Fuzz testing is not a term that you often hear nowadays, but many experts consider it an essential technique nonetheless. Unlike other tests, the process of fuzzing a program is quite unique.
For instance, when using other techniques, you usually hope that the software works properly. However, in the case of fuzz testing, your goal is to break the program, so if a program is meant to receive inputs such as numbers, a fuzz tester will go ahead and enter letters. Basically, you're entering invalid inputs to see if there's a reaction.
What's surprising is that this technique seems to be more useful than most, but there’s one problem—fuzz test setups are complex, especially if you don't know how it works, but that’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re having second thoughts in optimizing your computer with fuzz tests, there a guide that'll help. Below are six reasons why you should use fuzz test to check your computer:
1. Fuzz Tests Come in Different Forms
The beauty of fuzz tests is that there are different ways to do it, such as:
- Guided Fuzzing
- Random Fuzzing
- Template Fuzzing
You can learn more about these terms by reading this resource. Either way, since you have more options to choose from, you have a higher chance to locate insecurities within your program.
For example, if guided fuzzing didn't result in any errors, perhaps template fuzzing will show you some results. Similarly, each type has different levels of difficulty, so if setting up fuzz tests template is too difficult at the moment, you can stick to its simplest form—random fuzzing.
Nevertheless, having more options is definitely a huge plus. Besides, fuzz tests are known to be quite sensitive in detecting errors, so it's not likely to get zero results every single time.
2. Fuzz Tests Distinguishes Crashes and Other Errors
One of the problems with other software testing techniques is that they’ll only warn you if the software crashes. When you think about it at first, it's not a very serious problem, but it is. First of all, crashing isn't the only sign of an error. There are also cases where the program breaks without crashing, so what happens if the testing tool can't detect errors aside from crashes?
Chances are, you won't have any idea what you're doing wrong. Luckily, fuzz tests can detect errors that don't necessarily crash the program. Thus, hackers can’t attack you simply because there’s a vulnerability, you’re not aware of.
Speaking of hackers, they usually use fuzz tests to break into programs, which is another reason to learn about fuzz tests. After all, knowing the enemy is always a good idea.
3. Attackers Use Fuzz Tests to Locate Insecurities
Surprisingly enough, fuzz testing is similar to roleplaying as a hacker. You're basically trying to find any insecurity that you can exploit on your own program.
With that said, if you were to find insecurity, who’s to say that your attacker won’t find it as well? In short, any vulnerability you’ll find through a fuzz test is bound to be found by your attackers. Your goal is to find them before anyone else.
Now you might be thinking, "Isn't that what most software testing techniques do—to find insecurities?" Although you're not wrong, there's actually a huge difference.
4. Fuzz Tests Can Do What Other Tools Can't
As usual, different kinds of tests will have different results. In the case of software testing techniques, other techniques will look at several types of errors. For example, tests such as static application security testing (SAST) will scan your computer for known mistakes. Meanwhile, dynamic application security testing (DAST) will detect any bugs when you run an application.
Simply put, each of them has its own databases of vulnerabilities. The problem with these two is that they can only detect recognizable vulnerabilities, such as cross-site scripting or SQL injection, but what happens if the vulnerability is completely unknown and can’t be found within their database?
In such an event, you won't be able to detect such vulnerabilities, which can lead to a disaster, but that's not the case for fuzz testing. After all, fuzz testing takes into account both known and unknown insecurities, and this applies to all types of fuzz tests, even those that were automated.
5. You Can Automate Fuzz Testing
Yes, you can automate part of the fuzz testing process. This is the main reason why many experts consider fuzz testing as a low-effort test. Take note that you can't automate the whole process. There are only a couple of parts you can automate, and some parts you can’t.
For example, you can automate a fuzz test so it notifies you whenever it returns an error, but you have to fix that error manually.
Because of this, many developers run fuzz tests throughout the whole development process. They usually keep it on in case they make a mistake while coding. That way, they can fix errors immediately after receiving the notification from the fuzzing tools.
6. Fuzzing Tools Are Mostly Free
By now, you should be well aware how powerful fuzz testing is, so you might be wondering, where can you find fuzzing tools to help you do the job?
The good news is, aside from the selected few, most fuzzing tools are free, each with its own different features. Fuzz testing isn't only easier than other tests, it's also a lot cheaper. Here's a list of some of the best fuzzing tools on the market:
- American Fuzz Lop
Of course, you can opt for premium fuzzing tools if you want to, especially if you're dealing with a large project, but even premium tools are much more affordable than tools from other tests.
Testing is a crucial part of developing a program. However, that doesn't mean there's no need for buyers to conduct their own tests. In fact, experts suggest that buyers also test the programs that they intend to buy. After all, if there's invulnerability, they’ll be the ones losing out the most. Considering the simplicity of fuzz tests, it seems to be the perfect test for buyers.