Developing software in the 21st century requires a solid commitment to maintaining security, as the threat of hacking is constant and increasingly complex. As a result, trying to eliminate, as much as possible, any potential vulnerabilities or defects in the software you are creating is crucial.
But what is the best way to test software during its development life cycle to ensure there are no weak spots that a hacker could exploit?
Fuzz testing could be the solution your development business requires. This form of software testing, which has been around for decades, has been said by many in the industry to be a valuable part of the development process.
Not convinced? Here are several reasons why fuzz testing is so effective and why you shouldn’t leave it out of your software development life cycle.
Fuzz Testing Saves Both Money And Time
One of the most beneficial aspects of fuzz testing is its efficacy. Because fuzz testing is an automated method, once you have set it up, it can run in the background for days, weeks, or even months, searching your code for weak spots without incurring any extra bills. If you opt to use the more recently developed ‘smart fuzzers’, in particular, your business has the capacity to test thousands of attacks in a single second. This saves you a great deal of time and keeps expenses to a minimum.
You Can Guard Against Zero-Day Hack Attacks
Zero-day attacks are increasingly common these days, with over a third of cyberattacks on businesses consisting of this form of offensive. One of the easiest ways to understand fuzzing and the benefits of fuzz testing is to use it as a protective bastion against these zero-day attacks. By using different fuzz testing tools to thoroughly check your software and seek out the same weaknesses that a hacker would aim for, you and your team can help to make sure that yours is not one of the enterprises affected.
All Protocols And Applications Can Be Checked
Another benefit of fuzz testing is its ability to test all kinds of protocols and applications. This means that the administrators of your network, not to mention your software developers, can boost your network’s security without having to use a variety of tools or methods. Even a basic protocol fuzzer has the capability of testing different web browsers, for example, while newer smart fuzzers come with special functions so they can perform tasks such as BYOD scanning.
Cut Down on False Alerts
False threat alerts are a major problem for software analysts as they use up valuable time and resources. They can even stand in the way of an actual threat being detected. While other frequently used methods of software testing may not be able to tell the difference between a real threat and a false alarm, fuzz testing has been found to cause fewer of these ‘false negative’ alerts. Smart fuzzers, in particular, can be used to create specific rules for your enterprise that will help your software analysts tell the difference between a real problem and an imaginary one. This will allow them to weed through the alerts more effectively and use their valuable time for fixing genuine vulnerabilities.
You Don’t Need The Source Code
Unless you are using open-source software, hackers will not typically have access to your source code when they launch an attack on your enterprise. To prevent them from finding any weak spots to exploit, the best method to use is to imitate the hackers themselves – in other words, testing for vulnerabilities without access to the source code. This will help you to detect any weaknesses in your code before they do, so you can patch up the gaps and make your software more impenetrable. Blackbox fuzzers allow you to perform these simulations, mimicking the actions of a potential hacker and locating the vulnerable points and loopholes in your system. Emulating a real-world attack is one of the most effective ways to make sure your software is as robust as it can be before you launch it.
While more conventional testing methods, including static analysis, can be used to detect common defects, fuzz testing can locate loopholes and vulnerable parts of code that may otherwise be missed by those other methods. There are several fuzz testing tools you can use to help strengthen your software. These include:
- Guided Fuzzing –This kind of fuzz testing can be used to create customized tests for applications.
- Random Fuzzing – This generates a range of random inputs in order to test applications. In fact, sometimes they are so random they don’t even reach the application. This tool offers a more broad-based approach.
- Smart Fuzzing – As we have already mentioned, smart fuzzing offers extensive code coverage and includes a range of special built-in features which can allow you to detect a variety of bugs and other defects.
Make The Most Of Fuzz Testing’s Capabilities
As you can see, fuzz testing offers a variety of benefits for your software development life cycle. While you may not wish to forego your other testing methods entirely, it’s safe to say that implementing fuzz testing in your development process will bring a range of benefits and help to strengthen your software against potential attacks.