How Do You Penetration Test a Web Application?

Online application development and configuration are demanding an increasing amount of resources as a result of rapid growth. With such considerable expansion also comes security concerns. There was an 18% increase in organizations’ security vulnerabilities between 2020 and 2021. Because of this rise in exposure, the five most common vulnerability categories for web application systems are:

  • Server security misconfiguration
  • Cross-site scripting
  • Broken access control
  • Sensitive data exposure
  • Authentication and sessions

Testing these vulnerabilities is essential for all app developers. In this blog, we are going to discuss penetration testing (pen testing) and how you can make sure your applications are secure.


What Is a Web Application Penetration Test?

Penetration testing for web applications uses manual or automated processes to simulate cyberattacks on a system. Finding security flaws in the web application and all of its components is the main goal of web application penetration testing. Web penetration testing enables end-users to see how likely it is that a hacker would gain access to their data through the application and how secure the web hosting site and server are. Prioritizing the identified threats and vulnerabilities and developing potential countermeasures is a main result of penetration testing.

Pen testing of web applications is done for the main purpose of making sure that online apps are secure and the risks are being detected, managed, and monitored. Other reasons for testing include:

  • To avoid unwelcome access
  • To meet industry compliance standards
  • To abide with the demands of internal security
  • To evaluate the efficiency of security measures
  • To find out if the fixes you put in place worked


Stages of Penetration Testing a Web Application

The processes involved in conducting a manual test are employed with the 4 stages of penetration testing on an active system:

  • Data Collection: The initial phase in the manual penetration testing process includes gathering information on table names, databases, third-party plugins, software setups, etc.
  • Vulnerability Assessment: The software penetration testing team reviews the data once it has been gathered to identify security risks or flaws that might expose the system to a security attack.
  • Launch Simulated Attacks: To discover further vulnerabilities and learn how to defend against attacks, the penetration testing team runs controlled attacks on the target system.
  • Report Preparation: The software testing team produces a report that details the test’s findings and the steps needed to secure the system after the system has been targeted and thoroughly examined for any potential vulnerabilities.


How Do You Test the Security of an Application?

By locating security flaws and vulnerabilities in source code, application security testing (AST) strengthens applications’ resistance to security attacks. There are 6 types of penetration testing tools available for organizations to use to ensure the safety and security of applications:

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST) employs a white box testing methodology, in which testers examine an application’s internal workings, analyze static source code, and highlight security flaws.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) uses a black box testing strategy. Without access to code, testers inspect it in real time, looking for security problems that may be exploitable. This might involve problems with query strings, requests and responses, script use, memory leaks, management of cookies and sessions, authentication, running third-party components, data injection, and DOM injection.
  • Interactive Application Security Testing (IAST) runs dynamically and inspects software as it is being used, similar to DAST tools. In order to simplify remediation, IAST tools can offer useful information about the underlying causes of vulnerabilities and the precise lines of code that are impacted. They are appropriate for API testing and have the ability to investigate source code, data flow, configuration, and third-party libraries.
  • Mobile Application Security Testing (MAST) integrates data provided by mobile apps with static analysis, dynamic analysis, and investigation. In addition to addressing mobile-specific concerns like jailbreaking, malicious WiFi networks, and data leakage from mobile devices, they may test for other security flaws as well.
  • Software Composition Analysis (SCA) helps organizations undertake an inventory of the open source and commercial third-party software components. SCA assists in determining which components and versions are actually in use, locating the most serious security flaws impacting those components, and figuring out the most straightforward course of action for resolving those flaws.
  • Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) interacts with programs, monitors traffic while they are running, and not only find and flag vulnerabilities but also actively stops assaults.

With these web application penetration testing tools, you’ll be able to fully test your web app’s security, keeping your end users safe. This is especially true because the traditional approach of once a year testing for compliance and PTaaS is a constant testing process.


Stay Safe with Penetration Testing as a Service

It’s clear that penetration testing is essential to make risks and vulnerabilities known and it’s then the duty of the company to improve the product and keep people safe. On top of that, risks that surface between testing are not identified by conventional one-off penetration tests and that can lead to issues with your application’s safety. With the help of our partner RedSpy365, your company may continually identify threats in real-time and understand their influence on your operations and finances so that remediation efforts can be prioritized. Safeguard your data and your business with real-time, consistent Penetration Testing as a Service (PTaaS) from InterVision. With PTaaS, you can improve risk management and protect your customers and partners. Visit our website today for more information!

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