A Fundamental Guide on Web App Penetration Testing
August 4, 2022
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Web app penetration testing has become more crucial than ever as the activity of hackers has increased multiple times. If you haven’t heard about web app penetration testing before and are thinking about launching app services or an application/app specific to your brand, it is a must for you to know about web app penetration testing services in detail.


What is Web App Penetration Testing?

Web App penetration testing refers to the testing in which a service provider simulates attacks on a web application as an attempt to gain access to sensitive data with the purpose of identifying whether the web app is secured or not.


These assaults on the web apps are done either internally or externally to provide critical information about the target system, identify vulnerabilities within the system, and uncover threats and exploits that could compromise your system.

Think of it as a health checkup of your web application as it reveals and informs the web app testing professionals whether remediation and security measures are required or not and if yes, then in what areas.


What is the purpose of using Web App Penetration Testing?

Web app penetration testing is used as a part of a comprehensive security assessment to improve threat and vulnerability management. When a security assessment is done, a company’s cyber assets and systems are inventoried, analyzed, and scanned to reveal vulnerabilities.


Once vulnerabilities are detected, then they are tested to check if they are exploitable by hackers and malicious programs through penetration testing. In short, penetration testing aims to show if a vulnerability is real and what the risk of exploitation for that vulnerability is.


Web app pen testing specifically targets applications with browser-based clients. In today’s companies, this spans a large number of applications as they are widely used. That’s why web penetration testing plays a central role in any modern cyber security implementation.


Web-facing applications can provide malicious actors access to personal information, protected health information, intellectual property, and also unwanted access to sensitive systems and assets. This makes web-based clients more susceptible to malicious attacks.


Unlike physical systems and assets, web-based applications are more exposed to outside attacks. Therefore, web app penetration testing aims to regularly assess cyber security implementation to determine if the detected vulnerabilities are exploitable and what the associated risks are.


What are the fundamentals of Web App Penetration Testing?

At its core, web app penetration testing involves a cyber security professional assaulting a web application and attempting to gain access to the systems that a malicious attacker should not have access to. If a web app penetration tester gains access through vulnerability, then the tester further attempts to exploit that access to further penetrate the system just like an attacker would do.


All this is done to identify any weak spots and vulnerabilities before malicious actors do, find the extent of risks, and then eliminate or minimize them to make the systems more secure.


It can be done indifferent ways and it uses different tools. In some cases, a cyber security professional attempts to use hacking tools that are readily available to hackers on systems in a sandbox environment. In other cases, professionals may conduct testing against live systems to assess real-world common vulnerabilities.


What are the different types of Web App Penetration Testing?

Generally, web app penetration testing is done in one of three ways: black box, white box, and grey box testing. Each of these tests comes with perks and drawbacks; however, all of them have the same goal - to gauge the security of web-based applications, identify vulnerabilities, and reveal the associated risks.  


Black Box: In black box penetration testing, a tester has no prior knowledge of the target and is expected to gather information about the target through the course of a penetration test, assess web-based applications, find vulnerabilities, and attempts to exploit those vulnerabilities. Its main benefit is that it mimics the course of a malicious attack. However, it is time-consuming and labor-intensive.


White Box: In this testing, a tester already has information about the web applications, organization, and vulnerabilities that they are testing. It is more common than black box testing and is used to target specific vulnerabilities to assess the associated risks. But they lack the comprehensive reconnaissance required during black box testing.


Grey Box: This testing combines the process of both a white box and a black box. In this testing, a penetration tester will typically have some intel about the target but won’t have details at a granular level.


What are the benefits of Web App Penetration Testing?

There is a wide range of key benefits of using web app penetration testing and that justifies why it is essential to the security of your web applications.


1.     Helps meet compliance requirements

Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is mandatory in various industries to meet compliance requirements and regulations.


2.     Helps assess your resources

Your resources that develop the web applications can be assessed by gauging how well they are doing in the development and testing process. Besides, public infrastructure such as firewalls and DNS servers can also be tested because any changes made to the infrastructure can make a web application vulnerable. Web app penetration testing can help identify real-world attacks that are made to access these applications.


3.     Helps identify vulnerabilities

Web app penetration testing also helps identify and pinpoint loopholes in applications and find vulnerable routes in infrastructure before an attacker does.


4.     Helps ensure security policies

If you have security policies (which you should) in place, web app pen testing can assess existing security policies to see if there are any weaknesses.


Hire Top-Quality Web App Penetration Testing at Royale LLC

At Royale LLC, we conduct web app penetration testing by using the black box approach to assess the security of your web applications. We aim to recognize the weaknesses in your web applications and then guide on the most proficient method to fix those vulnerabilities so that you can correct them before any malicious hackers exploit them. So, if you are ready to strengthen the security of your web applications and browser-based clients, get in touch with us today.