What is web application penetration testing?
Web application penetration testing a.k.a WAPT is one of the pen test technique that is used on a web application in order to detect its vulnerabilities.
Similarly, like any pen test, it is done by replicating an unauthorized attack into the web application to get access to sensitive information.
A network pen test allows end-users to find out how a hacker can access internet data, find out about the security of their email servers, and also find out how secure the web hosting site and server are.
Why should I conduct web application penetration testing(WAPT)?
Let’s understand WAPT in context with today’s scenario
Today, web applications are used by many businesses across the globe.
They are used in various sectors like social networking, banking, entertainment, insurance, health, automobiles, and many other domains.
We think that these applications are secure and enter a lot of sensitive personal information
For instance, when a user has his private conversations with his friends in WhatsApp, he never thinks that those messages can be seen by a third person.
We take it granted that Whats App maintains them securely.
Similarly, from the corporate perspective, web applications are crucial since they operate their core businesses.
Any damage to them is going to affect their business directly.
So in order to win the user’s trust and to make sure that business is not hit, it is necessary that these web applications are maintained in a secure manner.
To sum up, by conducting a WAPT we can get valuable insight into the security of our application a.k.a. our asset.
Most importantly a Web application penetration testing can help to fix the vulnerability before hackers find it and cause some serious damage by exploiting them.
The main objective of Web application penetration testing is to test the integrity of the application by break into it using any penetration attacks or threats.
How is a Web application penetration testing is performed?
Firstly, Just as any other pen test, you have to identify flaws or exploitable vulnerabilities in applications.
You will start by gathering information about the app and its environment.
And then try simulating a Web application penetration test that can reveal real-world opportunities that hackers can get and use it to compromise our applications.
Second is to analyze the founded vulnerabilities and work to exploit those vulnerabilities and then understand the level of risk for your organization will face.
The Third Step is to provide clear and comprehensive reporting that helps the client to prioritize next steps for remediation
This type of task is carried out by our highly trained security consultants.
In this way, we can prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data or even take-over systems for malicious/non-business purpose
So we can summerise as.
What should I perform- A Vulnerability Scanning or Pen testing?
Vulnerability Scanning lets the user find out the application’s known vulnerabilities and identifies methods for repairing and enhancing the application’s overall security.
This essentially points out if security patches are applied, whether the devices are designed correctly to make attacks difficult
Generally, Pen Test is performed in real-time systems and helps the user find out if unauthorized users can access the system, if so what damage can be caused, and which sensitive data can be exploited, etc.
Vulnerability Scanning is therefore a detective control method that recommends ways of improving the security program and ensuring that identified vulnerabilities do not resurface, while pen checking is a proactive control method that provides an overview of the existing security layer of the system.
Nonetheless, both approaches are useful, but it will rely on what is actually anticipated as part of the test.
As a pen tester it is critical to be clear on the intent of the testing before performing
You can very well determine if you need to do a vulnerability scan or pen testing if you are specific about the objective.
Type of Pen test tool?
Web application penetration test works by performing manual and automated penetration tests
Automated penetration testing tools is done with the help of the software. By integrating penetration testing into the software. Therefore it’s more like a cost-effectively way of conducting penetration testing.
These tools may or may not need to be monitored by security professionals.
These automated web testing tools are time efficient and can scan more applications in less time as compared to manual.
Useful in bringing down costs and avoiding delays.
Manual web application penetration testing is the best way. It is effective and cost-efficient when combined with other scanning technologies.
Manual testing on its own can be quite expensive and time-consuming, taking weeks to perform a full penetration test.
Keep in mind, the best penetration testing combines automated and manual techniques.
What is Web Penetration Testing Methodology
The methodology is nothing but a set of guidelines for the security industry on how to perform the research.
There are some well-established and well-known methodologies and guidelines that can be used for testing, but as each web application requires different test types to be conducted, testers may build their own methodologies by referring to industry standards.
Some of the methodologies and requirements for security testing are –
-PTF (Penetration Testing Framework)
-OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project)
-PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
-OSSTMM (Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual)
-ISSAF (Information Systems Security Assessment Framework)
Benefits of WAPT
Detecting security threats
One of the most popular benefits of penetration testing is it will show you the list of vulnerabilities in the target environment and the risks associated with it and that will give you a baseline to work upon to eliminate the risk in an optimal way.
Security breaches are expensive
Application breaches may cause financial harm, damage an organization’s reputation, customer loyalties, generate negative press, and incur huge fines and penalties.
Doing periodic penetration testing avoids these expenses by the organization.
Protect Clients, Partners, and Third Parties
A security breach affects not only the organization but also their associated clients, partners, and third parties.
And to prevent it an organization should schedule a penetration test and takes necessary actions towards security.
Maintains smooth Business flow
Smooth Business flow is the prime concern for any successful organization.
Now a day’s attackers are hired by other organizations to affect the flow of business by exploiting the vulnerabilities to gain access to the application wand crashes the service and breaks the server availability.
Some of the test scenarios that can be tested in Web Application Penetration Testing (WAPT) are –
These are the 10 most critical risks to web applications as defined in the Open Web Application Security Project.
OWASP is a non-profit organization that focuses on improving the security of software.
SQL Injection (SQLi) is a type of injection attack enabling malicious SQL statements to be executed.
These statements are controlled behind a web application by a database server.
It is a common attack in which the hacker uses malicious code in SQL statements via web page input.
A vulnerability in SQL can affect any website or web application using a SQL database such as MySQL, Oracle, SQL Server, or others.
An attacker must first find vulnerable user inputs within the web page or web application in order to make a SQL Injection attack.
By successful SQL injection, the hacker can get unauthorized access to sensitive data, like passwords, credit card details, or personal user information.
This can be used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to your confidential data: customer data, financial data, trade secrets, intellectual property, and more.
SQL Injection Attacks are one of the oldest vulnerabilities in web applications, most common and most severe.
Before making a purchase majority of websites require users to login. More often, this is done using a username and password.
With this info, a site will assign and send a unique session ID that serves as a key to the user’s identity on the server.
All of this information has to be sent back and forth between the visitor and the server. If that information is not encrypted and is sent as plain text instead, it’s possible that someone can intercept a visitor’s session ID to impersonate that same visitor.
Sensitive data exposure
Sensitive Data Exposure occurs when an application fails to protect sensitive information like passwords, credit card data and more.
In order to understand what it is, we first must know. what serialization and deserialization are
According to Techopida Serialization is the process of converting the state information of an object instance into a binary or textual form to persist into storage medium or transported over a network
And deserialization is the complete opposite of it.
Cross-Site scripting has been around 15 years still proven to be highly effective and is frequently observed as a common viable attack these days.
In Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacker aims to execute malicious scripts in a web browser of the victim by including malicious code in a legitimate web page or web application.
The attack occurs when the victim visits the web page or web application that executes the malicious code.
For example, if you visit a compromised website, at which the attacker’s malicious script is loaded and executed by the user’s browser.
This can lead to the theft of sensitive data, session hijacking, and much more.
XML External Entity
Also known as XXE and the easiest way to prevent this attack is to completely disable Document Type Definitions.
If the external DOCTYPE declaration is needed then disabling external general entities and external parameter entities will prevent XXE attacks on your code.
Broken Access Control
In 2017 OWASP merged Insecure Direct Object Reference and Missing Function Level Access Control into Broken Access Control,
The impact greatly depends on what kind of information the attacker can gain access to and information can be anything from useless to a full system takeover.
This is a widespread problem. As the name suggests, this happens when an organization fails to implement all security controls or implement security controls with errors on a server or web application.
Using component with a known vulnerability
It occurs when a developer makes a poor choice by using open source components with a known vulnerability.
As a result, anyone can easily find already-written exploits for many known vulnerabilities. This puts the sensitive information in danger
The best example is the Equifax breach that was caused by using an Apache Struts version which was a known vulnerability since March 2017.
Insufficient Logging and Monitoring
According to Owasp – Exploitation of insufficient logging and monitoring is the bedrock of nearly every major incident.
After all, attackers rely on the lack of monitoring and timely response to achieve their goals without being detected.
Despite mentioning the list, testers should not blindly build their test methodology based on the conventional standards listed above.
So, be sure, before you decide on the methodology, what website types are expected to be tested and which method will help find the maximum vulnerabilities.
How long does it take to conduct web application penetration testing?
There is no fixed time and WAPT depends on how complex your application is or its size.
In the end, the question comes, how much money does a web app pen tester make?
In short, it depends on which organization you are working on, how much years of experience you have and in which state you are working.
According to indeed.co.in average salary of an individual conducting pen test is around 5,49,808 rupees annually.
If you have enough knowledge with experience you will get more than the average salary mentioned here.
In this post, we presented an overview of how web application penetration testing is conducted.
A good pen test will start vulnerability testing with this knowledge.
Ideally, the testing vulnerability will help us create software that is secure and stable.
Although it is an expensive method to maintain.
But it is recommended to conduct a pen test at least once a year.
If you Want to perform a profession Pen test on your website visit Aristi Cybertech.
Join our advanced ethical hacking course by Hackers Guru, which comes with live WAPT training and real-life project experience.