It could be devastating to see your website being hacked after investing enormous resources to set it up. Such a feeling could be worrisome and the experience might be frustrating. Web penetration could be faced by owned web applications or organizations. So, all you have to do is to relax and read through as you will be taken through web application penetration testing tools, methodologies, and all you need to know to avoid a further breach of your web application or to prevent it if you haven’t had the experience. 

A reminder that a web application means software or program which is accessible using any web browser while a website means a collection of interlinked web pages that are globally accessible and have a common domain name.

What is web application penetration testing?

Web application penetration testing is a technique used to examine how vulnerable a web application is. If you want to make sure that your web application is free of vulnerabilities then web application penetration testing is what you should do. 

Web application penetration testing ensures that your web applications aren’t susceptible to attack. The goal is to identify security patch over the whole web application (root code, database, back-end network) and also help to list the identified risks and vulnerabilities, and viable ways to eliminate them. 

Web application penetration testing methodology

Since there are different web applications and each demands unique testing style, therefore testing is carried out from a list of widely accepted methodologies. Typically, a web application penetration testing methodology involves;

  • Information gathering – information concerning the web architecture, information leakage, web service integration, and other associated information to give the tester a guide
  • Installation of tools for experimentation. Examples of such tools include: N-Stalker, Sand Cat;
  • Understanding firewalls and other security protocols.
  • Platform testing and configuration
  • Error handling and data validation testing
  • Encryption related protection testing
  • Client-side and business logic testing.
  • Tests report generation and remedies suggestion
  • Vulnerabilities retest and cleanup

To be certain about the validity of testing methodologies, such method could be compared with some other testing methodology benchmark such as; Penetration Testing Framework (PTF), Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), or Information Systems Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF). 

With all the processes put to use and they do not perform below the testing methodology benchmark such as examples given above, you can be confident of the safety of your web application. Web application penetration testing methodology can be mitigated by security professionals by detecting any concerns and highlighting any weaknesses inside your sites.

How long does it take to perform a web application security test?

The duration of performing a web application penetration security test is usually between 3 to 10 days. The duration depends on the testing type, the number of systems and obstacles encountered. Testing could be manual or automated. The time taken to complete manual testing is usually longer than an automated one.

 Web application penetration testing tools

As stated earlier, there are many web application penetration testing tools, but the validity of a testing tool depends on the type of task it is meant for. Listed below are some open source web application penetration testing tools:

  • Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)
  • Wfuzz
  • Wapiti
  • W3af
  • SQLMap

And Evolve, our Security Automation Platform, that reduces your security costs and augments your Security Team by automating your Penetration Testing, Third-Party Vendor Monitoring, Incident Response, Compromised Account Monitoring, On-Demand SIEM with EDR, DNS Sinkhole and Cyber Threat Intelligence. Click here to start a free trial.

web application penetration testing evolve

Web application penetration testing best practices

Some best practices that could be indulged in web penetration testing are:

  • Adoption of a cybersecurity framework
  • Making security everyone’s business (especially for corporate/big business web app)
  • Know your web assets
  • Incorporate security into web development practices
  • Fix vulnerabilities as soon as it is detected
  • Automate and integrate
  • Test your defenses

All above- listed web application penetration test practices are suggested for all sizes of business from startups and small scale enterprises to multinational companies.

Web application penetration testing checklist

Man-in-the-middle tests, as well as cloud storage tests, are factors to be considered in penetration testing

Typically, the things to be done in pen testing include; 

  • Conduct search engine exploration for leakage of information
  • Retrieve and evaluate files on robot.txt
  • Review content of web page
  • Assess the software edition, database information, the technical error part, coding errors when requesting invalid pages.
  • Examine the configuration of network infrastructure
  • Analyze the sources code from the front end of the application accessing pages
  • Test retention of sensitive information by file extensions
  • Check CAPTCHA for presenting or not presenting authentication vulnerabilities.
  • Cloud storage test
  • Testing the manipulation of roles and privileges to access resources
  • Check cryptography and error handling
  • Test by checking Encryption for Exposed Session variables
  • Data validation testing
  • Conduct a Directory Traversal Attack to access and execute Restricted Directories commands from outside the root directories of the Web server
  • Use vulnerability scanning software such as HP web inspect, Evolve conduct vulnerability scanning to identify the network vulnerability and decide whether it is possible to exploit the device.
  • Conducting a MITM (Man-in-the-middle) attack by blocking communications between end-users and web servers to access confidential information.

The web application penetration testing checklist isn’t restricted to the above but the listed have been streamlined to give a reliable outcome in pen-testing.

Web application penetration testing cost

Web application penetration testing cost varies with varieties like; objective, scope, approach, skills and service. Typically, a web application penetration testing costs between three thousand dollars to a whopping amount of a hundred thousand dollars. For small scale businesses, don’t fret! Get a professional that would give you the best of service and you could talk out the price with the person. It is better to spend little on running a security test before your web app is breached than to spend a lot after it has been penetrated.  It is never a wrong deal to spend reasonable costs on your web application penetration testing.