Web application security and mobile app penetration testing and pentesting

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 Web App security testing

  Web application security is an essential component of any web-based business organization. The internet’s nature globally tends to expose web properties to malicious attacks from various locations and varying scale and complexity levels.  Web application security deals with multiple security concerns surrounding websites, web applications, and other services like APIs. The primary purpose of web application security testing is to ascertain vulnerabilities and threats of a web application to help developers eliminate such vulnerabilities from the application, making sure that website and data are safe from any malicious attacks or actions.

  Web application security testing is essential because it helps protect websites and online services from various security threats that are likely to exploit different application code vulnerabilities. Web application security threats include; content management systems (Word press), SaaS applications, and database administration tools.

Figure 1: Web application security testing

Common types of Web app security vulnerabilities

 There exist a wide range of Web app security vulnerabilities, including:

  •  Cross-site scripting (XSS): This is a security threat that allows an attacker to inject scripts on the client’s website page to gather crucial information directly by impersonating the user or tricking the user reveal sensitive data.
  • SQL Injection: This is a technique that allows an attacker to exploit various exposures in a manner in which the database executes different search questions. The attackers usually use SQL injection to gain unauthorized access to information by creating or modifying new user permissions or even manipulating sensitive information.
  •  Denial –of service (Dos); the attacker gains access to information without permission by overloading the targeted web server or surrounding its infrastructure with various traffic attacks.
  • Corruption of Memory: This often happens when a memory is altered unintentionally, leading to unexpected software behavior. Cyber attackers are likely to sniff out and corrupt memories by injecting codes and other buffer overflow attacks.
  • Buffer overflow: This is abnormal behavior that occurs when malicious code is injected into the computer system’s memory or creates vulnerability or threat in the targeted device.
  • Data breach: this usually occurs due to malicious actions that compromise computer systems, thus altering confidential or sensitive data.

Types of Web application security testing

 Every person must understand the common types of security testing. The main ones include;

 Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): This technique looks for various vulnerabilities in the website application that an attacker is likely to exploit. This testing technique establishes which vulnerabilities an attacker is expected to target and how they can break into a computer system from outside.

 Static Application Security Testing: This is an inside-out approach that mainly looks at web app source code vulnerabilities. SAST method provides an accurate time of Web apps security.

 Application Penetration Testing: This is an App penetration testing technique that entails the human element. Security personnel will impersonate how an attacker is likely to break into a Web app using individual security to understand how attackers can penetrate the system and exploit valuable information. If you do not have web application testing services, you can source them from a third party.

Tips for Web Application Security Testing

  1. If your system is critical to your business organization, you need to test it frequently. If your computer system stores customer information like credit card numbers, Personally Identifiable Information, or any other sensitive data, it is essential to test it frequently for any vulnerabilities. Also, you are required to comply with various regulations and policies.
  2. Test the software design earlier to minimize vulnerabilities that may compromise computer systems, thus altering data.
  3. Also, it would help if you put in place security development teams to track any vulnerabilities that are likely to occur. It is essential to prioritize security threats and integrate them with bug tracking systems to ensure that computer systems are protected.

 It is crucial to test web application security for business organizations frequently to reduce the risk of vulnerabilities and keep their systems well protected from attackers.

Mobile Application Penetration testing

 Mobile security has become an issue of great concern in recent years. Mobile application testing is a must, given the rapid evolution of smartphones and smart devices that are very vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. As a result of rapid growth in the number of devices and applications, there has been tremendous growth in the number of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), financial information, and many more; this necessitates data protection.

 This why Mobile App penetration testing is very vital, especially to modern application developers.  As an app developer, it is essential to understand various ways of securing user data and finding out any vulnerabilities and gaps in the application that may result in security data breaches.

 Mobile app penetration testing is essential in dealing with various security issues on a network infrastructure that might compromise crucial data. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are extensively for individual and business purposes. In most cases, these devices carry essential sensitive information, and they are likely to become an easy target for malicious attackers.

     Mobile devices such as smartphones have become an essential part of our life, and various applications installed on them form a dominant part of digital interaction. Every one of us indeed uses four to Five Applications daily. Today, we can use our mobile applications to check almost everything right from bank accounts and the latest scores of various sports to shopping and even finding directions to multiple places. There is a mobile application virtually for everything. Today, mobile applications play a critical role in driving business activities for organizations.

Given the increased usage of mobile apps by organizations, it is imperative to secure and protect mobile apps to enhance business organizations’ efficiency and reputation. Besides, it is essential to ensure that user data, organization data, and intellectual property is protected and handled appropriately on all mobile applications. Therefore, mobile app security testing is crucial to help business organizations in combating various security threats.

  Figure 2:  Mobile Application Penetration testing process

 The mobile app penetration testing process involves the use of the mobile device. Emulators for the mobile app client systems such as Google Android Emulator and MobiOne will be used. After decompiling the application systems, you must use a code analysis tool to identify various source code vulnerabilities.

Application pen testing

 The application Pen testing is a simulated cybersecurity attack against your computer system to look for any exploitable vulnerabilities or threats. In the context of Web app security, Pen testing is used in augmenting the Web application Firewall.  The app pen testing helps ascertain various vulnerabilities and security threats and thus aiding software developers in eliminating such vulnerabilities from the application, thus making sure that website and data are safe from any malicious attacks or actions.

 Figure 3: Penetration testing stages

     The new application penetration testing spans from the conventional Web and Mobile App Pen testing to the emerging IoT and the blockchain Pen testing. The application Pen testing is an ethical hacking that emerged from the late nineteenth century. It is mainly aimed at detecting various security vulnerabilities and verifying and promoting multiple computer systems’ integrity. Today, App penetration testing is often included using numerous standards and models, ranging from the Open Source and the organizations-specific testing methods such as PCI-DSS pen-testing procedures.

Stages of App Pen testing

 The following are the steps that one should follow in executing the Application Penetration testing:

 Planning and Modeling security threats: This stage is vital because it promotes value creation through a penetration test. The risk-based and threat-aware testing cases of business organizations are critical in designing and bringing about actionable reports to meet various business needs.

 Gathering information and Reconnaissance: once an attack case is prepared, penetration testers are expected to launch their different automated tools and utilities to obtain a lot of information regarding the target as outlined within the scope. 

 Automated Vulnerability Scanning and Testing: This step involves scanning the target systems and application to identify and detect any security vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.

 Manual exploitation and Exploit development: once security vulnerabilities, penetration testers must expand the testing scope either vertically or horizontally and pursue the exploitation of findings.

 Remediation of preparation guidelines: This step involves preparing a penetration test report and make sure that it is readable. The software developers are required to provide clients with clear instructions on vulnerability remediation.

Verification of remediation: this is the last stage of application Pen testing that ensures that the recommendations are implemented successfully as documented to ensure compliance.

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