The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To OWASP Penetration Testing
With technology continuously evolving, securing web applications can become a daunting task. To do this, we have compiled this article so you can kick start your penetration testing process bearing in mind the OWASP top ten which will prove to be crucial. We will cover what penetration testing means in web applications, how you can perform OWASP penetration testing, and the benefits of doing this.
Table of Contents
What is penetration testing?
Pen testing or penetration testing is one of the many ways to secure a web application. It stands out from other security methods as it directly attempts to exploit security vulnerabilities in a system or network. This can be done manually which generally takes longer or you can do this with the help of automated tools. The main purpose of penetration testing is to find and fix any security flaws before they can be exploited by malicious actors.
What is the OWASP Top 10
The OWASP Foundation goes on to compile a list of the ten most popular security risks observed in web applications. Starting from 2007, this list has been updated annually.
The top ten security risks in web applications as of 2021 are:
- Broken Access Control – failure to properly implement access restrictions
- Cryptographic Failures – use of poor cryptographic algorithms that can be easily cracked
- Injection and Cross-Site Scripting – room for attackers to inject malicious scripts or modify databases
- Insecure Design – inadequate use of secure coding practices
- Security Misconfiguration – wrongly configured security settings by users and owners
- Vulnerable and Outdated Components – delay or failure to deliver security patches on time and use of outdated software, firewall, antivirus, etc.
- Identification and Authentication Failures – failure to keep track of user behaviour
- Software and Data Integrity Failures – unauthorized access to data or source code
- Security Logging and Monitoring Failures – lack of or improper logging and monitoring mechanisms
- Server-Side Request Forgery – attackers can inject illegitimate requests that are executed by the server
These are the top ten blunders that developers make when creating websites. If exploited, it can result in significant problems for your firm, including data theft, financial loss, or a bad name for your company’s reputation.
Why use the OWASP Top 10 for penetration testing?
Cybercriminals thrive off these top ten vulnerabilities and if you don’t want to make the task any easier for them, these ten risks should be a priority when eliminating bugs in your web application. The OWASP Top Ten is a great resource for pen testers as it provides a classification of the most common security vulnerabilities. It also serves as a guide on how to properly test web applications and find and fix any flaws before they can be exploited.
How do I perform OWASP penetration testing?
There are many ways that you can go about performing OWASP penetration testing. The most common approach is to combine manual testing with automated penetration testing tools. We recommend the following approach:
- The first step is to identify the areas of your web application that you want to test. This can be done by reviewing the OWASP Top Ten or simply browsing through the website and noting any potential vulnerabilities. Once you have identified the areas to target, you can begin testing.
- The next step is to perform a manual penetration test on your application and identify any potential problems. This involves using both automated tools as well as software that have been created by security experts to help find vulnerabilities within web applications. There are many different tools and services available for this task such as Astra Security, Burp Suite, etc.
- The final step is to perform a vulnerability assessment of your web application which will determine if there are any flaws within the application that could result in malware infection or data theft by cybercriminals. A good practice would be to do this regularly so that you identify bugs that may have been overlooked in the past.
How will you benefit from including the OWASP top ten in your penetration testing?
There are many benefits to performing OWASP pen testing on your web application.
- The main benefit is that it can help identify and fix any security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by cybercriminals.
- This can also help protect your firm from financial loss, data theft, or a bad name for your company’s reputation.
- Another benefit of OWASP penetration testing is that it can help you identify areas for improvement within your web application which will make the website more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
- A bonus by-product of going through with OWASP penetration testing is that any unnecessary functionality may get removed, thus making it faster for users to complete their tasks on the site.
- Finally, OWASP penetration testing can help you identify any compliance issues that your web application may have. This is significant for businesses that are required to adhere to specific security standards or regulations.
The OWASP Top Ten is a classification of the most common web application security risks and should be used as a guide when performing penetration tests on your web application. There are many benefits to OWASP penetration testing that can help protect your company from financial loss, data theft or simply safeguarding your firm’s reputation while also making the website more user-friendly and easier to navigate.