Phishing attacks are responsible for 90% of security breaches in companies. The primary concern, however, is web application security.
But, what is web application security? It is the process of protecting websites, web applications, and web services from current and rising security threats that exploit weaknesses in the source code.
Making one small error in the web design or server and it can create a huge loss in the business revenue.
Read further to know how web application penetration testing or web app pen test is done and what are its tools, methods and steps.
Web Application Penetration Testing: Overview
Web app pen test refers to the method of simulating a real-life cyber attack against web services, web apps, or websites to determine potential danger. This technique is performed by the cyber security experts.
It is performed in an attempt to identify existing weak points that the criminals can easily deceive. Potential attacks can happen with the web servers hosted locally or on the cloud. So, they are at a substantial risk of would-be attacks from malicious sources.
Cyber Security Experts conduct penetration testing to verify the extent of vulnerabilities, identify loopholes, and evaluate the effectiveness of the enterprise’s overall application security posture.
What Steps are Used to Perform a Web App Pen Test?
1. Pre engagement Activity
Distinguishing the scope of activities, organization’s targets, and its security goals.
At this phase, the tester takes into account the virtual and physical assets that the organization utilizes. Following that, they perform black box, white box, and gray box tests on the system.
2. Intelligence Gathering
In this phase, we analyze how the web application is set up. The intelligence gathering consists of the two types:
• Passive Phase
Here the tester collects information which are easily accessible on the internet without engaging directly with the application.
• Active Phase
Penetration testers probe target systems in the active phase in order to extract information that can be used to analyze the system further.
3. Vulnerability Scanning & Analysis
After comprehensive examination of critical control points in the system, pen testers can then make detailed examination of the possible attacks.
To identify security loopholes, Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP), Burp Suite Pro or Acunetix and other open source tools that are used to scan target applications for vulnerabilities.
In this state, the main task for the testers is to validate if the important company information is safe.
4. Exploitation Phase
In this phase the collected data are analyzed. It is essential to test the discrepancies along with maintaining the data while determining threats.
By performing various exploitation techniques against the vulnerabilities identified during the scanning phase, this step allows obtaining unauthorized access to the database, circumventing authorizations with brute force tools, and uploading malicious scripts to the application server to gain command-line shell access.
5. Enlisting Threats & Devising Remediation
Upon the completion of the assessment, a comprehensive report is generated that summarizes the results, the probable threats, the threat scorecard, and the expert advice provided by the pen tester.
In order to verify that the errors have been fixed and the vulnerability has been removed, a retest is conducted by the designated IT team.
Top Standards, Controls, and Methodologies Used for Identifying Threats Through Penetration Testing
Security testing methodologies listed below are used by all competent cybersecurity penetration experts.
OWASP – Open Web Application Security Project
There are 10 most critical threats a web application might face outlined in the OWASP Top 10 document, which is regularly updated.
By ranking the top 10 threats from highest to lowest, OWASP is working towards strengthening the software security system.
Specialists from around the world participate in OWASP, sharing knowledge on threats and attacks.
PCI DSS – Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
Credit card information should be processed, stored, and transmitted in a secure environment as a result of these obligations.
In addition to improving customer trust, it prevents sensitive information from being compromised by unassuming breaches. Due to its connection to payment, this is of particular importance.
In order to protect payment information, organisations that follow this methodology are regarded as the gold standard worldwide.
OSSTMM – Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual
Security testing done using open-source software is regularly updated every six months with the latest cyber threats.
It is a systematic and scientific method of correlating reliable penetration test reports, analysing vulnerabilities, and performing red-teaming exercises.
As part of the OSSTMM testing program the following are included:
• Human Security Testing
• Telecommunications Security Testing
• Wireless Security Testing
• Data Network Security Testing.
• Physical Security Testing
With OSSTMM, you can streamline your security testing protocol.
ISSAF – Information Systems Security Assessment Framework
It comprises nine steps that evaluate the security of the network, application control, and system monitoring.
As part of the ISSAF, information is gathered; the network is mapped; vulnerabilities are identified; penetrations are made; basic access privileges are obtained, and then elevated; access is maintained, remote users and remote sites are compromised, and the tester’s digital footprints are hidden.
In comparison to other more commonly used penetration testing methods, this type is rather complicated.
Web Application Penetration Testing Tools
In spite of the wide range of web application penetration testing tools available, their effectiveness depends on the type of tasks they are intended to handle. Open source tools for penetration testing web applications are listed below:
1. Zab Proxy
Your organization’s sensitive data can be safeguarded with Web Application Penetration Testing Services.
In this blog, we attempt to summarize the important facets of web application penetration testing, but this only scratches the surface. Each day, technological and operational advancements bring better options to the field, which is quite vast and evolving rapidly.
We at Ownux can help you safeguard sensitive organisational data by conducting web application penetration testing.