7 Best Practices for Testing Web Applications

Are web applications secure? To answer this question we need to take web application security testing into consideration. Web app security testing is a process by which web apps are analyzed for vulnerabilities and risks in order to identify the methods of exploitation that could be used against them. There are many tools and methodologies, such as penetration testing, black-box web application security testing, white-box web application security testing, etc., but these best practices can also help you when it comes to testing your web application for security:

1) Conduct Baseline Vulnerability Scans

The web app security testing process starts with a baseline scan that looks for known vulnerabilities. This will allow you to have an idea of the state of your web application’s security and make it easier to identify possible flaws in its design, configuration or implementation if they are not addressed right away.

2) Install Updated Patches and Updates

If web application security testing identifies any vulnerabilities in the web app, it is crucial to install all necessary patches and updates right away. If you fail to do so, hackers may find them first and exploit them.

3) Use Web Application Firewalls (WAFs)

WAFs are great for web applications that handle sensitive data or receive high traffic volumes. However, they must be installed correctly otherwise their effectiveness will decrease substantially. It’s also important to note that not every vulnerability can be prevented by a WAF; it is still required to perform regular web app security testing in order to make sure there aren’t other risks present.

4) Conduct Internal Code Reviews Often Enough

It’s important to have web application security testing done by a team that has experience in web app security. Developers and web app security experts should work together on web applications because this will allow them to identify any vulnerabilities, risks or insecure coding practices present during the development process itself. This approach is also more efficient than performing web application security audits after the code is finished..

5) Secure Authentication Mechanism

Passwords are not enough when it comes to user authentication for web apps – even if their strength level meets industry standards. In order for your web application to be secure, you must implement two-factor authentication (password + something else) or use an external service that provides multi-factor auth. If passwords are used, make sure they meet web app security standards for password strength, length and complexity.

6) Encrypt Web Application Data at rest or in Transit Using Strong Algorithms, keys & Ciphers.

The web app must encrypt all sensitive information (such as passwords) that is stored on its servers or sent over the wire through protocols like SSL/TLS. Make sure to use well-known encryption algorithms such as AES which are considered secure even against quantum computers..

7) Implement an IDS (Intrusion Detection System)

An IDS is a web application security testing tool that sits at the network level and monitors all traffic in the web app, its protocols and ports. If it detects any irregularities or anomalies, it can block them even before they are exploited by hackers for their purposes.

Common vulnerabilities found in web application security testing:

●     Web Application Defacement

If web app security testing finds an authentication bypass vulnerability, hackers may be able to alter the web app in order to change its content – including text and images. This is known as web application defacement. Even if they don’t have access permissions for it, skilled attackers can use this technique in order to trick users into doing something that will help them exploit other vulnerabilities or gain control over the web app’s backend infrastructure.

●     SQL Injection

SQL injections are one of the most common web application vulnerabilities which allow attackers to run commands directly on a database server through poorly written queries executed by web applications. If successful, these attacks could result in stolen data, corrupted databases, even remote code execution.

●     Broken Authentication and Session Management

If web application security testing finds a vulnerability that allows hackers to hijack user sessions, they could steal information or achieve remote code execution. Such vulnerabilities may be exploited by sending specially crafted requests (usually containing valid cookies) which will trigger some type of abnormal behaviour on the web app’s backend. This can also result in account takeover, where attackers assume other users’ identities.

●     Cross Site Scripting (XSS)

This web application issue is often confused with SQL injection attacks because it has similar effects – data theft. However, XSS uses scripts written in HTML/JavaScript languages instead of database queries. These types of injections are invisible to most users but not for web app security testing tools that can show them in a web browser. XSS usually occurs when web apps don’t escape user input before displaying it on the web page.

●     Insecure Direct Object Reference

This vulnerability might be caused by the insecure implementation of web forms and URLs that use parameters to access data from back end databases. This approach has its pros – it allows web applications to directly interact with backend systems without any additional requests (e.g. adding, editing etc.) However, if not implemented properly, these types of vulnerabilities may enable hackers to bypass authentication or assume other users’ identities.

●     Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

These web application issues occur when one website/domain sends repeated unauthorized commands to another site/domain where web apps use security tokens to prevent unauthorized access. CSRF vulnerabilities usually occur when web app developers fail to implement proper validation on the client-side or do not include a unique session token in every POST/GET request sent from their web application.

●     Insecure Cryptographic Storage

If web applications store data with encryption, hackers may find a way around it by using brute force attacks. They can try different combinations of passwords until they get the right one and gain control over sensitive information stored within this web application..

●     Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities

It is recommended that web applications are developed following certain coding guidelines which will help make them more secure against exploits such as stack overflow, code injection etc. Web servers should also be patched immediately when new vulnerabilities are found.

Conclusion:

Web applications security testing is a complex process that requires web app penetration testing and web developers to follow best practices in order to make web apps more secure. With so many web applications being developed every day, security testing is more important than ever. Web application security is paramount to ensuring that your company’s data remains safe and secure from intruders who may want to steal it, modify it, or destroy it. Always be sure you are using a reputable tester with extensive experience in this area of expertise if you need someone on staff with these skills.