Web applications are a key component of any business's online presence. These include ecommerce websites, social media platforms, and online banking systems.
Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to break into these apps and steal sensitive information. This is why regular web application security testing is important to keep your digital assets protected from malicious attacks.
Web applications are often vulnerable to cyber attacks, especially because of the personal data they house and the online transactions they facilitate. Therefore, it is vital to perform regular security testing on them.
During the process, security experts and developers work together to identify vulnerabilities in the code. This will allow them to plug the gaps and make the application more secure.
To identify vulnerabilities, security testers should be familiar with the HTTP protocol and at least know how to test for SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS). They also need to have a good understanding of the application's server configuration.
Once the vulnerabilities are identified, they need to be assessed for their impact on business operations and potential damage. This is typically done by a joint effort between security staff, development and operation teams.
Identifying Entry Points
Web application security testing is a vital part of any software development process. It helps organizations maintain a secure, scalable environment that prevents malicious hackers from gaining access to sensitive data.
It also minimizes the financial setbacks associated with exposing vulnerabilities, which can lead to negative press and diminish customer loyalty. Frequent security testing ensures that businesses avoid these pitfalls entirely by proactively identifying and addressing threats before they have the opportunity to disrupt services or applications.
Once a web application is ready for testing, the tester needs to zero in on all possible entry points and vulnerabilities within the software. This is called the Ground Zero stage.
Identifying Cross-Site Scripting
Cross-site scripting is a dangerous web security vulnerability that allows an attacker to gain control of a vulnerable application. It allows them to impersonate the user and perform actions on their behalf, and access their sensitive data.
XSS can be prevented by sanitizing all user input as it arrives in the application and preventing it from being escaped or injected into other parts of the application. This can be done by filtering or encoding user input, depending on what the input is used for.
There are several types of XSS vulnerabilities, including reflected, stored, and DOM-based attacks. The most straightforward variety is reflected XSS, which occurs when the attacker's script is included in the response that the browser sends to the server, as soon as it receives it from the application.
Identifying SQL Injection
One of the most important vulnerabilities in web application security testing is SQL Injection (SQLi). This is a type of vulnerability that occurs when attackers are able to inject malicious SQL queries into a web page to execute actions on behalf of the site.
A successful SQL injection attack can allow a hacker to access and steal email addresses, usernames, passwords, credit card information, and other sensitive data. It also allows hackers to exfiltrate data from a web server, allowing them to use that data for nefarious purposes.
The most effective way to prevent SQL Injection attacks is by ensuring that all user input is validated and properly sanitized. This includes both public and internal user input such as forms.
Identifying HTTP GET Vulnerabilities
In web application security testing, it is important to identify HTTP GET vulnerabilities. These are issues that allow attackers to gain access to sensitive data and user accounts.
Typically, this type of attack requires that an attacker is aware of the HTTP protocol. In addition, it is important to have a tester who understands how the client and server communicate using this protocol.
Request smuggling attacks occur when different front-end and backend servers interpret the boundaries of an HTTP request differently. This can result in deviations from RFC specifications with regard to the Content-Length and Transfer-Encoding headers.