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Web Application Security Testing


Web Application Security Testing: Complete Guide 2022

How does security testing work?

Application security testing is a procedure that determines whether or not secret information remains that way (i.e., it is not exposed to people or entities for whom it is not intended) and whether users can only carry out the tasks for which they have been given permission.

For instance, a user shouldn’t be able to prevent other users from using a website’s functionality or changing a web application’s functionality inadvertently, etc.

Several Important Terms for Security Testing

It would be helpful to become familiar with a few words that are regularly used in web application Security Testing before moving on.

“Vulnerability” – what is it?

The online application has a flaw because of this. Such “weakness” may result from application defects, script code injection, virus contamination, or other factors.

“URL Manipulation” – what is it?

Some online applications use the URL to transmit additional data between the client (browser) and the server. The act of altering a URL in such a way as to cause the server to act inadvertently is known as URL manipulation.

“SQL injection” – what is it?

This is the procedure for adding SQL statements to a query that the server will subsequently run through the user interface of a web application.

XSS (Cross-Site Scripting): What is it?

It is known as XSS when a user adds HTML or client-side script into a web application’s user interface and makes it accessible to other users.

What exactly is spoofing?

The act of spoofing involves the production of fake emails and web pages.

Acunetix Acunetix

A complete web application security scanner is Acunetix. This will provide you a complete picture of your company’s security. It is capable of identifying 6500 different types of vulnerabilities, including XSS, weak passwords, and SQL injections. For scanning intricate multi-level forms, it uses cutting-edge macro recording technology.

The platform is simple to use and straightforward. Full scans and incremental scans can both be scheduled and given top priority. It has an integrated vulnerability management feature. Jenkins and other CI tools can be used to scan fresh builds automatically.

Netsparker Netsparker

The platform for all web application security testing needs is called Netsparker. This tool for web vulnerability scanning includes vulnerability management, vulnerability assessment, and vulnerability scanning features.

For accurate scanning and cutting-edge asset detection technology, use Netsparker. Popular problem management and CI/CD applications can be integrated with it.

When a vulnerability is found, Netsparker gives evidence of an exploit to ensure that it is not a false positive. It offers advanced crawling authentication mechanisms, a scanning engine, WAF integration capabilities, etc. You will receive thorough scan results from this tool along with insights on vulnerabilities.

Security Testing Methodology

The security tester needs to be well-versed in the HTTP protocol in order to conduct an effective security test of a web application. Understanding HTTP communication between the client (browser) and the server is crucial.

The tester should also have a rudimentary understanding of XSS and SQL injection.

Hopefully, there won’t be a large number of security flaws in the web application. But it will definitely help if you can accurately describe all the security flaws with all the necessary information.

Web Application Security Testing Techniques

Cracking passwords

Password cracking can start the security testing of a web application. One can either guess a username and password or use a password cracking program to log in to the application’s hidden regions. A list of popular usernames and passwords is provided with open source password crackers.

It might not take long to decipher the login and password if the web application does not demand a complex password (for example, one that contains alphabets, numerals, and special characters or at least a required amount of characters).

Suppose a username or password is saved in cookies without being encrypted. In that case, an attacker can steal the cookies and the data they contain, including the username and password, using a variety of techniques.

Check out the article “Website Cookie Testing” for additional information.

Modifying URLs Using HTTP GET Methods

A tester must verify whether the application sends crucial informationon in the query string. This occurs when the program employs the HTTP GET technique to transfer data between the client and the server.

The query string’s arguments are used to pass on the data. The tester can change a parameter value in the query string to see if the server will accept it.

User information is sent to the server via an HTTP GET request for data retrieval or authentication. In order to obtain the necessary information or to tamper with the data, the attacker is able to change each input variable supplied from this GET request to a server. Any odd action on the part of the application or web server in such circumstances serves as the attacker’s entry point into the program.

SQL Injection

The following element that needs to be examined is SQL Injection. Any textbox that accepts a single quote (‘) should be denied by the application. Instead, if the tester runs into a database issue, it signifies that an application ran some query that the user input was entered into. The application is susceptible to SQL injection in such a situation.

SQL injection attacks are extremely dangerous because they allow an attacker to obtain crucial data from the server database. Find the code in your codebase where direct MySQL queries are conducted on the database by accepting certain user inputs to check for SQL injection entry points into your web application.

An attacker can inject SQL statements or parts of SQL statements as user inputs to extract crucial information from a database if the user input data is specifically designed in SQL queries to query the database.

Even if an attacker successfully crashes the application, the attacker can still find the data they need from the SQL query error displayed on a browser. In these circumstances, special characters from user inputs should be properly handled/escaped.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

A tester should also review the web app for XSS (Cross-site scripting). Any HTML, For Example, <HTML> or any script, For Example, <SCRIPT> should not be tolerated by the application. If it is, then the app can be prone to an attack by Cross-Site Scripting.

The attacker can use this method to get the victim’s browser to run a malicious script or URL. Using cross-site scripting, an attacker can use scripts like JavaScript to steal user cookies and the information they contain.

Many web applications get useful information from different pages and pass it on to other variables.

For Instance,

The attacker can quickly pass on some hostile input or <script> as a ‘&query’ parameter which can explore important user/server data on the browser.

Important: When testing for security, the tester should be very careful and not change any of the following:

  • Setting up the server or the application.
  • The server’s running services.
  • User or customer data that is already being stored by the application.
  • Also, a security test shouldn’t be done on a system that is used in the real world.


A security test aims to find the weak spots in a web application so that the developers can fix them and protect the application and its data from any unauthorized actions.

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