Automated Application Security Testing

Rate this content
Bookmark

Traditional security testing for JS apps has focused on the front-end, but actual security issues most often lie in the backing REST API. Join StackHawk co-founder Scott Gerlach for a quick overview of why you need to rethink how you test your JS apps and how StackHawk can help you find and fix security bugs fast.

9 min
16 Jun, 2022

Comments

Sign in or register to post your comment.

AI Generated Video Summary

StackHawk is a dynamic application security testing tool that runs active security tests on various types of applications, providing simple descriptions and examples of security issues. It integrates with CI processes and provides feedback on scan findings. The StackHawk YAML is used to configure the scanner, including important information about the application and additional configuration options. OpenAPI and GraphQL integration is possible with minimal configuration.

1. Introduction to StackHawk

Short description:

StackHawk is a dynamic application security testing tool that helps you find and fix security issues in your running HTTP applications and API endpoints. It runs active security tests on various types of applications, including REST API, GraphQL API, SOAP API, server-side applications, and single-page applications. StackHawk is designed for automation and CICD, making it an essential part of your testing strategy. It provides simple descriptions and examples of security issues, allowing you to quickly understand and fix them. Integration with CI processes and feedback on scan findings are also supported.

What's going on JS Nation? I'm Scott Gerlach, co-founder and chief security officer at StackHawk. I hope you're really enjoying JS Nation and making the most out of it.

Let's talk about StackHawk. Quickly, StackHawk is a dynamic application security testing tool. You can use it to test your running HTTP applications and API endpoints for security bugs, and keep them from becoming vulnerable. You can use StackHawk to run active security tests on your running REST API, GraphQL API, SOAP API, server-side application, and single-page applications. StackHawk was built for automation and CICD, to be part of your robust testing strategy for your application development lifecycle. It also makes finding, understanding, and fixing security bugs easy.

How does StackHawk work, you ask? Great question. StackHawk runs active security tests against your running applications, to ensure that your application is handling user input and output in a safe manner, as well as implementing OWASP top 10 best practices for application security. We can do this against your running application on your local host, in CICD workflows, and against applications that have yet to be published on the Internet. We also made dynamic testing fast. By placing the scanner as close to the application as possible and by using open standards to inform the scanner, OpenAPI spec, GraphQL, introspection queries, SOAP, WSDL, in addition to the scanner tuning we've made, most StackHawk customer applications scan average around or under ten minutes.

Finding and fixing security issues is simple with StackHawk. Our focus as a company is to help developers find and most importantly fix security issues. The StackHawk scanner and platform are built around this simplicity model. The scanner is configured via YAML that lives with the code for the application that you're testing. When StackHawk findings are triaged, the platform is trying to give you the simplest version of information needed to help you quickly understand what the problem is with simple descriptions and examples of patterns to help you identify the anti-pattern, be able to recreate the issue with tools like simple curl command to replay the attack, and get you into debug mode, stepping through code as fast as possible to help you fix issues and get back to your regular job of creating value for your customers. All of this is CICD enabled. Again, you can integrate this into your CI process and importantly get feedback into the CI process on scan findings. This information can be used to break a build if you choose. Based on severity of untriached findings, most of the major CI player logos are shown here on this slide, and even if your particular one isn't, chances are pretty good Stackhawk will work in your platform as long as it can run a docker container. You can run Docker, you can run Stackhawk. You can also see here, Stackhawk integrates with your workflow and information tools. We can notify you of your scan results in a Slack channel, publish that information to Datadog, or send you a simple webhook message that you can then use to process and do with the data what you choose.

Let's take a look at what running the Stackhawk scanner looks like. As you can see here, I've got a standard server side application. This one is a Pulse app that I want to test for security issues. So over here on my command line, I've got a simple Docker command that I ran. So Docker run Stackhawk.

2. Analyzing Scan Findings and Examining Issues

Short description:

I fed it the Stackhawk YAML. It did a standard crawl and actively attacked the application for potential security issues. We have a summary of the findings, including a new SQL ejection issue and a previously addressed cross-site scripting issue. There are other issues to look at as well. We can access the scan results through a link provided. The SQL injection issue is described along with the risks it poses and links to prevent it in different language frameworks. We can examine the specific issue, view the request and response, and even replay the attack using the scanner's validate button.

I fed it the Stackhawk YAML. We'll look at that in a second. As you can see, it did a standard crawl looking for all the interesting things on the web page that it could, and then it did an attack. So it actively attacked this application for potential security issues. When it was all done, we've got a summary of these findings.

So I've actually got a SQL ejection issue that I need to take care of. You can see that it's new. I also have a cross-site scripting issue that I've done something with before. I actually made a ticket out of this, so now it's in a signed status. We've got a bunch of other things that we can look at as well, but let's take a look at those too.

Down here at the bottom we actually have a link to this scan, so we can actually take this link and paste it into a browser. By the way, output in a CI-CD system would look very much like this, because this is the standard output. So if you did choose to break a build, you would have this same link in CI-CD output. So we can go over here to our web browser and jump right into the scan that we were looking at. We were just looking at this exact same scan. We've got this SQL injection issue that we can look at quickly.

You can see that we've got a SQL injection issue. We're quickly describing what SQL injection is, how to remediate it, what it's about, and what risks it might pose to an application. We also have links to different language frameworks that show you the pattern of how to prevent SQL injection in Spring, Laravel, Django, and Rails, so that you can help identify the anti-pattern that we're looking for. Let's take a look at this particular issue here. We can see that on the polls SQL path, we have a post method that has some kind of an issue. Over on our right-hand panel, we've got a request and response of what the scanner actually did and then came back with. We can see that the scanner made a request here against the application, and it responded in some form or fashion. We can actually see that the scanner made a case when injection here. We can replay this if we wanted to. This is all helping you understand what the scanner is trying to do and what issue it thinks it's found. Interestingly, we've got this really cool validate button up here. As I mentioned before, this validate button gives you a curl command of exactly what the scanner did to identify this particular issue. You can copy and replay this attack against an application. Let's take a look at that StackHawk YAML.

3. Configuring StackHawk Scanner with YAML

Short description:

The StackHawk YAML is used to configure the StackHawk scanner. It contains important information such as the application's location, environment, and ID. Additional configuration options include authentication, handling of cookies and CSRF tokens, and specifying what not to scan. OpenAPI and GraphQL integration is possible with minimal configuration.

Here you can see the code that I've used to build my polls application. Inside of this repository, I've also stored the StackHawk YAML. The StackHawk YAML is how you configure the StackHawk scanner. You can see the important information that's in here is where do I find the application I need to test. In this case, it's running on my local machine, so localhost 8020. What environment am I in? What is the application ID? That is the minimal amount of information you need to run a StackHawk scan against your application. There are other pieces of information that help tune the scanner to your application, such as authentication, how to handle cookies and CSRF tokens, as well as things you don't want the scanner to scan. If you wanted to add OpenAPI spec or GraphQL, minimal additional configuration is needed to make that happen, to point the scanner at those industry standard definitions of REST API and GraphQL.

Check out more articles and videos

We constantly think of articles and videos that might spark Git people interest / skill us up or help building a stellar career

Node Congress 2022Node Congress 2022
26 min
It's a Jungle Out There: What's Really Going on Inside Your Node_Modules Folder
Do you know what’s really going on in your node_modules folder? Software supply chain attacks have exploded over the past 12 months and they’re only accelerating in 2022 and beyond. We’ll dive into examples of recent supply chain attacks and what concrete steps you can take to protect your team from this emerging threat.
You can check the slides for Feross' talk here.
JSNation 2023JSNation 2023
30 min
The State of Passwordless Auth on the Web
Can we get rid of passwords yet? They make for a poor user experience and users are notoriously bad with them. The advent of WebAuthn has brought a passwordless world closer, but where do we really stand?
In this talk we'll explore the current user experience of WebAuthn and the requirements a user has to fulfill for them to authenticate without a password. We'll also explore the fallbacks and safeguards we can use to make the password experience better and more secure. By the end of the session you'll have a vision for how authentication could look in the future and a blueprint for how to build the best auth experience today.
React Advanced Conference 2021React Advanced Conference 2021
22 min
Let Me Show You How React Applications Get Hacked in the Real-World
Modern frontend frameworks like React are well thought-of in their application security design and that’s great. However, there is still plenty of room for developers to make mistakes and use insecure APIs, vulnerable components, or generally do the wrong thing that turns user input into a Cross-site Scripting vulnerability (XSS). Let me show you how React applications get hacked in the real-world.
JSNation 2023JSNation 2023
22 min
5 Ways You Could Have Hacked Node.js
All languages are or were vulnerable to some kind of threat. I’m part of the Node.js Security team and during the year 2022, we've performed many Security Releases and some of them were really hard to think about.
Did you know you can make money by finding critical vulnerabilities in Node.js? In this talk, I’ll show you 5 ways you can have hacked Node.js and how the Node.js team deals with vulnerabilities.
JSNation Live 2021JSNation Live 2021
9 min
Securing Node.js APIs with Decentralised Identity Tokens
Authentication and Authorization are serious problems. We often dedicate a lot of time to craft powerful APIs but overlook proper security measures. Let's solve it with Magic using a key-based identity solution built on top of DID standard, where users’ identities are self-sovereign leveraging blockchain public-private key pairs. In this talk, we’ll look at proper ways to secure our Node.js APIs with Decentralised Identity Tokens. We’ll go from learning what Decentralised Identity standards are, how the users’ identities are self-sovereign leveraging blockchain public-private key pairs, why they’re the future of API security, and to put theory into practice we will build a real-world implementation using Node.js where I’ll show common best practices.

Workshops on related topic

TestJS Summit 2023TestJS Summit 2023
48 min
API Testing with Postman Workshop
WorkshopFree
In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, ensuring the reliability and functionality of APIs has become paramount. "API Testing with Postman" is a comprehensive workshop designed to equip participants with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in API testing using Postman, a powerful tool widely adopted by professionals in the field. This workshop delves into the fundamentals of API testing, progresses to advanced testing techniques, and explores automation, performance testing, and multi-protocol support, providing attendees with a holistic understanding of API testing with Postman.
1. Welcome to Postman- Explaining the Postman User Interface (UI)2. Workspace and Collections Collaboration- Understanding Workspaces and their role in collaboration- Exploring the concept of Collections for organizing and executing API requests3. Introduction to API Testing- Covering the basics of API testing and its significance4. Variable Management- Managing environment, global, and collection variables- Utilizing scripting snippets for dynamic data5. Building Testing Workflows- Creating effective testing workflows for comprehensive testing- Utilizing the Collection Runner for test execution- Introduction to Postbot for automated testing6. Advanced Testing- Contract Testing for ensuring API contracts- Using Mock Servers for effective testing- Maximizing productivity with Collection/Workspace templates- Integration Testing and Regression Testing strategies7. Automation with Postman- Leveraging the Postman CLI for automation- Scheduled Runs for regular testing- Integrating Postman into CI/CD pipelines8. Performance Testing- Demonstrating performance testing capabilities (showing the desktop client)- Synchronizing tests with VS Code for streamlined development9. Exploring Advanced Features - Working with Multiple Protocols: GraphQL, gRPC, and more
Join us for this workshop to unlock the full potential of Postman for API testing, streamline your testing processes, and enhance the quality and reliability of your software. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced tester, this workshop will equip you with the skills needed to excel in API testing with Postman.
React Summit 2023React Summit 2023
56 min
0 to Auth in an hour with ReactJS
WorkshopFree
Passwordless authentication may seem complex, but it is simple to add it to any app using the right tool. There are multiple alternatives that are much better than passwords to identify and authenticate your users - including SSO, SAML, OAuth, Magic Links, One-Time Passwords, and Authenticator Apps.
While addressing security aspects and avoiding common pitfalls, we will enhance a full-stack JS application (Node.js backend + React frontend) to authenticate users with OAuth (social login) and One Time Passwords (email), including:- User authentication - Managing user interactions, returning session / refresh JWTs- Session management and validation - Storing the session securely for subsequent client requests, validating / refreshing sessions- Basic Authorization - extracting and validating claims from the session token JWT and handling authorization in backend flows
At the end of the workshop, we will also touch other approaches of authentication implementation with Descope - using frontend or backend SDKs.
TestJS Summit 2023TestJS Summit 2023
89 min
Building out a meaningful test suite that's not all E2E
Workshop
We're all taught to follow the Testing Pyramid but the reality is that we build out the Testing Christmas Tree. In this workshop, David will talk you through how to break down projects and put the tests where they need to be. By the end of the workshop you will be able to update your projects so that anyone and everyone can start contributing and truly living up to "Quality is everyone job".
He will walk you through:- Component Testing- API Testing- Visual Regression Testing- A11Y testing
He will also talk you through how to get these all setup in your CI/CD pipeline so that you can get shorter and faster feedback loops.
JSNation 2022JSNation 2022
99 min
Finding, Hacking and fixing your NodeJS Vulnerabilities with Snyk
WorkshopFree
npm and security, how much do you know about your dependencies?Hack-along, live hacking of a vulnerable Node app https://github.com/snyk-labs/nodejs-goof, Vulnerabilities from both Open source and written code. Encouraged to download the application and hack along with us.Fixing the issues and an introduction to Snyk with a demo.Open questions.
DevOps.js Conf 2022DevOps.js Conf 2022
76 min
Bring Code Quality and Security to your CI/CD pipeline
WorkshopFree
In this workshop we will go through all the aspects and stages when integrating your project into Code Quality and Security Ecosystem. We will take a simple web-application as a starting point and create a CI pipeline triggering code quality monitoring for it. We will do a full development cycle starting from coding in the IDE and opening a Pull Request and I will show you how you can control the quality at those stages. At the end of the workshop you will be ready to enable such integration for your own projects.
Node Congress 2021Node Congress 2021
71 min
Securing Node Applications with Automated Security Testing in CI/CD
Workshop
We’ve all heard the buzz around pushing application security into the hands of developers, but if you’re like most companies, it has been hard to actually make this a reality. You aren’t alone - putting the culture, processes, and tooling in place to make this happen is tough - especially for sophisticated applications. Join Scott Gerlach (CSO, StackHawk) and Liran Tal (Developer Advocate, Snyk) as they dive into how you can add AppSec testing to your CI/CD pipeline to ship secure code faster.
Prerequisites:Docker is a nice to have