Blockchain technology underpins a number of businesses nowadays like banking, crypto, healthcare, etc, and therefore is looking to develop its foundation into many more. As the basis for these capital-rich firms, blockchain has attracted the attention of hackers. Furthermore, security risks in blockchain technology often develop owing to incorrect planning and implementation of blockchain programs. According to recent research, blockchain hackers stole over $3.8 billion in around 125 attacks in 2020. So blockchain performance testing has become very essential nowadays.
If blockchain is to have a prosperous future, we must discuss blockchain security now. This is why we will examine in depth the blockchain penetration testing procedure and how it helps to ensure blockchain apps in this article.
But Firstly, Let’s See Blockchain and Type Penetration Testing.
Concept of Blockchain
In recent years, the catchphrase ‘blockchain’ has caused a disruption in the digital environment. To comprehend, it is not just about cryptocurrencies; rather, it is a cryptographically connected series of timestamped, permanent data called blocks.
Blockchain is a public, decentralized ledger that keeps records of any virtual currency. These digital assets may be managed by either smart contracts (e.g., ERC tokens) or the blockchain network’s native cryptocurrency (eg: Bitcoin or Ethereum).
With the creation of the ‘genesis’ block, the blockchain network is activated. As suggested by its name, ‘genesis’ seems to be the first block of the blockchain, whose preceding block hash is 0x000. Then, as per the consensus and parameters, including block time, block size, etc., extra blocks are included in the chain.
Standardized blocks containing transactions are added to the chain, which cannot be altered in the future. Any alteration to the chain creates a new transaction, making it verifiable. This is the fundamental operation of a blockchain network.
Every transaction information generates a hash, and every block references the block that came before it. They collectively comprise a blockchain. The industry of commercial transactions has been transformed by blockchain technology. With its unparalleled prospects, blockchain has provided us with a fantastic chance to take charge of transactions, healthcare, as well as other systems that offer confidentiality and accountability. Still, blockchain test automation is a key element for the further growth of blockchain all over the world.
Blockchain penetration testing
Utilizing the perspective of a prospective hacker, Penetration Testing exploits coding faults efficiently. In simplest terms, the tester operates as a hacker and attempts to get inside the system in order to identify and reveal security flaws.
The extent and complexity of a program’s architecture are determined by the length of a penetration test. Smaller tests can be completed in a matter of seconds, whereas longer ones can take several weeks.
The following issues are among those that require blockchain penetration testing as a redress:
- Deficiency of testing equipment
- Inadequate knowledge
- Non-competent approaches
- Permanent transactions
- Efficiency and stress testing
Efficient blockchain testing enables firms to construct and deploy the technology with the related infrastructure in a secured environment. The testing procedure includes fundamental testing methodologies and services, including cloud testing services, functionality testing, API testing, integration testing, security testing, and performance testing. In addition, it provides testing approaches that are unique to blockchain technology, such as block testing, blockchain automation testing, and peer/node testing.
Procedure for blockchain penetration testing
Comprehensive blockchain penetration testing includes fundamental testing services including functional testing, performance testing, API testing, security testing, and integration testing, smart contract penetration testing among others. As its name implies, penetration testing is conducted by identifying and exploiting potential system weaknesses. This chapter will explore the essential steps in the penetration testing procedure.
The initial step of penetration testing is the identification of potential software vulnerabilities. To protect your applications, it is essential to understand how the blockchain functions.
The architecture of Blockchain
Attempt to assess the blockchain implementation to assure the blockchain’s capacity to maintain information’s authenticity, secrecy, and reliability during delivery, storage, and fulfillment.
Regulatory Readiness: Verify that the blockchain deployment conforms with all applicable good governance.
Furthermore, a comprehensive review of the Blockchain application’s specs must be undertaken to ensure the greatest degree of security and best practices.
The second part of blockchain penetration testing is the examination and assessment of the discovered information. The evaluation will help you determine which risks or defects could place your blockchain applications in jeopardy. It comprises the following examinations:
Blockchain Network Vulnerability Testing
Blockchain Fixed and Interactive Application Testing, encompassing testing of wallets, graphical user interfaces, databases, and application programming.
Testing of Blockchain Authenticity
All of the aforementioned threat routes will be thoroughly examined to ensure that privacy controls are implemented to recognize, mitigate, and effectively evaluate accessibility.
Blockchain Application Functional testing
Functional testing is done to examine whether your blockchain application’s functionalities are operating as planned. A blockchain penetration tester takes the following things into consideration:
- Size of the chain and block
A block includes the transactional information itself. Presently, a block is 1MB in size. This value must be evaluated frequently. In addition, there is no limitation of the chain, as it continues to expand throughout time. It is crucial to validate the functionality of the chain in order to maintain control.
- Addition of building blocks
After a transaction has been verified and authenticated, penetration testers authenticate the box and add it to the chain.
- Data Transfer
Blockchain’s peer-to-peer architecture makes it really easy for testers to provide faultless encryption and authentication of data.
- Testing of APIs
API testing is conducted to monitor how the Blockchain – based network interacts. It is performed to ensure that API queries and answers are genuine.
- Integration Testing
Integration testing does not guarantee that the various components of a blockchain communicate with one another effectively. Integration testing is required as a result of the implementation of blockchain throughout parallel systems.
- Performance Evaluation
The goal of performance testing is to identify potential bottlenecks and decide whether or not the blockchain application is ready for deployment.
- Security Audits
The purpose of security testing is to guarantee that your blockchain application is impenetrable to malware and viruses.
Without even a comprehensive penetration testing report, a good penetration test is inadequate. Ensure that the analysis offers a full description of each blockchain application vulnerability. A well-explained penetration testing report makes it very easy for security experts to implement the appropriate security measures while maintaining the discovered vulnerabilities in consideration.
5. Remediation and Certification
The final phase of blockchain penetration testing is to address the security expert’s identified flaws and seek a rescan.
Types of Blockchain Penetration testing
The penetration test is conducted in three distinct ways:
- Black-box examination
- White-box examination
- Gray-box exam
- Let’s discuss these examinations:
Black-box testing or external penetration testing protects a business from foreign attacks. The testers begin their job at the moment where a genuine hacker would begin. They begin without any expertise in security defenses and IT infrastructure, as well as software architecture, web apps, source code, etc.
This form of testing determines from which locations intruders can breach the blockchain system’s security.. Additionally, testers assess how much damage an external hacker may cause.
Testers must be skilled in applying automated procedures and manual testing tools to perform black box testing. Utilizing their findings, they create a map of the target network.
White Box Testing:
In White Box testing, also known as internal testing or precise box testing, testers have accessibility to the source code and software architecture. This test intends to conduct a comprehensive audit of the complete system. It governs how far an attacker can go and how much harm can be inflicted.
In this sort of testing, the tester has limited knowledge of the users. This test checks the structure of the execution of the code. The tester comprehends the architecture and data flow of the system. It is a combination of white box and black box testing with restricted source code and application exposure.
These broad categories of penetration testing procedures can be further broken into granular divisions. Other forms of penetration tests have included the following:
Social engineering test
The pen test strategy attempts to convince a worker or third party to divulge confidential material, such as a password, corporate data, or even other user data. This can be accomplished by contacting support desks or salespeople via phone or the internet.
The pen test employs software to evaluate the system vulnerabilities of web applications and software programs.
Physical penetration tests: The pen test attempts to access physical network devices and access points in a simulated cyber attack, and is typically employed in governmental or other protected institutions.
Network service test- This is the most frequent penetration testing scenario, in which a user attempts to identify network vulnerabilities from anywhere. Client side test-Client-side testing is when an MSP attempts to attack software vulnerabilities on the client side.
Wireless security test- The pen test discovers open, illegal, or low-security WiFi networks and hotspots and attempts to get access through them.
All methods of penetration testing should evaluate both internal and external IT infrastructure resources. Various steps of a penetration test will ensure a comprehensive and constantly updated cybersecurity strategy for a firm.
Tools for Blockchain Penetration Testing
Equally crucial is the tester’s selection of the most suitable blockchain testing tool in order to minimize risks and produce the highest best output. We highly suggest the following testing methods for blockchain-based applications:
The Truffle Framework – Truffle becomes one of the most popular development environments and a platform for testing blockchains. Truffle streamlines smart contract lifecycle management by allowing library linking, custom installation, and complex blockchain-based applications. Additionally, Truffle allows automatic contract testing, allowing developers to construct their own automation testing code using JS and Soundness. Among its prominent characteristics are:
Instantaneous reconstruction of assets during development Customisable build pipeline with comprehensive support for unique build procedures
- Framework for scriptable installation and migrations
- Direct contract communication via interface
Embark – Embark provides a straightforward declarative method for defining which Smart Contracts need to be installed, as well as their requirements.
Ethereum Tester— API management for various blockchain testing requirements. It attempts to simplify the management and execution of selected tools for both users and developers.
Populus – The Python testing framework drives testing and provides useful tools for assessing smart contracts.
Advantages of Blockchain Smart Contract Penetration & Performance Testing
The benefits of penetration testing are:
1. Disclosure of Issues:
Penetration testing aids in identifying threats and dangers in network infrastructure and application configuration.. It assists in determining the necessary hardware or software enhancements to address security vulnerabilities.
2. Effective Risk Assessment:
It assists in anticipating the possibility of cyberattacks and allows for the implementation of precautionary measures.
3. Cyber-defense capacity evaluation:
Organizations are able to identify intrusion, seek for and stop potential intruders. These measures can ensure cyber-defense capabilities and allow for essential enhancements.
Penetration testing contributes to the development of trust within the blockchain ecosystem, which influences the adherence of suppliers, consumers, and partners.
There are 5 steps involved in blockchain penetration testing. 1. Discovery 2. Evaluation 3. Functional testing 4. Reporting 5. Remediation. Image Credit to Getastra
The blockchain pen testing process can be broken down into 5 steps.
1. Planning and reconnaissance.
3. Gaining Access
4. Maintaining access
In the cybersecurity sector, blockchain penetration testing is really a unique and burgeoning area. As blockchain technology should be used to preserve any type of data, it introduces the platform to the risk of severe vulnerabilities. Companies are employing blockchain pentesters to identify vulnerabilities prior to their exploitation.
The blockchain is the standard for all current safe transactions. There appears to be no recognized standard for accomplishing the same due to the ongoing expansion of blockchain testing. Engineers typically design based on personal choice due to a lack of competence in this subject, which eventually meets organizational objectives. Outsourced security and blockchain testing specialists, on the other hand, use their enormous knowledge base to help their customers adopt blockchain technology to their network architecture. Testing blockchain applications has now become a very important task for experts.
The services have included a comprehensive manual examination of the smart contract’s security measures, procedures, and access controls, as well as lateral movement inside a blockchain-based distributed ledger network. In addition, we provide comprehensive environment testing for web and mobile applications, APIs, networking, and more.