Web Application Penetration Testing: Steps, Methods, & Tools

Investigating for possible injection tampering attacks and the actual learning and handling of the application comes later. The initial first step to a Web Application Penetration Test is to conduct an active and passive reconnaissance. This is also popularly known as the evidence gathering stage where the tester gathers information from freely available data and also by probing the web application.

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To perform DNS zone transfer, use “nslookup” command to identify the DNS servers. After identifying all the DNS servers, use the “dig” command and attempt the DNS zone transfer. Passive reconnaissance means collecting information that is readily available on the internet. It is mostly done by using public resources or using platforms like Google for collecting information. Active reconnaissance, means directly probing the target system to get an output. Here the attacker engages with the target system and conducts a port scan to find any vulnerabilities. Now that we are aware of the importance of a web application penetration test, let us learn and understand the different web application vulnerabilities that one needs to defend against.

Why should HALOCK perform your penetration test?

In Blind testing, the tester simulates a real-life attack on applications but with information gained from the security team. Here the organization’s security team will know about the attack when and where it will occur and prepare for it accordingly. However, they will have limited information about the breach strategy and the tester’s technique of staging a breach. The blind testing technique highlights the effectiveness of the organization’s current cyber security program and also gives an insight into how an actual attack would take place. Post the reconnaissance phase, the tester moves on to the next scanning phase. At this stage, the target application is tested to inspect the application and understand its performance on a real-time basis.

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A tester might use their skills and expertise to exploit your organization’s network. Network penetration test is to scan and spot the most exposed vulnerabilities in an organization’s on-premise and cloud-based network infrastructure. Our detailed and thorough planning and testing methodology ensures that security pen testing is conducted in a way that minimizes the risk of disruption to your environment. And finally, our pen tests are comprehensive and include exhaustive exploitation attempts, eliminating false positives and ensuring that results are accurate.

How a WAF Could Improve the Security of Your Linux Web Applications

However, schedule pressures often lead to developers deploying applications without putting them through the proper security testing and that can leave security vulnerabilities in these web applications. Vulnerability scans typically use automation to detect vulnerabilities in devices attached to the network like routers, firewalls, servers, applications, and switches. The purpose of running a vulnerability assessment is to identify the location of those weaknesses.

  • Examples of active reconnaissance include fingerprinting the web application, using the Shodan network scanner, performing a DNS forward and reverse lookup, a DNZ zone transfer, and more.
  • On every assessment, RedTeam Security utilizes commercial tools, internally developed tools, and some of the same tools hackers use.
  • The comprehensive look at the test and results is outlined in Detailed Findings, which documents and explains each vulnerability, its impact, evidence, instances observed, and recommendations for remediation.
  • The Benefits of Secure SDLC Most software developers and companies implement a Software Development Lifecycle process for internal software,…
  • Cross-Site Reference Forgery also popularly known as XSRF, “Sea Surf,” and Session Riding is an attack that tricks the victim into submitting their identity and privilege to perform unwanted activities.
  • Get a FREE security evaluation today and reduce your organization’s security risk.
  • It generates reports on the happenings and activities in your systems, networks, and applications.
  • The test further highlights whether or not the security personnel is equipped to respond to situations and further prevent significant damage.

Companies rely on web applications, APIs, and mobile applications to conduct daily business more than ever. That includes customer-facing applications with functionality to perform automated activities that often use sensitive data like completing a purchase or transferring money from one account to another. Many companies also depend on internal web products to conduct day-to-day business. Developers may use open-source components and plugins when building these web apps, leaving the door open to a possible cyber attack. Many businesses think that vulnerability scans are sufficient to maintain or improve their security posture. While vulnerability scans can highlight known weaknesses, web application penetration testing shows you how well they would hold up in a real-world attack by unauthorized users. Internal Network → Test the security of internal private networks and hosts to assess what a malicious individual could compromise from within your environment.

Guide to Web Application Penetration Testing

One of the main features include fingerprinting of the database, scanning for vulnerabilities and possible exploitation. For the purpose of demonstrating the most useful aspects of Burp Suite, below is a simple example of capturing http traffic with Burp Suite and than performing an SQL injection attack using Sqlmap. For automated web app vulnerability scanning, sniffing and exploitation stages, you can use tools such as W3af scanner, Burp Suite Toolkit, SQLMap, various password cracking tools such as Hydra or John Ripper.

  • Nonetheless, it is a fast and easy way to quickly gather information regarding the target system.
  • Relying on vulnerability scans to evaluate web application risks can be less costly for businesses.
  • After collecting all relevant information pertaining to the application, at this stage, the tester stages an attack on the application to uncover a target’s vulnerabilities.
  • Hackers gain an opening through which they can steal sensitive information or hijack a company’s systems.
  • Network penetration test is to scan and spot the most exposed vulnerabilities in an organization’s on-premise and cloud-based network infrastructure.

By this, we mean accessing applications by simulating an attack as a malicious insider. This test exposes the insider threat that the sensitive data is exposed to in the organization.

Free Remediation Testing

It is a vulnerability that often crops up in systems and applications due to failure in the process to change default passwords and security settings. This is again one of the most common security misconfigurations discovered in web applications. Security misconfiguration vulnerability includes using default passwords, lack of secure password policy, unpatched software, file misconfigurations, poor web application firewall policies, etc. To end with, web application penetration testing involves testing the application’s environment, database connectivity, source code, bad data and error data in order to find vulnerabilities and exploit them. It eases the process of performing SQL injection attacks and provides access to the compromised database servers.

Social engineering penetration testing safeguards your network by exposing vulnerabilities related to firewalls, servers, routers, etc. Businesses must invest in pen testing to ensure their user data, source coding, and other sensitive information is secure. They further test and verify the effectiveness of security controls in place. This way it allows the organization to proactively identify weaknesses in the application before the real-world hacker gets an opportunity to exploit the identified vulnerabilities. So, as a security recommendation, we suggest organizations proactively run a web application penetration test to address potential vulnerabilities that could impact the application and prevent any security incidents. Depending on the goals of a penetration test, the testers can use a technique that can provide the organization with detailed insight into their security posture and defenses against various threats.

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