Web Application Penetration Testing (WAPT)
The primary objective behind a web application penetration test (WAPT) is to identify exploitable vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and technical flaws in applications before hackers are able to discover and exploit them. Web application penetration testing reveals real-world opportunities hackers could use to compromise applications in order to gain access to sensitive data or even take-over systems for malicious and non-business purposes.
A WAPT is a simulated attack carried out by our highly-experienced security engineers in an effort to:
- Identify application security flaws present in your environment
- Understand the level of risk any vulnerabilities pose for your organization
- Help address and fix identified application flaws
Web applications frequently store sensitive information… and may even provide an external access point to your network. In the technological world of today, people expect websites to be incredibly user-friendly. This has come with the unintended consequence of increasing vulnerabilities among web apps as developers enhance their user-interfaces and develop more dynamic functionality. In order to mitigate these weaknesses, application user-improvements should always coincide with associated security testing.
Benefits of a Web Application Pen Test
All web applications can benefit from a WAPT. At the conclusion of the web application penetration testing process, you will have an understanding of the vulnerabilities associated with your web application, along with the solutions you need to implement in order to address those security weaknesses.
- Identify specific security flaws present in your application(s)
- Reveal security vulnerabilities resulting from implementation errors
- Identify vulnerabilities associated with the application’s relationship to the network infrastructure
- Test for the existence of OWASP Top 10 risks and threats (at a minimum)
- Assess the application security versus potential real world attacks
- Identify security design flaws and exploit the most critical vulnerabilities (e.g. cardholder data)
- Meet any industry-related regulatory compliance standards
- View your applications through the eyes of a hacker
- Discover where you can improve your security posture
- Guidance to effectively remediate any uncovered vulnerabilities
The MainNerve WAPT Process
MainNerve’s web application penetration testing services utilize a comprehensive, risk-based approach to manually identify critical application-centric vulnerabilities that exist on all in-scope applications. We observe the web application penetration testing standard developed by OWASP. Our WAPT approach is based on the OWASP Testing Guide and our comprehensive methods cover the classes of vulnerabilities detailed in the OWASP Top 10. This can include, but is not limited to, SQL Injections, Cross-Site Scripting, Broken Authentication and Session Management, Cross-Site Request Forgery, Invalidated Redirects and Forwards, Security Misconfigurations, and more.
MainNerve performs each and every WAPT using the methods detailed under the OWASP Testing Guide. In order to ensure a sound and comprehensive web application penetration test, we leverage industry-standard frameworks as a foundation for carrying out each of our tests. Our methodology includes specific phases with continual reporting throughout the WAPT process.
At MainNerve, we consider the Reporting/Delivery phase of our WAPT process to be the most important. We take great care to ensure we effectively communicate the value of our service and findings as thoroughly as possible. Our main goal is to ensure that all information is clearly understood and that a roadmap toward remediation/mitigation is crystal clear. A WAPT Final Report with MainNerve includes:
- Executive Summary
- Statement of Scope
- Statement of Methodology
- Tools and Uses
- Testing Narrative
- Limitations (if applicable)
- Supporting Data
- Remediation Recommendations
- Risk Rating
Web Application Testing Specifics
At MainNerve, we employ testing tools such as OWASP Zed Attack Proxy, Burp Suite Professional, and more. Although we perform the bulk of our web application penetration tests using manual techniques, automated scanning is used in circumstances where testing is limited by time and resources. Automated testing can provide additional means of either confirming or invalidating security findings encountered throughout the testing process. That being said, it is our strong belief that an effective and comprehensive WAPT can only be realized through rigorous manual testing techniques.
What exactly is a web application?
A web application, or “web app”, is really nothing more than a client-server software application in which the client (or user interface) runs in a web browser. Essentially, web applications are programs that allow visitors to interact with a web site—such as submitting personal data. Features like webmail, login pages, support and product request forms, shopping carts, and content management systems are all common examples of web applications.
Why should I conduct a web application penetration test?
A web application penetration test is a simulated attack against an application from the perspective of a malicious hacker. The objective is to simulate a cybersecurity attack in order to uncover vulnerabilities that might otherwise be discovered by hackers. This is done in order to gain valuable insight into the security posture of your assets and be able to fix them before hackers can cause serious damage by exploiting them.
How long does it take to conduct a web application penetration test?
The overall time it takes to perform a web application penetration test depends on the size and complexity of the in-scope application(s). That being said, most tests take little more than a week to complete.
How much does a web application penetration test cost?
This question is not easy to answer until some level of scoping has been performed. Overall, the complexity of the application will ultimately determine its cost. For example, when determining the scope of work, we take into account the following: number of dynamic pages, user roles and permissions, etc. As discussed during the scoping section, we will determine the scope of the test by providing proposed rules of engagement. These rules will explicitly detail both in-scope and out-of-scope URLs and other resources.
What is the difference between a penetration test and a vulnerability assessment?
The short answer to this question involves exploitation and post-exploitation. Vulnerability assessments do not involve exploitation; however, will provide a complete listing of all vulnerabilities and risk ratings within the customer’s specified IP/URL range. Conversely, penetration testing goes well beyond a vulnerability assessment and delves into exploitation and post-exploitation phases.