Web App Penetration Testing

At ConnectDS, our Web Application Penetration Testing is a significant component of our assessment services; performed by our team of experienced security analysts and penetration testers in both our London and Surrey offices. Similarly to our network penetration tests, our team of ethical hackers perform comprehensive simulation of unauthorised attacks to detect security vulnerabilities and insecure functionality and identify validated risks associated with your internal and client-facing web applications. We leverage, industry-leading web-app pen-testing tooling, methodologies and expertise to perform intensive manual testing to identify vulnerabilities and unauthorised access to sensitive data, thus reducing the risk of data loss and system availability through exposed security flaws.

What is the Importance of Web Application Security?

Manual web application pen testing proactively identifies weaknesses in your internal and public-facing web applications is a vital part of any cyber security strategy. A web application penetration 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.

Web application 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 flaws 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 services to ensure the protection of your organisation’s critical assets. Once an organisation has visibility of the exposure, these insights help us to guide you with details to fine-tune your Web Applications and where possible provide additional coverage of your Web Application Firewall (WAF) security policies.

Web Application Testing Methodologies

Our web application penetration testing follows best practice testing methodologies published by NIST, OWASP, SANS and OSSTMM to identify all risks including OWASP (Open Web App 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 flaws, identified by the world’s top security researchers. ConnectDS perform full testing including the OWASP top 10, including but are not limited to:

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  • SQL injection  
  • 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 Tests

They are three different types of security testing/analysis; this applies to web application penetration testing, these are:

  • Black box testing – this is the closest to simulating a real-life cyber attack 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, ConnectDS provide unauthenticated or authenticated testing. During authenticated testing, you would provide the analyst 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 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 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; when this is signed, testing of your companies web applications will commence.

Common FAQs about Web Application Penetration Testing

Please see below for some common questions on our web app penetration testing, if you would prefer to speak to someone then pick up the phone and speak to one of our team in our Surrey or London offices.

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. 

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.

WAPT is a widely used acronym for “Web Application Penetration Testing” used by Cyber Security professionals globally.

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 ensure testing can commence securely and be completed successfully.

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.

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.

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.

web application penetration testing cost are based on the scope of the assessment, let us know your requirements in our scoping form available here and we can provide you with an accurate cost aligned to your assessment requirements.

The duration of an engagement is wholly dependant on the scope of engagement, a web application assessment. 

A Penetration testing agreement between all parties. This formal document is created to define the scope of the engagement and ensure that all assessment is compliant and performed in line with legal requirements.


Let us know your requirements and one of our team will get back to you with a full proposal and costs for our assurance and penetration testing services. We’re based in Surrey and London offices but work with businesses across the UK.