Web application penetration testing helps to detect vulnerabilities and prevent cyber-attacks
Every day, around 30,000 websites worldwide fall victim to cyber-attacks (https://www.sophos.com/en-us/labs/security-threat-report). The risk that, at some point, these statistics will also include your company’s website is quite high. However, many organisations do not pay much attention to cyber security, even though web applications are the main targets for gaining access to a company’s or an organisation’s internal network and the data stored therein.
Web application penetration testing is an effective way to detect vulnerabilities and prevent cyber-attacks. During penetration testing, techniques usually applied by attackers are used, and the application is analysed from the attacker’s point of view.
Who can benefit from web application penetration testing?
Any company that has a public website or develops web-based solutions for customers should conduct penetration tests at least once a year or upon completion of large-scale development projects to prevent cybercriminals from attacking and accessing their channels. Almost every company has a public website containing various simple functionalities such as a contact form, a feedback form, and a possibility for customers to submit enquiries or perform other business-related activities. Such functionalities are often a door through which an attacker can gain access to a company’s internal network.
Based on many years of experience in cyber security consultancy, we can say that there are mostly two types of clients who can gain the most benefit and confidence from web application penetration testing. These are companies that have a public website and companies that develop web-based solutions as a product.
Below, we will list the main misconceptions about web application security testing, which we would like to refute.
Our website does not contain important functionality – there is only a contact form and the possibility to leave anonymous comments. The website can still be vulnerable to critical security flaws such as cross-site scripting or injection attacks. As a result of these security flaws, an attacker can gain access to a web server or administrator accounts. What makes such security flaws particularly dangerous is that the initial access gained through them will, in turn, become a much more serious security flaw, enabling the attacker to take over the company’s entire internal network.
Our web server has little business value, and in the event of an attack, we can always restore the system from a backup and then upgrade it. Having access to a web server is just the tip of the iceberg. It will enable the attacker to get their foot in the door and be one step closer to taking over the company’s entire network. Particularly dangerous are situations where the attacker gains access to personal data and user accounts through an attack on a web server. Such an attack will damage your company’s reputation and, as a result, you will lose the trust of your customers.
We have implemented a widely used content management system, so our website is secure. As soon as a new security flaw is detected in such a system, your website will become a very vulnerable target. Around 35% of web attacks are carried out against widely used content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla.