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How to Detect Vulnerability in Your Software

A software vulnerability is a design or coding fault that can allow attackers to gain access to the program. The software vulnerabilities, if not detected, can prove to be crippling to your company. Especially if it’s a part of the network.

Usually, there are procedures hackers follow when trying to breach a software. First, the attackers breach the software by scanning the network for live hosts, open ports, and IP addresses. Then a targeted port scanning is executed to determine the open ports that can be used to access the networks.

Finally, when accessed, they try to scan for vulnerabilities in your software. Upon detection of vulnerabilities, the infiltration is initiated.

Detect Vulnerability in Software

Being vulnerable to hackers is never a good thing. It could cost you a lot of resources on top of all the data that would be at risk. However, there are a lot of ways to prevent this from happening. 

1. Detecting Bugs

Bugs are malfunctions that hinder the workflow of the software. Rigorous automated and manual testing measures are employed to track bugs in your software. 

Monitor, reporting, and patching measures are practiced to detect and neutralize bugs. 

Typically, most bugs that occur during coding are patched throughout the development process. But, when the product is released and it’s exposed to a lot more scenarios, major bugs and vulnerabilities can surface. 

Lately, continuous testing is used to conduct tests in every stage of the process to minimize the complication of feedback cycles. 

To detect software bugs, apart from automated testing, regression testing, and acceptance testing, several more methods are applied.

2. Quick Attack

When the testers don’t have a particular set of requirements–when they don’t know what to test for, quick attack testing practices are employed. 

The quick testing method refers to entering random inputs that can cause the program to “panic”. Like leaving required fields blank, putting text in a number-only field, and using disallowed characters. 

3. Real Device Testing

Testing on simulators may or may not report all the bugs. The simulators are only connected to a particular system. But a corrupt registry, an outdated browser, or a broken memory segment can present bugs that weren’t prevalent before. 

4. Bug Clusters

Pareto Principle, although related to economics, figuratively says that most of the bugs can be found in 20% of the code. In easy words, the bugs that are present in software can be found in clusters. Determine the problem areas of your software and consider starting from there.

5. Detecting Exposure to Sensitive Data

Your software can be subjected to data breaches and data leakage. A data breach is the forceful stealing of sensitive data by attackers. On the other hand, data leaking is the accidental exposure of sensitive data. 

Although being different in nature, both of these are the result of similar vulnerabilities in your software. 

Major data breaches are initiated through phishing and social engineering attacks and are carried out by exfiltration, ransomware, and supply chain attacks. These can be easily prevented by OT Security Services by Industrial Defender. They can ensure that your data isn’t vulnerable to unauthorized access and breach. 

6. Scanning the Resources

Data sources are the most consistent method to detect data exposures. 

Dark and deep paste sites like DeepPaste and PasteFS utilize the TOR network to share blocks of plain texts. These blocks contain stolen user information like name, address, social security numbers, and family history. If you notice your data is being publicized, it’s time to vet the networks for breaches. 

Dark web marketplaces offer users anonymity to post breached data and earn through them. They generally offer a sneak peek of the data available and the buyers can acquire the data without revealing their identity. The marketplaces generally state where the data is from and can be a great source for you to address your data breach issue. 

While searching these websites is valuable to detect data sources, the websites, not being indexed, can pose significant challenges. The other hurdle that you may encounter while screening the sources is that the TOR networks are quite slow. It can prove to be challenging to navigate and potentially can inject malware into your system if you aren’t being careful.

7. Detecting Flaws in Injection

Injection flaws occur when an attacker can enter a piece of code as a string to make the software do what it isn’t supposed to do. Like exposing admin-level data to users. Older software and web applications are particularly vulnerable to such attacks and can cause massive data breaches or system breakdowns. 

Penetration testing or pen testing is the best method to employ to detect injection flaws. There are several readymade tools available in the market that help you achieve that. But obviously, you can develop your own pen testing tool to analyze your URLs and software. Pentesting tools actively try to exploit the known vulnerabilities. 

By testing the databases that are present in older systems, you can patch them to prevent nefarious attacks. 

8. Detecting Buffer Overflow

When programming software with low-level languages like assembly or C, there is no warning about the memory leakage that occurs during compilation. 

Buffer is the allocated memory segment that’s used for processing the program. And buffer overflow is the leakage that we discussed. Buffer overflow can eat up a lot of resources and break down the system if not addressed proactively. 

The primary method to address buffer overflow is looking at the source code and understanding where buffer manipulation is possible. Experienced programmers can read and patch the vulnerable functions susceptible to a buffer overflow that accepts out-of-bound inputs. 

9. Detecting Broken Access Control

Access control is carefully determined policies that prevent users or hackers from gaining unauthorized access. The access control models like vertical, horizontal, and context-dependent access controls help you restrict users from accessing irrelevant data. 

Broken access control, as the name suggests, is a flaw in the implementation of models that enables the users to access data that shouldn’t be accessible to them. 

The best practice to detect broken access control is authorization analyzer tools or auth-analyzers. They allow you to enter your access control policies to detect which one is vulnerable. With more detailed tools, you can also screen each model differently for vulnerabilities. 

The Bottom Line

Software vulnerabilities can disintegrate the entire business operations. The major vulnerabilities that can be subjected to malicious attacks are bugs, exposure to sensitive data, and injection flaws. Apart from that, buffer overflow and broken access control can also hamper day-to-day operations. 

Long before you can start fixing the vulnerabilities, you need to detect them first. Hence, the use of the right tools is important.


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