IoT testing: How heavy emphasis on security can save your brand millions?
Alex Seryj, QArea
The Internet of Things interconnects various devices and they all can store data. Any data residence is a potential threat to security and we have to address these issues carefully not giving a chance to cyber-attackers. With so many various devices in the internet of things, we have to be more versatile in terms of choosing the right protection measures, writes Alex Seryj, the editor in chief of QArea.
Albeit, with so many sophisticated methods of protection developed specifically for various mobile applications working with devices in the internet of things, a good software testing company may play even a more important role than protection measures themselves. How can extensive security testing save you money?
#1 Assure proper data storage.
One of the most upsetting news about mobile application security came from Starbucks. The company admitted that it stored users’ logins and passwords in plain text. Anyone who had access to a smartphone with a Starbucks application on it could easily acquire passwords and logins to use them freely. This issue caused a lot of ranting within various communities.
Obviously, Starbucks wanted to make life easier for their clients. With their application users never had to re-input their personal data in order to get a coffee at Starbucks.
This sloppy data storing solution could allow a hacker to obtain not only personal data, but also some information on geolocation points visited by users. Such data can be stored on a multitude of devices and we have to create efficient ways to protect this information. Quality Assurance services should focus more on pinpointing obvious security flaws like storing passwords directly on a device insecurely. There are ways to protect such data:
- iOS keychain encryption.
- Encrypted data storages on Android are good places to store passwords and usernames.
If your clients will lose money and their other accounts due to holes in your security, you will lose millions!
#2 Protect your server.
Many businesses have servers that are not protected properly from external access. Some of them were well protected before incorporating mobile applications as access points from outside. There are multiple ways of accessing data on your servers and they are all related to a mobile application, but not necessarily their parts. Think of various third-party software and APIs that work together with an application.
their parts. Think of various third-party software and APIs that work together with an application!
When it comes to IoT, many devices might use your servers to exchange information. This will create multiple holes in your cyber defenses which is a threatening thing considering how many business processes rely on your servers’ stability. To top it all off, some data is now facing a constant threat to be stolen.
You should find software testing services that will heavily focus on testing your back-end and ensure that every single API that interacts with it has proper verification. There should be only personnel access. Extensively testing other back-end related security issues is welcome.
#3 Assure that cryptography works correctly.
Old cryptography algorithms are heavily outdated and you need to make sure that your protection measures are state-of-the-art. At the same time, incorporating innovative and untested cryptographic methods can be devastating to your business. Good developers know what security protocols and encryption methods are the best and trending in security communities. There are various ways of secure hashing and encryption.
Testers must be aware of modern trends in security and provide necessary feedback on encryption keys usage. Often, developers incorporate their own keys and certificates, which leads to appearance of additional weak spots in their security measures. You should put huge emphasis on excessive testing of your cryptography.
#4 Test overall security measures.
Many modern mobile application developers simply assume that smartphones and tablets are more secure than PCs and laptops. Many believe that our other devices like TVs and smart fridges are impenetrable. This often causes sloppy approach to security and leaves incalculable potential threats that need to be addressed.
There are multiple ways to breach cyber defenses by using XSS (cross-site scripting), request forgery, insecure connections and storage. These are still threats for the internet of things. With the emergence of numerous mobile applications, we have to pay more attention to specific cyber-attacks like SQL-injections.
Proper testing helps in avoiding glaring issues in security and pinpoints crucial weak spots. With better fundamental security measures, you will have easier times updating your application and incorporating additional functionality without compromising its defenses. This will surely save you a couple of bucks.
#5 Conceptually right ways to approach security.
QA services follow the same principles as good developers. There are some fundamental aspects of security that we have to incorporate in our systems. Knowing how many devices are out there in the internet of things, we have to double-check ourselves whenever we build an application.
- Confidentiality means that we allow only certain people to use data. This means that people who were never intended to use particular data, should never be able to access it.
- Integrity. Only authorized people should be able to change the data and only in a way they are supposed to do it.
- Availability. In spite of heavy security measures, an application and services it works with should be accessible at any time.
- Authentication means that only specific users can access the data. People who were not identified as such users should never be granted an access.
- Authorisation means that users can be either allowed to use an application and its resources or denied to do so.
- Nonrepudiation. A user cannot make an action and then deny that he did it.
These are the core principles of building a successful and strong cyber defense. A good software testing company follows these guidelines as well, assuring that the application they test incorporates those principles.
Conclusively, various security threats can break your bottom line. Consider extensive application testing an insurance against cyber-attacks that can cost you millions. Be generous when it comes to searching for a good QA service. Whenever you leave a small hole in your cyber-defense, a sneaky hacker appears that wants to benefit from your security flaws. Maybe, you should avoid meeting such guys?