Book Report: How to Break Web Software by Mike Andrews and James A. Whittaker (2006)

This is the third book in the trilogy (How to Break Software, How to Break Software Security, and this book).  This book, as you could guess by its title, focuses on applications written for the World Wide Web.

As with previous books, this one uses an enumerated list of “attacks” you can perform on the software you’re testing.  However, the “attacks” motif is a little misapplied, as the last chapters of the book are broadly constructed, including a chapter on “Privacy” and another broad overview of Web Services.

However, by focusing on differences between Web applications and regular applications (the stateless nature of the Web as well as exposed underlying technologies in the Web server and database server) that can help you transition if you’re used to working on desktop applications to the Web.  Heck, even if you’re already testing Web applications, you might find something in here to add to your repertoire.

However, read the book and apply the “attacks” in a triage fashion.  Sure, your pages’ source code might reveal something, but brothers and sisters, reviewing page code is the first attack (“Panning for Gold”) presented in the book.  It is not the first thing in my test plans.  As a matter of fact, given the projects I’ve worked on, reviewing source code has been spotty at best and falls in the test plan somewhere beyond spraying the Web server with a hose.  But if you have timeline enough and time, it is a good idea.

I bought these books for my team, so can expect I’d recommend them to you.  Go forth, buy them, and learn from them.

Books mentioned in this review:

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