Business & Services

How To Perform Manual Software Security Testing?

5-Steps To Perform Manual Software Security Testing

Over the last few years, the threat of security breaches and cyberattacks has risen dramatically to threaten the security of businesses and enterprises around the world.  Business leaders have also shown concerns over the growing risks of cybersecurity. That is why we can no longer overlook the need for software security testing.

Some companies only rely on a handful of test automation tools and processes while others utilize both manual security as well as automation security testing. There are several ways to conduct software security testing manually.

Why Perform Manual Software Security Testing?

Even if automation technology has evolved, there are still many aspects that need human involvement to determine the potential security vulnerabilities in software, mobile, and web applications. Manual testing engineers use a combination of security testing tools to evaluate the product. They also use automated scanning tools and customized scripts to run software through a series of test cases.

The main aim of manual testing here is to uncover potential vulnerabilities and weaknesses in the product that automated security testing was not able to decipher.

Ways To Conduct Security Testing Manually

There are different manual security testing techniques that quality assurance engineers use to assess the security parameters of applications. Following are some of the efficient ways on how to perform manual software security testing:

  • Session Management

When conducting manual security testing, you need to run session management tests to check whether the application can handle sessions properly or not. Consider  the following parameters when running session management tests:

  • Session expiration when a particular idle time passes
  • Termination of a session after a maximum lifetime usage?
  • Session termination after login and log out
  • Duration of session
  • Session cookie scope
  • Static Code Analysis

It is one of the popular manual security testing methods performed as a part of white-box testing. Static code analysis is also known as code review, which highlights vulnerabilities within the non-running code. The technique uses taint analysis and data flow analysis to identify the problems within a software system. Manual testing engineers use static analysis tools to examine the documentation, source code, and executable files to determine bugs without running the code.

  • Access Control Management

Access control management is a critical aspect as it protects the web application from cyberattacks or insider threats. It is categorized into two parts:

  • Authorization
  • Authentication

The testing engineer creates several user accounts with different roles to manually test access control. Then he/she tries to access the application by using these accounts to verify that each user has access to their role, accounts, modules, forms, and menus. In case the QA engineers successfully log in through a disabled account, then they have to document it as an application security issue. Similarly, users with lower access or restricted privileges should not have access to sensitive data.

  • Penetration Testing

Penetration testing or dynamic analysis uses controlled cyberattacks to target the running application for identifying security bugs that attackers may exploit. This technique consists of the following steps:

  • Data collection: Collecting data such as software configurations, table names, third-party plugins details, and databases.
  • Assessing vulnerabilities: Determining security risks within the application that can put your product at risk of cyberattacks.
  • Run simulated attacks: Manually launch controlled attacks on the software or web application to analyze hidden vulnerabilities and find ways to prevent them.
  • Documentation: After identifying all the security issues, the testing team should outline all the discoveries in a proper report.
  • Managing Passwords

Password management is one of the important security testing techniques that discover passwords and access user accounts. It detects whether the application enforces stringent password policies like passphrases, use of numeric letters, special characters, or not. Passwords that are not in an encrypted format are easy to break through, allowing attackers to steal data from the database by using SQL injection.


Although automation testing has plenty of benefits, it is not enough to ensure that your product is completely secure. Manual security testing services are necessary to detect potential weaknesses that attackers can exploit to their advantage. To know why manual software security testing techniques are best for your business, contact QASource now.

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