated web application security scanning as part of your ongoing security audits you will be emulating them. And there is no better way than to emulate your own attacker and use an automated web security scanner to find vulnerabilities and weaknesses before they do. By not using an automated security scanner is like giving hackers the exact advantage they require to find a vulnerability on your website or your web application and exploit it.

Automation Helps You In Case of a Vulnerability Outbreak

The speed at which 0day vulnerabilities are discovered and exploited means that your web applications could be at risk despite all your efforts to stay protected. In 2014 two serious vulnerabilities were discovered that exploited known weaknesses in the encryption protocol SSL. These exploits were named Heartbleed and POODLE.

When using a trusted & well know web application security scanner for automated scanning you can launch a scan within minutes of notification of the threat, and react accordingly. There are a number of well known brand names to choose from. These brands have based their success on being up-to-date with all known exploits and their for their reliability.

Automation in Web Application Security Will Help You Stay Ahead of the Bad Guys:

There are several other benefits you can take advantage of when the process of finding vulnerabilities in web applications is automated, but the above should be enough to convince you and at least give it a shot. If you are new to this industry read these guidelines on how to evaluate & test web application security scanners so you can easily find the tool that meets all your requirements without getting bogged down into all of the industry’s technicalities.

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