Penetration testing, or pen testing for short, is one of the most commonly used cybersecurity protocols for web applications. The premise of pen testing is to simulate unauthorized cyberattacks, both internally and externally, to gain access to sensitive information.
The end-user essentially behaves as a hacker would, exploiting potential vulnerabilities, but in a controlled environment. The point is to find any security vulnerabilities so they can be patched.
I’ve prepared this in-depth piece to guide you on what’s involved in the complex and systematic process that is web application pen-testing.
Create a Foundation
By creating a foundation of the basics of pen testing, you’ll be better equipped with the knowledge you need to locate any vulnerabilities and understand the context necessary to assess risks.
Consider checking out Mozilla’s web development series to gain a more in-depth understanding of what’s involved. Here are some guides you should check out:
- Web APIs
- Character Encodings and Localizations
- XML Parsing and Serializing
Understand Programming Language Structuring
To get a handle on pen testing, it isn’t necessary to master programming languages, but it is important to understand how they’re structured. It’s also useful to have some sense of command line.
Configure a Proxy
The best way to start web app scanning is to use Burp Suite Community Edition. It’s a pretty basic proxy that intercepts HTTP traffic so requests can be manually altered.
To configure a proxy, you should use a virtual lab. Consider setting up Kali Linux, a great software application that comes packaged with all the tools you’ll need for pen testing.
Though every web application will demand different kinds of tests, you can always refer to some of the more well-established standards and methodologies available.
Here are some of them:
- OSSTMM (Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual)
- OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project)
- ISSAF (Information Systems Security Assessment Framework)
- PTF (Penetration Testing Framework)
- PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)
If you’re considering hiring a cybersecurity consultant to help you determine the kind of information security strategies you need to implement to protect sensitive data, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m a certified information security manager with extensive experience in helping organizations from various industries devise cybersecurity protocols and measures to ward off sophisticated and invasive cyberthreats.
Get in touch with me for more information on my services.