Application Penetration Testing

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Web Application Penetration Testing

What is web application penetration testing?

Web application testing refers to the authorized stimulation of attacks on a system to evaluate its security. It aims at identifying the existing vulnerabilities of the system, testing the capabilities of the security policies in the system, and preventing any external and internal attacks on the system. Web penetration testers act as hackers and try to access the system just as hackers would. Web penetration application testing is performed in five different stages. They include

  • Reconnaissance - this is the most important stage of all. It involves gathering information from both public and private sources about the system at hand. The information later aids in identifying the target surfaces of the system and loopholes that could be easily
  • Scanning - penetration testers use various tools depending on what they find during reconnaissance. Tools such as selenium RC, web driver, and selenium grid are used to identify weaknesses in the system.
  • Vulnerability assessment - this involves subjecting all web apps to test to figure out how they interact with the software and identify the preexisting faults and exploitable weaknesses in the system.

  • Exploitation - after gaining access to the system, the web penetration testers then aim to modify the data in the system, move funds, erase data, or abuse it. This aids in portraying the possible impact of an attack on the system.
  • Reporting -this is a final report that shows the methodology used, findings, and recommendations to remedy the issues found. It acts as a future reference for the business and technical teams.


That being said, one can see that it is a worth-it practice for many businesses that rely heavily on technology for their operations.

Why is web application penetration testing important?

Web application penetration testing is crucial to the running of all cyber-enabled businesses as it helps identify the unknown drawbacks in their systems and allows them to patch them. This curtails the risks that would possibly occur upon their launch. 

Benefits of web application penetration testing

Various key benefits are gained by implementing web application penetration testing in a security system. These benefits include:

  • Identifying cyber security weaknesses - cyber security loopholes can vary from weak administration passwords to outdated software, which can easily be turned into access points by hackers. Inadequate training in users, unpatched software, and loose access permissions are easily identified in risk assessment. Therefore immediate action is taken to remedy them hence making the system secure.
  • Ensuring that cyber security is compliant - many businesses are tied down by compliance requirements, so their websites must be verified and documented as safe for their smooth operations.
  • Giving insight into the methods of a hacker -during the pen test in the exploitation stage, cyber engineers use the same technics as hackers. The process is helpful since you gain knowledge of the operation methodology of hackers.
  • It gives peace of mind in knowing that your system has been tested -reassurance is a comforting feeling, whether in business or personal matters. Knowing that your system has been assessed enables people to work at ease as there are minimal possible threats.


Types of web application penetration testing

There are three different types of web application penetration testing. They carry on the amount of information given to the tester before the test. They are as follows:
1. Black box - in this stage, the tester has no information whatsoever about the internal structure of the target system. The tester, therefore, tries to exploit any external weaknesses that may suffice.
2. Grey box - here, the tester has some knowledge about the internal structure of the target system. The information may include internal data structures, algorithms, and codes. With this information, they may attempt to design documents or change the systematic programming of the system.
3. White box - here, the tester has access to the source, code binaries, containers, and even the server running the system. This is the easiest and most efficient type of pen testing as it provides the most assurance within a very short period.

Web Application Penetration Testing vs. Vulnerability Scan - What is the

Web application penetration testing refers to subjecting a system to potential cyber-attacks to
evaluate its security capacity. Cyber engineers usually do it to identify unknown drawbacks of
the target system.

A vulnerability scan, however, is a computerized program formulated to analyze computers, networks, or applications for known susceptibility of the target system.

The main difference is that web application penetration aims at discovering the unknown susceptibility while vulnerability scan focuses more on the r known. Vulnerability scans are also cheaper than web application penetration tests.

Broken Access Control

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SQL, NoSQL, OS command, Object Relational Mapping (ORM), LDAP, and Expression Language (EL) or Object Graph Navigation Library (OGNL) injection

Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF)

SSRF flaws occur whenever a web application is fetching a remote resource without validating the user-supplied URL. It allows an attacker to coerce the application to send a crafted request to an unexpected destination, even when protected by a firewall, VPN, or another type of network access control list (ACL)

Vulnerable and Outdated Components

It was #2 from the Top 10 community survey but also had enough data to make the Top 10 via data. Vulnerable Components are a known issue that we struggle to test and assess risk and is the only category to not have any Common Vulnerability and Exposures (CVEs)