What is the Importance of Assessing Web Application Security Risks?
Manual web app pen testing proactively identifies security weaknesses in your internal and public-facing web applications is a vital part of any cyber security strategy. A web app pen test achieves this by evaluating potential vulnerabilities and pushing the boundaries of these to exploit and measure the potential impact in the hands of an attacker. An organisation like yours, committed to improving its security posture and locking down its network perimeter, should have a comprehensive plan for web application assurance testing as part of its cyber security strategy to prevent cyber attacks and data breaches.
Web application security testing and website security testing involves attempts to breach application systems such as API Domains (application protocol interfaces) and front/back-end servers; this is to discover vulnerabilities such as unsanitised inputs that are vulnerable to code injection attacks. Web application vulnerabilities on internet-facing applications are common targets with adversaries performing targeted attacks, scanning for specific applications with known vulnerabilities and broader scans of entire ranges to identify targets that can be directly abused. ConnectDS provide single and ongoing security assessment to identify security vulnerabilities and ensure the protection of the latest web technologies and web based applications. Once an organisation has visibility of the exposure, our pen testers will provide the test results and details on any identified security risks with details on weakness and remediation and fine-tuning steps for your test reports and where possible provide detail on where additional protection can be provided with your Web Application Firewall (WAF) security policies.
Web App Penetration Test Methodologies
Our web application security testing will follow a penetration testing methodology formed by guidance from NIST, OWASP, SANS and OSSTMM to identify cyber security risks including OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project). OWASP is the industry standard for assessing critical vulnerabilities found in websites and is regularly updated to include the most recently unveiled security vulnerabilities, identified by the world’s top security researchers. The ConnectDS security experts perform full application testing of your web apps including the OWASP top 10, including but are not limited to:
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
- SQL injection attacks
- Blind SQL injection
- Insecure cryptographic solutions
- Insecure session management
- Incorrect server configurations
- Incorrect header information
- CRLF injections
- Command execution
- Format string exceptions
- Unvalidated redirects
Types of Web Application Penetration Test
They are three different types of security testing/analysis; this applies to web application tests, these are:
- Black box testing – this is the closest to simulating a real-life cyber attack on your applications as the penetration testers receive no prior knowledge of the client systems, it also requires the least preparation from the company being tested.
- Grey Box testing – the middle ground test, the analysts are given some knowledge of the system being tested. This is equivalent to a user with some access to the system and malicious intent.
- White Box Testing – sometimes referred to as Clear Box or Open Box testing – this is where our analysts are provided with all information about the system being tested, including its internal structure, design and implementation. White Box testing also includes a secure code review; due to the visibility provided with this test, it may highlight security issues that would otherwise go unnoticed – this is also the least similar to a real-life cyber attack.
For web application assessments, the ConnectDS cybersecurity experts provide both unauthenticated and authenticated testing. During authenticated testing, your business provides our penetration testers with the credentials required to authenticate with the web application; this provides extra insight as it shows what information an attacker could gain if they were to use social engineering to exploit weaknesses in your people and steal an employees passwords or break in via a brute-force attack. With authenticated assessments, it is important to ascertain the different privilege levels of each of the web applications for comprehensive assessment at each level. An authenticated attack at employee and admin privileges of a web application would also highlight the potential impact of a rogue employee.
Before each web application penetration test, the ConnectDS onboarding team will liaise with you in order to understand assessment requirements, define objectives and gather all information required. During this stage, the scope of the engagement will also be defined – this means outlining which systems/subsystems are to be tested and what methods of penetration testing are allowed. ConnectDS have performed hundreds of web application security assessments and will happily offer a customised web application assessment to capture your companies bespoke requirements. Once the scope is finalised, a statement of work and agreement detailing the scope, process and timeline of the assessment will be sent out; once this is signed, the web app testing of your companies web applications will commence.
Frequently Asked Questions about Web Application Penetration Testing
Please see below for some common questions on how to secure your web applications against the latest cyber security threats our web app penetration tests, if you would prefer to speak to someone then pick up the phone and speak to one of our pen testers.
WHAT IS A WEB APPLICATION (WEB APP?)
Web applications or web apps are server software applications, these software applications are accessed by client web browsers -Web application penetration testing is performed on an URL of a web app – whereas Network penetration testing is performed on IP addresses. The most common Web application that all modern businesses leverage is a client facing website to promote their services, compromise of their website can lead to reputational damage and loss of business.
WHY DO YOU NEED A PENETRATION TEST FOR WEB APPLICATIONS?
Depending on the application function, web applications typically have a larger attack surface that other systems, externally facing, and with direct or interconnected access data and data systems. Testing of web applications and all digital systems should be performed to ensure effective security hygiene and reduce the likelihood of security threats leading to compromise of your web applications.
WHAT IS WAPT?
WAPT is a widely used acronym for “Web Application Penetration Testing” used by Cyber Security professionals globally and is the process for testing of web application security.
WHAT DOES A WEB APPLICATION PENETRATION TEST INVOLVE?
The involvement of a web app pen test is dependant on the requirements and scope of the engagement. Correct planning is required during the planning phase to understand the web application systems (URL’s) in scope, the organisations objectives and ensure the web app pen testing can be performed securely and be completed successfully.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF A WEB APPLICATION PENETRATION TEST?
The goal of a penetration test is to ensure the security of a web application through manual assessment by an expert tester against an industry leading framework to increase an organisations information security posture.
DO CONNECTDS ASSIST WITH REMEDIATION OF WEB APPLICATION VULNERABILITIES?
ConnectDS reporting includes full details of vulnerabilities and proof of concept of exploitable vulnerabilities, with all engagements we offer clients with the opportunity to remediate and secure platforms before retesting the original identified vulnerabilities.
WHAT IS OWASP?
OWASP Stands for Open Web Application Security Project- the OWASP foundation is a NFP organisation specialising in web application security. The OWASP Testing Framework is used as a comprehensive benchmark for web application penetration testing for detecting web application weakness
WHAT IS THE COST OF A WEB APPLICATION PENETRATION TEST?
Web application penetration testing cost are based on the scope of the assessment, typically this is the quantity and complexity of the web application that needs testing – Let us know your requirements in our scoping form and we can provide you with an accurate price which is aligned to your assessment requirements.
HOW LONG DOES A WEB APPLICATION PENETRATION TEST TAKE?
The duration of an engagement is wholly dependant on the scope of engagement, a web application testing may, or may not be possible to perform remotely – remote assessments generally reduce time needed to complete an assessment.
WHAT IS A PENETRATION TESTING AGREEMENT?
A Penetration testing agreement between all parties. This formal document is created to define the scope of the Web Applications Penetration Testing engagement and ensure that all assessment is compliant and performed in line with legal requirements.
WHAT DOES A WEB APP PENETRATION TEST COVER?
Our Web App Penetration Tests are performed using manual testing that includes, but are not limited to:
Network Firewall Testing
Brute Force Attack Testing
Security Vulnerability Testing
User Session Testing
Testing For Open Ports
Cross Site Scripting (XSS) Testing
HTTP Method Testing
Access Permission Testing
Contact Form Testing
Application Login Page Testing
SQL Injection Testing
Denial of Service Attack (DoS) Testing
Credential Encryption Testing
Error Message Testing
Spam Email Filter Testing
Username and Password (Credential) Testing