Using Open Source Tools for Security Testing | TechWell

Using Open Source Tools for Security Testing

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Without sufficient security testing, software applications are at high risk of being hacked, phished, or attacked by computer viruses. Performing a series of security tests before deployment of your application has become paramount.

But that doesn't have to mean a suite of costly tools. Plenty of open source security testing tools have become viable options.

Open source security testing software is available online and can be downloaded from the developer community’s website or from the vendor’s product website for free.

Here are the different types of security tests where an open source security testing tool can help.

Vulnerability Scanning
Vulnerability scanner applications assess computers, devices, and networks to discover security weaknesses in the system. Vulnerabilities can arise from errors in programming or configurations in firewalls, routers, web servers, application servers, and so on. This scanner also provides trend analysis and countermeasures to eliminate the discovered vulnerabilities.

Penetration Testing
Also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, this is a type of testing where a cyber attack is simulated on the system. The tester acts as a real hacker and performs various testing scenarios.

Security Risk Assessment
This is a preventive approach that should be an integral part of your organization’s risk management process. Security risk assessment tools provide a road map for a strong security approach for your application development and deployment environment. Security risk assessment tools can identify critical security risks in your application, define a mitigation plan for the risks , and prevent threats and vulnerabilities by implementing security testing tools.

Probably the chief benefit of opting for open source security testing tools is their cost-effectiveness. Open source tools are free downloads, so they can be installed on multiple machines at zero cost.

But another benefit are the periodic upgrades. Most open source tools have an active developer community, so you get regular enhancements to the tools when the products evolve and new features and bug fixes are rolled out. However, keep in mind that not all open source tools are backed by large organizations, so you may run into issues in the long term.

Finally, just like with a proprietary tool, it’sall yours. Most open source software not only allows customization to suit your application’s requirements, but also enhancements for efficiency and new features. Effectively, you own the tool and can play around with it.

The development community for open source security testing tools works to deliver scalable and relevant tools to the software industry, along with any patches and improvements, at no cost to you. A proactive approach to the evaluation, selection, and deployment of open source security testing tools will mitigate the risks of exposing your software and your system environment to malicious hackers and intruders.

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