Before You Download: Penetration Testing Your Applications

Each day we are being inundated with information. This could be in the form of ads, articles or a new tool to use that will surely make our lives easier. While these applications could be very useful to the organization, they could also be the cause of breaches or the unlawful capture of your personal or business information. But there’s a way to ensure the programs you are downloading to your devices are secure – at least for now.

What is Application Penetration Testing?

An application penetration test is the way in which one mimics real-world attacks against the applications on your devices. A pen-tester can uncover the bugs in the Operating System and infrastructure level of your applications by performing the test from the perspective of the various defined roles within an application.

At the end of the day through application pen-tests, you will be able to develop, maintain and purchase applications that your organization trusts.

What to Include in an Application Pen-Test

Now, when thinking about the applications to include on a pen-test it may feel overwhelming. And that may very well be the case. We are a generation constantly looking for the latest app or program to consolidate and simplify the day-to-day tasks we do. So what should you absolutely include in your pen-test?

  • Web applications
  • Mobile applications
  • Desktop programs
  • Antivirus software
  • Embedded system applications
  • Games
  • Source Codes

These are all areas where your applications are connecting to your network – therefore making it necessary for you to pen-test them to ensure there isn’t a gateway for a bad actor to enter and exploit your personal or business information. Let’s take a look at a couple of these examples and discuss their importance.

Mobile applications. These can be incredibly dangerous for users if not used correctly – or if used without proper understanding of the data that’s collected when you download it. For example, some apps may run in the “background” collecting user data – such as your location. This makes it more necessary to be aware of these nuisances when downloading or using applications that may do this and adjusting the settings when necessary.

Antivirus software. Even though this is a program designed to protect and identify potential vulnerabilities on your device already, it shouldn’t be excluded in your pen-test. If the program were to miss a software update or a patch that needs to be implemented you could be leaving a door open for an attacker. Routine maintenance is critical to ensure this application is working for you, instead of against you.

Embedded system applications. These are applications that you add to your network – whether it be on a mobile device, desktop computer or tablet. Some applications may need to access different parts of your system – and like the mobile applications, without a full understanding of the connecting points, you could be providing bad actors the attack path they need to obtain sensitive data.

Why You Need to Application Pen-Test

To put it simply, we are becoming more dependent on IT applications. Whether they’ve been a part of your daily life, or you’ve been looking for a tool to use at work for collaboration or even just as something fun to download.

However, with the increase of their presence as well as our growing need for them, we need to also increase our awareness and actions regarding compliance and regulatory needs concerning these applications. Being vigilant now can save you, or your organization, thousands of dollars or more, not to mention your reputation, when it comes to security breaches. Conducting routine application pen-tests not only will help keep you ahead of the bad actors in your environment, but will also aid with allocating your security dollars to either find better tools or what further investments should be made to protect your organization.

Taking the time to pen-test your applications can only benefit you in the long-term. This will grant you the ability to operate out of a healthy security posture by knowing the security of each program downloaded onto your device. Looking for a tool to help get you there? Request a demo of how Core Impact can assist you in your security.