An Overview Of Web Application Penetration Testing
Technology has become the foundation of our economy. You can’t have a business conversation without mentioning technology, because companies’ activities require it. For instance, the act of keeping your organization linked to the latest cloud-based applications requires technology.
Companies are becoming increasingly reliant on their networks, which raises security risks. Fortunately, there are several ways to safeguard companies against cyber-attacks. Web application penetration testing is one of the most efficient methods for accomplishing this.
There’s a high possibility your firm has already been a victim of a cyberattack. This post will define web application penetration testing and how it can help your company avoid future breaches.
Introducing Web Application Penetration Testing
Web Application Penetration Testing is the process of testing web applications to detect and repair vulnerabilities before they are exploited.
Web Application Penetration Testing can assist you in identifying any security flaws in the design or execution of your website that may make it exposed to attack. These issues could include:
- A Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability; occurs when an attacker injects malicious code into the web pages of a legitimate website, which is subsequently executed by unsuspecting users that visit the site.
- An SQL Injection vulnerability; occurs when an attacker inserts malicious SQL code into the database queries of a legitimate website, which subsequently executes on the database server itself.
- A Directory Traversal vulnerability; occurs when an attacker attempts to access files and directories that are not located in the document root directory.
- A Path Traversal vulnerability; occurs when an attacker attempts to access files and directories that are not in the document root directory of a web server.
- A Local File Inclusive Vulnerability; This is when an attacker exploits by attempting to read and write files on a local system that they do not have the authorization to access.
- A Remote Code Execution vulnerability; occurs when an attacker gains access to the server and runs code as if they were logged in.
- A Remote File Inclusion vulnerability; occurs when an attacker attempts to incorporate files from external sources on the web pages of a legitimate website.
- An XSS Reflection vulnerability; This is where an attacker injects malicious code into the cookies and other HTTP headers of a legitimate website, which is subsequently executed by unsuspecting visitors.
- An Open Redirection vulnerability; Is when an attacker can redirect unsuspecting users to another malicious website by introducing malicious code into the URL parameters of the genuine site.
Stages Of Web Application Penetration Testing
Web application penetration testing, as the name implies, is a sort of penetration testing that focuses on the vulnerabilities found in web applications. The following stages are involved in the process:
1. Gathering Information
The testers acquire as much information about the target website as possible during this step. This includes aspects like the site’s architecture, the technology used for hosting, where its files are housed, and so on.
2. Exploitation And Research
After gathering as much information about the target website as possible, the testers study it and attempt to uncover flaws. This procedure can take anything from a few hours to several days, depending on the complexity of the website and the number of research resources available.
3. Vulnerability Assessment
Once the testers have discovered vulnerabilities in the target website, they begin evaluating them to determine the impact each vulnerability has on the overall security of the site.
Each vulnerability is assigned a score depending on many characteristics such as how easy it is to exploit, the amount of harm it can cause if exploited by an attacker, and so on.
After the testers have discovered and studied the vulnerabilities, they attempt to exploit them. This can be accomplished manually by attempting to exploit the target website or automatically by employing web app scanners.
5. After Exploitation
This is the process by which a security professional gains access to the target website and then attempts to move around within it to acquire information about its users, their credentials, and so on.
6. Recommendations and Reporting
When the tester has completed their task, they submit a report to the client. The study provides a list of vulnerabilities discovered on the website, as well as information on how they could be abused. It also gives tips for addressing these vulnerabilities so that they do not endanger site visitors.
7. Remediation with Ongoing Assistance
The final stage is to address the vulnerabilities. This means that the hackers will correct the problems and ensure that they do not constitute a threat to future site visitors. They also offer continuing support for this reason so that their client is not concerned about these risks.
The Three Methods of Penetration Testing
Web application penetration testing is classified into three types:
- White box test
- Black box test
- Grey box test
1. White Box Test
White box testing is executing a normal penetration test on a web application while having complete access to the source code. This means you understand how everything works and can target specific areas to uncover vulnerabilities more readily.
White box testing is often performed by developers or other people who already have access to the source code before it is made public, or who have access to it to execute this type of test.
2. Black Box Test
Black box testing also refer to as “fuzzing” is running automated vulnerability scanners against an application with no prior knowledge of its inner workings or even its existence, except maybe some high-level descriptions from your client.
You don’t know where the software’s flaws are or what kind of weaknesses it has, but you’re going to try to locate them regardless. Black box testing is frequently performed by developers or other people who already have access to the source code before it is made public, or who have access to it to execute this type of test.
The concept behind black box testing is to imitate what an attacker would do if they were looking for vulnerabilities in your program. This may sound like something you shouldn’t perform unless you’re an expert, but it may be really useful for detecting gaps in your code that would otherwise go undiscovered.
The explanation is simple: when you test from inside a black box, you have no idea what the code does or how it works. This implies you’re much more likely to spot issues that others may have overlooked since they don’t know what to look for.
3. Grey Box Testing
Grey box testing is a sort of penetration testing that simulates an attacker who is aware of your software’s functionality but has no knowledge of its internal workings.
This implies that they’ll be able to leverage the knowledge they have about your application to detect vulnerabilities, ensuring that you’re not missing anything critical in terms of security.
While all of these methods of testing are vital, it is crucial to recognize that no single type can cover every possible viewpoint. That is why you should always perform numerous forms of penetration tests and other sorts of security tests on your application to ensure that no holes or other vulnerabilities go unnoticed.
For the best results, choose a security testing organization that can perform all of these sorts of penetration testing and other types of security testing for you. You won’t have to worry about whether your application is secure since they’ll make sure it is.