The updated OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities of 2021 witnessed some significant changes with new threats such as insecure design, software, and data integrity failures, and server-side request forgery rising to secure spots amongst the top 10 most critical vulnerabilities of the year.
These emerging threats highlight the modern-day cybercriminal’ capacity to adapt and change their tactics to best the countermeasures developed by cybersecurity specialists. Today, a web application penetration test is undeniably the best way to combat such issues and address the numerous potentially damaging real-world exploits.
At the same time, it is challenging for businesses to circumvent the potential limits of human attention and memory and maintain the consistency of these tests without the help of a comprehensive checklist.
A checklist ensures that critical objectives are tested, and optimal outcomes are accomplished consistently on every run, guiding and reminding testers on the tasks to be done, what to look out for, where to look, points to be considered, and best practices to follow during the pen test.
It also enables testers to meticulously and methodically validate and address security threats in critical web application components such as authentication, authorization, configuration, session management, and data validation mechanisms.
This informative read aims to provide a comprehensive OWASP web app penetration testing checklist to enable developers to maintain complete consistency in their pen tests where no stone is left unturned.
Following this checklist may be precisely what your business needs to streamline your penetration tests and substantially decrease the likelihood of potential exploits to safeguard yourself against the emerging threats of 2023.
The OWASP Top 10 is a globally recognized industry standard for web application security and developers, which documents most of the known critical web application security risks.
This documentation is updated to reflect the Top 10 prevalent vulnerabilities every year to promote safer coding practices and create general awareness of the potential dangers present in web applications.
Leveraging the OWASP Top 10 is an excellent way for developers to arm their web applications against a growing list of possible exploits and, in most cases, instrumental in an application’s success. Here are the last updated OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities as of 2021:
Broken access control is a significant flaw where an attacker gains unauthorized access to web applications, sensitive data, or other resources by circumventing standard security procedures. This vulnerability will likely happen when businesses have incorrectly implemented permissions and access controls.
Cryptographic failures are vulnerabilities from weak encryptions, which attackers can exploit to access sensitive company and application data.
Injection and Cross-site Scripting (XSS) is a cyber-attack where an attacker injects malicious scripts into the input fields of a trusted or benign website. Through XSS attacks, cybercriminals use web applications to transmit this malicious code as browser scripts to other end users.
Insecure design is a form of vulnerability that arises from developers and IT security teams foreseeing and assessing potential flaws in the code design phase that may pose a significant threat later on. This attack frequently occurs when application developers fail to follow the best secure coding practices when designing their web applications.
Security misconfigurations are vulnerabilities that occur when the system or web application’s configuration settings are not configured or improperly configured, leading to an attacker gaining unauthorized access. Such problems frequently emerge when security teams and developers leave the configuration settings on default or perform incorrect configurations.
While security patches and updates for software keep them safe against emerging attack vectors, when they no longer receive such support, they become increasingly susceptible to attacks over time. Such attacks also occur when users don’t apply updates regularly, leaving the web applications vulnerable and open to several possible exploits. Such exposures caused by exposed software components are known as Vulnerable and Outdated Components.
Identification and authentication failures occur when the applications fail to authenticate and verify a user’s identity, who then goes on to access the system assuming a false unverified identity. This vulnerability commonly occurs with systems and applications that don’t implement effective authentication and session management functions.
Software and data integrity failures happen when attackers gain access to sensitive user and application information through integrity violations from unsecured infrastructure and code. The most common instances of this vulnerability are when web applications heavily rely on libraries, modules, and plugins from untrusted third-party sources, repositories, and content delivery networks (CDNs).
Security Logging and Monitoring Failures are vulnerabilities where attackers bypass or disable logging mechanisms to cover their tracks and mask their malicious activity within the application. In such instances, it becomes increasingly challenging for security teams to detect, track, and respond to attackers and their exploits.
Server-side request forgery (SSRF) is a vulnerability that allows the attacker to induce the server-side application to make illegitimate requests to forced locations. Through this vulnerability, attackers may be able to strongarm the server to connect to external systems to leak sensitive data such as login and authorization credentials.
Without any further delay, let us dive into the OWASP web application penetration checklist to conduct a thorough web app pen test:
The first step is to gather as much information about the target web application as possible.
Through authentication testing, you must run a series of checks to try and gain access to sensitive credentials to gain login access to the web app.
Authorization testing involves testing the target web app to understand how the authorization mechanism works. Any information gathered in this stage will be instrumental in circumventing the authorization mechanism.
Check directory and file enumeration review server and application documentation. Additionally, check the infrastructure and application admin interfaces.
The goal here is to check if the target application securely creates session tokens and cookies, with the hopes of forging a cookie to hijack user sessions.
It is time to validate the data and databases for potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited.
Carry out a denial of service or load testing on the target application to identify potential vulnerabilities to carry out DoS attacks.
In conclusion, if followed meticulously, this complete checklist should allow you to reduce operational failures, application errors, and loopholes in the application’s infrastructure.
Suppose you feel you need further assistance in conducting your penetration tests. In that case, several professional penetration testing service providers exist to help you implement thorough and effective penetration tests on your web applications.
SecureLayer7 is an internationally renowned professional continuous penetration testing company that helps customers spot high-risk web application vulnerabilities from the OWASP Top 10 list and those on frameworks such as SANS and NIST.
SL7 provides full security service to your web application with automated and manual testing to identify and remediate all risks challenging your application security.
We will also assist you in uncovering Zero Day vulnerabilities within a wide range of web applications and proactively and promptly address and disclose the issues. Once conducting the necessary tests, we provide comprehensive business-oriented reports detailing our findings, including security gaps identified in the web application, firmware, and thick client software.
Our client reports will also contain suggested threat mitigation solutions, their description, proof of concepts, and security exposure information. Leverage our API penetration testing to identify and prioritize vulnerabilities in the API endpoints to improve its overall security posture.
SL7 will ultimately deploy all necessary patch verifications to check if we have successfully fixed all vulnerabilities and thoroughly secured the web applications. Our services and the expert pen test team will guarantee high-quality results while considerably decreasing costs.
Contact us to find out how we identify and mitigate all your web app vulnerabilities.
The emerging cyber threats to businesses and the capability of the modern-day cybercriminal to adapt and change their tactics to best the countermeasures developed by cybersecurity specialists are underlining the necessity for thorough penetration testing. By streamlining these tests, businesses can routinely uncover and address vulnerabilities within critical components on every iteration to ensure that even the slightest exposure does not go overlooked. This informative read aims to provide a comprehensive OWASP web app penetration testing checklist to streamline and conduct consistent testing that circumvents the potential limits of human memory and propensity to perform errors.