Top 5 security threats software testers need to look for

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Although quality assurance teams spend a great deal of their time searching for bugs and looking for ways to improve user experience, they must also be cognizant of the need for high-quality security capabilities with any piece of software they're working on. A gaping security vulnerability could be just as damaging to an application's prospects for success on the market as buggy performance or a poor user interface. QA teams should always take time to test for such issues. Here are the top five security threats to keep an eye out for:

1. Cross-site scripting
Cybercriminals can exploit weaknesses in the coding of a Web application, allowing them to hijack user sessions and give themselves control over a website or browser. According to the Open Web Application Security Project, XSS is the most pervasive Web application security defect across the Internet. With automated testing tools, QA teams can identify many of the server-focused flaws that can lead to XSS-based attacks.

2. Authentication and session management issues
QA teams must take great care to ensure that any application they work on contains strong session management controls to protect highly sensitive information such as authentication credentials. Although the end users themselves play a major role in session management and security testing, software testers can help secure authentication assets by taking steps similar to addressing XXS threats and preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing user credentials.

3. URL manipulation
Hackers can alter query strings in URLs to access sensitive information relating to users and websites. As described on BugHuntress QA Lab's blog, software testers can get ahead of this issue by changing valley parameters and configuring servers to reject requests from unauthorized users. 

4. Security misconfiguration
Misconfigurations relating to an application or website's configuration are especially worrisome for QA teams because they can occur at any level. Any vulnerability here could provide cybercriminals a wide open window to comprise sensitive data or even the entire system itself. OWASP noted that QA, developers and system admins all need to work together to ensure that every component within the application stack has been uniformly configured and prevent any weak links from cropping up. Automated software testing tools are extremely helpful here, as they enable QA specialists to quickly and efficiently identify configuration issues.

5. SQL injections
Cybercriminals have used SQL injections to wreak havoc on digital assets for a long time, largely because of how effective and easy-to-deploy these tools are. When SQL injections are successfully launched, hackers can obtain data straight from a server's database, putting a great deal of sensitive business information at risk. BugHuntress QA Lab suggested that teams regularly test input fields to check if any malicious SQL statements have been inserted by cybercriminals or other unauthorized users.

This list only scratches the surface of the number of threats that QA teams need to be aware of when conducting testing. A test management tool can further aid efforts to shore up software security and prevent vulnerabilities from making their way into finished products by providing testers with a comprehensive platform to share resources, updates and documents. This way, nothing slips through the cracks and everyone stays on the same page.

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