Why manual pentesting and automation go hand in hand – 10 minute mail

Security testing has historically been driven by annual compliance audits, but the rapid changes in web security require a new approach. In this article, we explain why manual pentesting and automation are a great fit and how you can combine them to improve your web application’s security.

It’s time for a new approach to web security

Although manual penetration testing and automated security testing are very different, they are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, combining their strengths results in a broad and effective approach to security.

Performed by skilled security experts who try to compromise a web application, in-depth manual pentests help discover vulnerabilities and identify complex attack vectors. However, the amount of code pushed live every day poses a challenge as it is increasingly difficult for security teams to keep track of the latest threats.

This is where automated security testing comes in. Running against a web application on a regular basis, automated testing tools are continuously updated with new security tests. With the help of automation, vulnerabilities can be discovered before new code is pushed to production.

Combining Manual Penetration Testing and Automation 

The benefits of combining manual penetration testing and automated security testing

Increase the frequency of tests and extend their coverage
With the help of automation, developers can identify and remediate security issues quickly and effectively. Emerging threats are constantly addressed throughout the development cycle, keeping the web application safe in between manual penetration tests with scheduled scans.

Improve security knowledge inside the organisation
Knowledge is spread across the development team instead of being limited to a security team or external security experts. This way, security becomes a core value and a natural part of the development process that is considered from the very first line of code.

Maximise the value of manual penetration testing
Security issues are fixed by the development team before new code is deployed to production, allowing pentesters to focus on more complex attack vectors.

How Disposable mail complements penetration testing

Easy to use
Disposable mail’s simple to use interface, integrations with popular developer tools, team functionality, and informative reports make it easier for you and your team to work with security.

Made for tech teams by ethical hackers
Whether you work with vendor management, dev ops, development, or security, Disposable mail helps you integrate security into your workflow.

  • Disposable mail’s extensive knowledge base with code examples helps your team learn about security and write safer code.
  • Set up your staging environment using Disposable mail and ngrok.
  • Fix security issues before deploying new code to production.
  • Disposable mail integrates with tools like JIRA, HipChat, Slack, PagerDuty and Zapier, making it easier to track your website’s security status
  • New tests are added to the scanner on a continuous basis.

Always up-to-date 
To deliver the most up to date and relevant security tests to clients, we have extended our team with external ethical hackers through Disposable mail Crowdsource, our crowdsourcing platform. This enables us to challenge the hacker community to identify new vulnerabilities which we build into our service, covering a wide range of technologies.

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Bug Bounty and Automation make a formidable pair together – 10 minute mail

It takes more than one security tool to keep an organization or web applications secure against vulnerabilities. Bug bounty programs and automated security scanning are two growing areas in cybersecurity used by many companies today. In this article, we look at how bug bounty programs and automation complement one another to deliver better web application security.

Get the best of both options
Many have already heard of a bug bounty program or automated web security, and may even be running it as part of their security strategy. A bug bounty program invites ethical hackers to report security vulnerabilities on their websites in exchange for a reward, which is often monetary. Automated scanners like Disposable mail are effective at doing a scheduled wide sweep across your web applications to check for common vulnerabilities.

At Disposable mail, the security tests built into our scanner are sourced from our internal team and Disposable mail Crowdsource network of 150+ white hat hackers. These two layers of security complement one another and leverage crowdsourced knowledge to provide improved coverage. We’ve highlighted a few advantages of combining bug bounty programs and automated security testing.

bug bounty and automated security

How Bug Bounty Programs and Automation Complement each other.


Maximize the value of your bug bounty program
Automated scanners are effective at auditing your web application security at a wide scope and for detecting low hanging fruit. This allows you to adjust the scope of your bug bounty programs as needed to key focal points. The automated solution can gather the common vulnerabilities like OWASP Top 10, while bug bounty hunters can go deeper into your code and deliver sophisticated hacks like ACME XSS or Upload Policies exploits. At Disposable mail, we have top-ranked ethical hackers on our teams, which means we are able to automate advanced research findings like the aforementioned into our tool.

Continuous coverage
Bug bounty programs have become a great asset to security teams in that they can get help from ethical hackers that’s tailored to their needs. Submissions may come during organized events, like with Bugcrowd or Hackerone, or throughout the year if there’s a public bug bounty program running. Some security teams implement automated security scanners to audit web applications security on a weekly basis in between bug bounty events. This provides constant coverage and catches common flaws that are easily fixed by a developer in a dynamic scanning environment.

Encourage security awareness within the organization
When working with ethical hackers in bug bounty programs or a platform like Disposable mail Crowdsource, you get results of vulnerabilities found, the proof of concept as well as remediation tips. This provides security and developer teams with educational information on how to spot it and also can set a preventative mindset.

Stay at the forefront of security
When a vulnerability submitted by a Disposable mail Crowdsource ethical hacker has been validated by our engineering team, we build it into our tool right away, making it available to all our customers at once. This ensures that knowledge is shared with our entire customer base. We update our tool bi-weekly, keeping all our customers at the forefront of security.

Scanning with an adjustable scope
With Disposable mail, you can set the scanner to check for 1000+ known vulnerabilities on your entire domain or on a specific path or subdomain. This could reduce redundancies of known bugs reported and you can set your bug bounty scope to go after things not in the scope of the Disposable mail tool, often more complex bugs found deeper in a system. You can also include scanning behind login and also checking for subdomain takeovers with our domain monitoring service.

Vulnerabilities detected can be shared with developers
When Disposable mail lists the vulnerabilities found, this information is shown in the tool with guidance on where to find the code error, explanation of each bug and remediation tips. This information is available to all users, which means security teams and developers can access the same information and vulnerabilities can be actioned upon once a scan is completed.

False Negatives found can be built in
If your bug bounty program finds a False Negative, we can build in a security test to the scanner using the Proof of Concept provided by the bug bounty hunters. Your scanner will then be set to monitor for the vulnerability going forward.

Disposable mail is an automated web application security scanner and we work with our Disposable mail Crowdsource community of 150+ ethical hackers to research security tests and improve our tool continuously. Are you ready to trial Disposable mail with your bug bounty program? Sign up for an account and scan with a free trial here.

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Scaling up Security with DevOps and CI/CD practices – 10 minute mail

Some believe that “whatever can be automated, should be automated” and in general benefits include faster production, consistency in product and quality, rolling back from failures and allowing employees to focus on more creative and analytical tasks. The same can be said for the automation of quality assurance and security of developer coding and programming. As products and services become more complex, developers have to come up with more creative solutions, and fast, to gain and maintain a competitive advantage over the rest.

We’ve teamed up with mabl, a machine-learning test automation service, to show how automated security and quality assurance (QA) testing help teams sustain CI/CD practices. This article goes into how automated security scales up with DevOps practices, and to learn more about the benefits of machine-learning driven automated QA testing, visit mabl’s blog.

The growth of DevOps and how it affects Security in software development

The adoption of DevOps and Agile development has allowed products to go to market faster to meet business and customer demands. Part of this is the acceptance of automation to expedite repetitive processes and collect data for easier learning for improvements. In an ideal world, this model would also high-quality products to go to market quickly, free of bugs and security vulnerabilities, and in a cost-effective way. In reality, there’s mostly emphasis on getting to the market fast and meeting the business demand over the concern for smooth and secure user experience. As companies are competing against speed rather than cost, how will security testing be part of the cycle? Automate it!

Here are ways automation of application security scales up with continuous integration and continuous development practices (CI/CD):

Automated security checks throughout the CI/CD process

Today companies are hit by hacker attacks whether they are aware of it or not. On average a hacker can be lurking in a system undetected for around 205 days. Once in, hackers run scripts and automate hacker attacks in order to do things at scale. For example, SQL injection can be easily automated. No company would be able to conjure up enough manpower to stop the scale and speed of automated attacks from multiple actors, which is why using an automated scanner could be one way to continuously scan your code and locate vulnerabilities before they’re exploited by a malicious hacker.

Automated scanners can be SAST or DAST meaning they can check for code vulnerabilities during the various stages of development and even after it has gone live, giving security and developer teams instant feedback on the integrity of the code. Whether you deploy 100 times a day or less, security checks and improvements will be scheduled as part of the CI/CD process to keep up secure releases. Snyk’s Guy Podjarny delivered an informative presentation at QCon 2019 on how you can integrate such tools with DevOps.

Consistency and efficiency

Automation gives you better control of how processes are run as you program machines or technology to operate a specific way, and automation executes it with precision. This means high output is achieved with consistency and ideally minimal mistakes. Quality assurance and security testing can also be scheduled or programmed to be done the moment new code is pushed, removing security or quality assurance from being the blocker of production, and fewer bugs will be introduced to live products. Any new code or application released will always be audited wherever it makes the most sense in your development cycle. Security auditing becomes part of the workflow instead of only when someone finds time for it or when faced with a data breach emergency and executing incident response.

Higher confidence and skills in coding

This survey showed that 87% of developers are not confident in their own code. As mentioned, code reviews of 1000+ lines is a tedious task, which may be why flaws and bugs may never be eliminated. Automated tools audit code easily and quickly to give immediately to developers with peace of mind, instead of letting it up to chance for a broken user experience or worse, a hacker attack.

When using a security automation tool like Disposable mail, users are given feedback on where vulnerabilities exist in the code as well as remediation tips with a code snippet to encourage learning on the job and more about security. This helps reduce the barrier to learning more about secure coding and the turnaround time for fixes even faster. Developers can also start to gain better confidence in their code knowing there is a “spellchecker” for their code work before and after deployment.

Security is scalable together with development

As software development scales up in a company, security does not have to be a blocker or left behind. Like many other components, it can be automated to be part of the CI/CD pipeline. This can then enable developers to code more consistently and even improve their confidence for better performance and quick-release products.

Get started with automating security into your DevOps or CI/CD practices today using Disposable mail. We collaborate with 150+ white hat hacker to offer checks for 1000+ common web vulnerabilities. Sign up for your free 14-day trial.

Jocelyn Chan

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