Home » What, How and Why of Web App Penetration Testing

Publication date: January 6, 2023

What, How and Why of Web App Penetration Testing

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Written by Angela Polania

Angela Polania, CPA, CISM, CISA, CRISC, HITRUST, CMMC RP. Angela is the Managing Principal at Elevate and board member, and treasurer at the CIO Council of South Florida.

As the digital world continues to rapidly expand, organizations must be increasingly aware of the potential risks associated with their web applications. One way to ensure your company’s security is through penetration testing. Penetration testing is a security measure that helps you identify and fix vulnerabilities or weaknesses in your web applications before malicious actors can exploit them. Let’s take a deeper look at what exactly web-app penetration testing entails.

What Does Web-App Penetration Testing Involve?

Web-app penetration testing involves simulating real-world attacks against your web applications in order to uncover known and unknown vulnerabilities. The goal of this type of testing is to find potential weaknesses in the web application code that attackers might be able to exploit. This type of test should be conducted by an experienced security professional who has the knowledge and tools necessary to identify any potential risks or weaknesses.

The process begins with a vulnerability scan that allows the security professional to identify any known vulnerabilities in the system. They will then use specialized tools and techniques in order to test the system for more complex issues such as input validation flaws, authentication bypasses, cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws, SQL injection flaws, and more. Once all tests are complete, the security professional will provide a detailed report on their findings along with recommendations for how you can address any identified risks or vulnerabilities.

There are several steps involved in conducting a web application pen test. The first step is to gather information about the target system or application. This may include gathering information about the technologies and platforms being used, as well as any public information about the organization or application.

Next, the tester will identify any potential vulnerabilities in the system or application. This may involve using automated tools to scan the system or manually examining the code and architecture of the application.

Once potential vulnerabilities have been identified, the tester will attempt to exploit them to see if they can gain unauthorized access to the system or application. This may involve attempting to bypass security controls, such as login pages or access controls, or attempting to execute malicious code on the system.

If the tester is successful in exploiting a vulnerability, they will report the issue to the organization and provide recommendations for how to fix it. This may involve patching the system, updating software, or implementing additional security controls.

It is important to note that web application pen testing should only be performed by trained professionals who have a deep understanding of cyber security and web application development. Conducting a pen test without the proper knowledge and expertise can result in damage to the system or application being tested, and can also potentially leave it more vulnerable to attack.

Why Is Web-App Penetration Testing Important?

Web application penetration testing is vital for any organization that relies heavily on their online presence for business operations or customer engagement. It helps ensure that your system remains secure from malicious actors who may try to exploit weaknesses in your system for financial gain or other nefarious purposes. Additionally, it also ensures regulatory compliance with industry standards such as PCI DSS and GDPR ensuring your company avoids hefty fines due to noncompliance violations.                                                                                                                                                                    Web application pen testing is a crucial part of ensuring the security of any system or application that is connected to the internet. By regularly testing and identifying vulnerabilities, organizations can take steps to fix them and protect themselves from potential attacks.

In short, web application penetration testing can help protect your organization from potential cyber attacks by identifying risks and helping you close these loopholes proactively before they can be exploited by malicious actors. It’s an essential part of keeping your systems secure and compliant with industry regulations while also giving you peace of mind knowing that your organization’s data is safe from external threats. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to increase your website’s security posture, web application penetration testing could be just what you need! Contact Elevate to inquire about our pentesting services.

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