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OpenTAP and Security Testing I - The Role of Test Automation


Cybersecurity sits at top of mind for IT professionals and these days, even for device manufacturers.  Cybersecurity testing includes a range of assessments and evaluations that focus on various aspects of security posture. These tests help identify vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and potential threats in systems, networks, and applications.

This first blog in a series calls out the various types of cybersecurity testing and how and if OpenTAP can facilitate and control each.

The Role of OpenTAP

OpenTAP is not itself a cybersecurity tool per se but can orchestrate the application of other tools and manage reporting. For different types of security testing, OpenTAP brings different value propositions:

Vulnerability Assessment

  • Purpose: Discovering vulnerabilities and when possible, remediating vulnerable configurations

  • Methodology: OpenTAP initiates review of SBOMs and dependencies against databases of known vulnerabilities

  • Output: Reports highlighting presence of known vulnerabilities, with suggestions of alternate module versions, alternate modules and controls

Penetration Testing

  • Purpose: Simulates real-world attacks to identify vulnerabilities and assess the security of systems and networks.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP runs hacking scripts that attempt to exploit vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access, providing insights into potential risks.

  • Output: Detailed reports on vulnerabilities, their severity, and recommendations.

Web Application Testing

  • Purpose: Evaluates the security of web applications to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited via the web.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP runs application-targeted tests such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other application-specific vulnerabilities.

  • Output: Reports on vulnerabilities and potential attack vectors.

Network Security Assurance

  • Purpose: Assesses the security of an organization's network infrastructure.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP orchestrates scans of network devices (routers, switches, firewalls) and configurations for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.

  • Output: Identifies vulnerabilities and provides network security recommendations.

Wireless Network Security Testing

  • Purpose: Evaluates the security of wireless networks and access points.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP initiates scans for unauthorized or misconfigured Wi-Fi networks, weak encryption, and potential vulnerabilities.

  • Output: Reports on wireless network vulnerabilities and recommendations for improvements.

Social Engineering Testing

  • Purpose: Assesses the susceptibility of staff to social engineering attacks.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP runs scripts and test software to simulate phishing, pretexting, or other manipulation techniques to test human responses.

  • Output: Highlights areas where employee awareness and training are needed.

Security Code Review

  • Purpose: Analyzes the source code of software applications to identify vulnerabilities.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP runs tools to examine of code for security flaws, such as SQL injection, buffer overflows, and insecure coding practices.

  • Output: Reports on code vulnerabilities and recommended code improvements.

Configuration Testing

  • Purpose: Evaluates the security configurations of systems, applications, and devices.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP runs scripts and kicks off tools to review configuration settings to ensure they align with security best practices.

  • Output: Identifies configuration weaknesses and provides recommendations for secure settings.

IoT Security Testing

  • Purpose: Focuses on assessing the security of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and ecosystems.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP runs tests for vulnerabilities in IoT devices, firmware, communication protocols, and cloud services.

  • Output: Reports on IoT-specific vulnerabilities and recommendations.

Cloud Security Assessment

  • Purpose: Assesses the security of cloud environments and services.

  • Methodology: OpenTAP examines cloud configurations, permissions, and access controls for vulnerabilities.

  • Output: Identifies cloud-specific risks and recommends improvements.

Next Time - Deep Dive

In the next blog in this series, we will explore how OpenTAP-based test automation facilitates the various types of security testing called out in this blog, with specific emphasis on real-world tools and methods.