How does it work? Is it something I can leverage? Can I use this approach for my following projects? Is it better than our current testing approach?
These are just a few questions you might be asking at the moment, and we’ll get into that soon as we delve deeper into how fuzz testing is different from traditional testing techniques and how it can lead to benefits. But first, what is fuzz testing?
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What Is Fuzz Testing?
As the name suggests, fuzz testing is a type of testing approach. While it only gained traction recently, the first fuzz testing program dates back to the early 1980s. So, how does it work?
Fuzz testing is where the tester attempts to find security flaws within a program by entering random or semi-random inputs in hopes of breaking the program. For instance, if you’re creating a calculator, you should enter numbers mostly, but that’s not the case with fuzz testing. Since your goal is to break the problem, you can go ahead and enter letters. That’s what makes fuzz testing different—it aims to break the program the best way possible.
That’s pretty much how fuzz testing works. But if that’s not enough to appease your curiosity, then here’s a recommended reading about the technicalities of fuzz testing.
Going back to your questions, you now know how it works, so the question now is—is it something you can leverage? Well, if that’s your main goal, then rest assured. Fuzz testing offers a lot of benefits to all kinds of businesses.
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Benefits of Fuzz Testing
1. Prevent Targeted Attacks
It might not have happened to you yet, but there will come a time when someone pulls off targeted attacks on your business, especially if your company is on the rise.
Before that time comes, it’s your job to ensure that your business is prepared, and what better way to do that than to perform testing now and then on your existing software, such as your customer relationship management (CRM) systems and ticketing platforms and since fuzz testing is among the most straightforward testing techniques, there’s no reason not to use this approach. Besides, it’s one of those testing techniques that you can automate.
Yes, you can automate the whole fuzz testing process, so the only time you go hands-on is when you check for the testing results or when you fix the issues discovered. However, to automate the process, you need a fuzzer, and there are two types of fuzzers:
- Dumb Fuzzer: As the name implies, this type of fuzzer injects indiscriminately. For instance, if the program is a calculator, it will enter just about anything, from letters to special characters. Since the inputs are entirely random, their accuracy is questionable. On the bright side, it’s easy to set up, both moneywise and timewise.
- Smart Fuzzers: Smart fuzzers are an upgraded version of dumb fuzzers. It’s harder to set up, but it’s more accurate. So, for the previous example, instead of entering completely random inputs, the fuzzer will inject inputs that follow the same format as numbers, such as mathematical operations or functions.
So, not only can you automate the whole fuzz testing process, but you can also choose between two options with apparent differences. But regardless of which you choose, the fuzzer should still do a great job at cutting down on the maintenance costs.
3. Cuts Down on Maintenance Costs
Software development consists of several steps, and each company may approach this a bit differently. But most of the time, it involves brainstorming, implementation, programming, testing, and maintenance. While these phases all cost you money, if the programming and testing go well, there’s no need for the maintenance phase.
Unfortunately, bugs and issues are inevitable when developing software, so you’ll have to spend money on maintenance whether you like it or not. You can, however, cut down on maintenance costs by ensuring product quality through fuzz testing.
4. Boost User Retention
A 2017 survey by a software testing company on 1,000 Americans showed that 88% said they would abandon an app if they stumbled upon a glitch. That was four years ago. Now that those regular individuals have access to advanced tools, it’s now much easier to detect or spot bugs, even more so if they use the app very often.
Your goal is to detect those bugs before they do, and what better way to do that than through fuzz testing. In fact, it prioritizes severe bugs and glitches. It’s not guaranteed that it will detect all bugs, but if there still are, they should be the ones that rarely occur. Your users won’t probably find them easily anymore unless, of course, they look for them intentionally.
5. Compatible with the Agile Methodology
If you frequent the internet for software development tips, you might be a bit familiar with ‘Agile methodology.’ Perhaps you read about it in an article, or maybe you heard of it from a friend.
Either way, while there’s a lot to know about Agile methodology, one thing you need to know is that the majority of companies use this methodology for software development. But what does this have to do with fuzz testing?
Fuzz testing is compatible with Agile methodology. So, if you’re already using this methodology, it should be relatively easy to integrate fuzz testing into your software development projects.
The concept behind fuzz testing is easy to understand, but it can be difficult to believe that a simple testing approach can benefit your business. After all, if it was that easy, everyone could be a successful businessperson, but it’s not.
While it’s easy to set up fuzzers, leveraging this technology for your business operations is tricky, and that’s what makes a business successful.