The 10 Best Web Application Penetration Testing Tools In 2023January 30, 2023
The Complete Checklist to Web App Pentest (OWASP Top 10)February 1, 2023
In hindsight, 2022 was a big year globally for cybercriminals who engaged in all manners of exploits to target unsuspecting businesses and their web applications. Amongst the global aggregate of the most critical vulnerabilities exploited by cyber criminals, an average of 33% reportedly used SQL injection, closely followed by 26.7% who preferred Cross-site scripting as the most favored modus operandi.
Other notable exploits that had a significant presence in the previous year were malicious file uploads, executable code injection, XXE, server-side template injection, authorization issues, server-side request forgery, OS command injection, and file path traversal.
For a business to avoid such attacks, it needs to understand when to conduct a web application penetration test and what it will help them achieve. This informative read aims to shed light on the test cases that may warrant the need to conduct penetration tests on your web applications.
When Should You Consider A Web Application Penetration Test?
The following are the web application problems that businesses can solve through penetration testing:
1. When You Need Information Security Compliance
Penetration testing is an absolute must if your organization’s web applications are struggling to achieve information security compliance.
Industry standards effectively decrease organizations’ attack surfaces, making them less susceptible to attacks and data breaches.
While most businesses must comply with standards, such as PCI, HIPAA, SOC type 1 & type 2, or NIST, they often need help to achieve this practically. Non-compliance often leads to damaging ramifications for web applications, including legal repercussions, operational disruptions, reputational damage, and financial losses.
Each of these undesired outcomes can potentially have a lasting negative effect on the business and its users. Financial losses can stem from the loss of customers due to broken trust or fines levied on the company due to non-compliance.
Every way you look at it, identifying and addressing information security compliance issues is a significant reason you must engage in web application penetration test.
Take an instance of a healthcare business’s web application failing to achieve compliance with the HIPAA security rule, which requires medical practitioners to protect patients’ electronically stored, protected health information (ePHI).
The security rule mandates that companies take suitable administrative, technical, and physical precautions to ensure patient data integrity, confidentiality, and security.
In such instances, conducting automated and manual penetration tests on the web application enables businesses to check, exploit, and remediate every aspect of the web app for vulnerabilities that may have otherwise been clear indicators to regulators of non-compliance.
Once the pentester completes the required tests and addresses all flaws, misconfigurations, and threats, businesses may meet compliance and acquire the appropriate certification for more than one globally recognized industry security standard.
SecureLayer7’s customized scanning reporting templates allow firms to achieve this effortlessly by supporting internal standards and other regulatory requirements. Through our continuous penetration tests, businesses can effectively protect their sensitive user and employee data allowing for smoother audits.
Companies guarantee that they remain protected and compliant by periodically scheduling our web application pen tests.
2. When You Need Proactive Vulnerability Validation
Check to see if your organization can proactively validate web application threats. It may be time to run an intrusive web app pentest if they cannot.
Vulnerability scanners are excellent security tools that can uncover thousands of underlying vulnerabilities with varying degrees of risk within live environments that may be significant to a business’s web applications.
For instance, a capable scanner leveraging the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) may identify and pinpoint vulnerabilities documented on the list along with their corresponding identification number.
More capable scanners can also conduct threat modeling to assign risk ratings based on their propensity and likeliness of causing immediate damage to the web application. Although this is a helpful approach, vulnerability scanners can also generate several false negatives and false positives that might lead to the developer overlooking high-risk problems or wrongfully marking them as low-risk increasing the business’s exposure to a devastating attack.
A better approach would be to follow up automated scanning with manual penetration tests to fully utilize a professional pen tester’s prowess to accurately identify false positives and false negatives and address all complex vulnerabilities appropriately.
The benefits provided by a combination of automated and manual web application penetration testing is an absolute must amongst businesses that suffer from similar issues arising from solely relying on vulnerability scanners to stay protected against exploits.
SL7 has finetuned its web application pentests from multiple case-specific solutions to help avoid such problems and achieve more streamlined outcomes.
3. When You Need Validation of Infrastructure Updates
You need penetration testing if your web application updates expose you to increased vulnerabilities.
Due to human error and unforeseeable faults, some updates and patches often create new vulnerabilities in otherwise secure web applications. This issue is especially true when businesses introduce a new product, feature, or functionality onto their web apps.
In such instances, attackers may uncover and exploit the vulnerability before the development and IT security teams become aware of its existence. When using such vectors, attackers have the unique opportunity to perform several malicious and damaging actions, such as gaining unauthorized access, stealing sensitive credentials, escalating privileges, and assuming administrative control.
Such problems cannot be mitigated without penetration testing on the updated web application before publicly launching the new updates. Pentests help test the web application’s security and iron out all the flaws in the upgrades before the public roll-out with reduced risk.
Regularly conducting penetration testing before making even minor changes to web applications is an excellent practice for uncovering and remediating potential flaws and exploits.
4. When You Need to Increase Workforce Awareness and Response Time
If your developers and IT team cannot respond to threats on time and are unaware of the latest threat vectors afflicting your web applications.
Irrespective of how good an organization’s security posture is against external threats, they need to understand that the most devastating breaches originate from internal sources. Internal pen tests are crucial to validate vulnerabilities within the organization’s firewall.
With hackers increasing their sophistication by leveraging phishing and social engineering tactics, many find it a significant challenge to secure their web applications from attacks due to employee mistakes or negligence. These problems are especially prominent when a substantial number of employees work remotely.
In such cases, the issues arise because employees access the company, its web applications, and networks through unsecured devices and locations.
On the other hand, a robust penetration testing service such as SecureLayer7 proactively assesses the business and its web applications to provide a clear picture of how exposed they are to falling victim to such exploits.
SL7 conducts active reconnaissance to check for vulnerabilities on the target system that an attacker may probe using methods such as web app fingerprinting, DNS forwarding & reverse lookup, and DNZ zone transfer. We also gather information from publicly available resources, including google syntax and enumeration of website subdomains through passive reconnaissance.
By doing so and identifying internal weak spots, you can mitigate the vulnerabilities and strengthen your stronghold against attackers that seek to exploit the vulnerabilities. SL7 then provides its clients with a business-oriented report detailing all possible vulnerabilities supported by threat assessments, risk assessments, findings, snapshots, and technical details.
5. When You Launch A New Application
You must run a comprehensive penetration test if your new web application has several notable misconfigurations, flaws, and vulnerabilities.
When launching a new application, the presence of underlying vulnerabilities, flaws, misconfigurations, and other issues is natural. The real problem occurs when businesses release their web applications to the public before uncovering and addressing them.
Unfortunately, most developers who lack the right penetration testing tools believe that all security issues have been addressed when they are not. In such cases, faulty applications are prime targets for hackers who don’t waste time in identifying and exploiting such security weak spots.
Regardless of your new web app’s security, subjecting them to a comprehensive penetration test is always a good practice. When you do so, the automated pentests will immediately spot the most common vulnerabilities, allowing you to strengthen your web apps for public access.
The target web application then undergoes manual testing by an experienced and knowledgeable team of pen testers who can identify and mitigate the more complex issues in your applications.
Safeguard Your Web Applications with SecureLayer7
SecureLayer7’s PtaaS application testing service is renowned amongst enterprises and SME organizations that leverage our application to implement and act on continuous pen tests.
Our web application penetration tests help customers to spot high-risk vulnerabilities such as using components with known vulnerabilities, SQL Injection, cross-site scripting, broken access control, broken identification & authentication, security misconfigurations, sensitive data exposures, XML external entities, insecure deserialization, server-side request forgery, and insufficient logging & monitoring which may result in severe attacks.
We are a highly research-oriented organization that keeps our clients optimally protected against emerging Zero Day vulnerabilities. Our hybrid approach to web application penetration testing leverages the strengths of both manual and automated scans to actively reduce false positives while uncovering vulnerabilities in resources, including web applications, mobile applications, cloud infrastructure, and servers.
SL7 provides full security service to your web application with automated and manual testing to identify and remediate all risks challenging your application security. Contact us to find out how we identify and mitigate all your web application vulnerabilities.
While emerging vectors continue to put businesses and their web applications at constant risk, the need for companies to conduct periodic web application penetration tests to maintain optimal security is apparent. This informative read aims to shed light on the most common test cases experienced by many that may indicate that your business’s web applications need a comprehensive penetration test.