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Web Application Security Testing- Tools, Methodologies and How To Perform It

Web application security is a popular topic in the IT industry today. With more and more data breaches happening every day, web app developers are racing to make their apps as secure as possible. However, traditional software testing techniques may not be enough for securing applications that use AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) or other technologies like HTML5 (Hypertext Markup Language). Web security testing tools can help find vulnerabilities at different stages of development and provide valuable feedback on how to fix them before they become problems later down the road.

The goal of this article is to introduce you to some of the most popular web application security testing tools and methodologies, along with giving you a glimpse of how to perform web application security testing so you can get better equipped for all your projects!

What Are The Popular Web Application Security Testing Tools?

The use of Web application security testing tools depends majorly on the specific needs of your organization. Do you have a custom-built website with unique code? You’ll need a tool that can scan for vulnerabilities in that code. Is your website built on popular frameworks such as PHP, ASP.NET, or Java? There are many scanners that can test for these vulnerabilities.

A variety of web application security testing tools are available on the market. The most popular ones include:

  • Astra Pentest
  • IBM Security AppScan
  • HP WebInspect
  • Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner
  • Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)

Let’s take a look at each of these tools and how they can help you during different stages of development.

1. Astra Pentest

This cybersecurity company aims at making security for online businesses simpler and easier to access. They offer a firewall, a malware scanner, an IP blocker, and a Country blocker which can help in fending off malicious attacks. Pentest suites and VAPT (Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing) are provided for companies wishing for a rigorous hunt for flaws and vulnerabilities in their systems. The pentests offered by them follow OWASP, NIST, and CREST methodologies all of which can be tailored to your needs.

2. IBM Security AppScan

Finds vulnerabilities in source code, such as cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, and other issues that could put your customers’ data at risk. It uses an agentless architecture to scan the application on its own without having to worry about installing any software or agents on your system(s). This is extremely valuable for organizations where time is crucial and every second spent deploying new IT security audit solutions would otherwise slow down deployment cycles and increase costs exponentially. A free trial version of this tool called “WASCE” also exists which allows users limited access but with full capabilities!

3. HP WebInspect

It is an automated web application security testing tool that scans for vulnerabilities. It can help find flaws in custom code, configuration issues, and business logic problems which are often the root cause of common cyber attacks. A key advantage to this particular product is its “out-of-the-box” functionality that requires no changes or configurations to the source web app being tested (although it does require some initial setup). This makes WebInspect extremely flexible since you don’t have to build out new test cases every time a change occurs on your website!

4. Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner

Helps identify SQL injection, cross-site scripting errors, eXtreme Programming (XP), and exploitable vulnerabilities within your PHP, ASP.NET, and Java web applications. It also has a built-in crawler that can automatically scan your website for pages and links that may be missed by other scanners.

5. Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer (MBSA)

It is a free tool from Microsoft that can help identify missing security updates, common security misconfigurations, and provides detailed reports on the overall health of systems running Windows Server 2003 SP0-SPN. MBSA integrates with popular Microsoft management products such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and Operations Manager 2007.

Each of these tools has its own strengths and weaknesses so it’s important to find the one that best suits your needs.

The Best Methodologies For Web Application Security Testing Tools?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most popular web application security testing tools, let’s take a look at the methodologies behind secure web application development.

Web application security testing methodology involves identifying and documenting common vulnerabilities, misconfigurations, default settings, and more. This helps with prioritizing necessary fixes which can be automated through web application security testing tools (similar to how you might identify problems in your car). There are several popular methodologies for performing manual Web app pen tests:

1. Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM)

This methodology is the most widely used manual for penetration testing within organizations. It provides a flexible process that can be tailored to any organization’s needs while making it easy to identify security risks and prioritize them based on importance.

2. The Digital Touchstone methodology

This approach takes a “risk-based” perspective to security and focuses on identifying high-value assets that need protection (such as credit card numbers or Personally Identifiable Information).

3. The Microsoft SDL Threat Modeling

This methodology was created by Microsoft and is typically used internally to evaluate new products or features. It provides a unique perspective on security testing but may be less applicable for organizations looking for something more customizable (although it can certainly still provide value!).

4. The Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES)

It is a framework for performing penetration tests. It provides a flexible blueprint that can be used to execute the test and includes details on what steps should be taken during each phase of development.

5. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

It is an open-source industry-standard guide that uses an agile approach to security testing. It is opted by companies like Microsoft as well! It provides detailed steps on what should be tested during each phase of development despite being less comprehensive than OSSTMM.

The OWASP outlines the following process:

  • Assessment- This phase includes understanding the business goals of the website and identifying what areas need to be tested. Place importance on having a clear plan on what you’re trying to achieve before starting any tests!
  • Discovery- In this phase, you’ll want to use automated scanning tools as well as manual techniques to find potential vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injections.
  • Analysis- Once you’ve found a vulnerability, this is the perfect time to exploit it! It’s recommended to create a proof of concepts during this phase so that they can be reported on later in case any issues arise when testing different web applications.
  • Remediation- Last but not least, once everything has been tested and all your results have been documented then it’s time to fix up those security holes before going live with your website or application. This last step is often the most difficult part since developers must go back over their code line by line looking for potential problems which could otherwise put their customers at risk!

Please note that all of the above methodologies are just a starting point and can be customized to fit your specific needs.

How to Perform Web Application Security Testing?

The process of performing web application security testing usually follows these five steps:

Step One: Planning- In this phase, you’ll want to develop a plan for how you will test the web application. This includes deciding which tools and methodology you will use as well as creating a target list of vulnerabilities to look for.

Step Two: Identifying Assets- In this step, you’ll want to identify all the assets that are associated with the web application being tested. This can include everything from the web server itself to user data and cookies.

Step Three: Gathering Data- Once you have your assets identified, you’ll need to gather information about each one to exploit them. This can include using automated scanners as well as manual testing techniques.

Step Four: Exploiting Vulnerabilities- Now it’s time to put your newly acquired data to work and exploit the vulnerabilities you discovered during your previous steps.

Step Five: Reporting- This is where things get interesting as now all of your findings must be translated into a report that can be delivered to stakeholders who may or may not understand security jargon. It’s also important at this stage to help educate others on how they should fix these issues for future development efforts which will prevent them from happening again in the first place!

Conclusion

If you are looking for a web application security testing tool or methodology, this article is the place to be! There are so many tools and methods that it can get overwhelming. But don’t worry because we’ll help guide you on how to find the right one based on your needs as well as what’s relevant in today’s market. This article also provides general steps on how to perform web app security testing, which would come in handy if you were new to all of this!

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