Thanks to some very high-profile cyber-attacks in recent times, web application security has come under serious scrutiny. All the software companies in the world, no matter how big or small, are looking out for ways to improve their application testing process and hopefully being able to detect and fix any security loopholes.
Research has shown that threats, whether internal or external, usually tend to attack any flaws in security during the authentication process. This information makes it critical for software companies to make sure that all authentication errors are weeded out when security testing an application.
Authentication Errors Testing Web Applications
Here are the top 3 factors that you should look out for when dealing with authentication security.
Rules for password quality
It may seem like a very simple thing, but the rules set for password quality can go a long way towards protecting users. Many web applications have password quality rules that are just not strong enough. This is done to accommodate users who keep complaining that passwords are hard to remember.
The whole point of having password rules is to make sure that users do not pick passwords that can be easily guessed by hackers. Small changes to password rules can make a big difference.
For example, the password should always be alphanumeric and must contain at least one capital letter or special character.
Protocols for changes in user account
A good web application allows users to make changes to their user account, without much hassle. However, in trying to make things easier for the user, the application may be inadvertently compromising security.
For certain changes in account settings, it is imperative to have the user type in their existing password. If a hacker is able to gain access to a user account that is already logged in, they can easily change the password or e-mail address associated with that account.
In order to prevent such thing from occurring, users should always be prompted to re-enter their password when making critical changes.
Keep an eye out for authentication bypass errors
Although it may seem like a silly mistake, the truth is that authentication bypass is a very common issue. What is the point of having a login page if an attacker can bypass the authentication process and gain access to call up internal pages?
SQL Injection is the most well-known attack used to bypass authentication, but it would be foolish to ignore other threats, like direct page request, session ID prediction and parameter change.
Software companies and application developers do everything in their power to prevent any security lapses in their web applications. Large amounts are spent on advanced web application security testing tools that can scour through the source codes to highlight and repair any errors and flaws.
Thanks to the millions of lines of source code used for even the simplest web applications, manual code review is no longer a viable option.
However, a developer’s skills are still very much required for blackbox security testing of applications. The 3 factors mentioned above are critical to make sure that the authentication process can be deemed secure.