Creating an Effective Web application penetration testing plan

Creating an Effective Web application penetration testing plan

Penetration testing is one of the most complex tasks. And without a plan any complex task will turn into a mess or the whole plan will fail. To perform a successful penetration testing you need a good plan with relevant steps. By outlining the necessary activities, including recovery, vulnerability scanning, exploitation, and post-exploitation analysis, a robust plan establishes a solid framework for effective and productive penetration testing.

Why do you need a penetration testing plan?

Every complex task requires a plan before starting because the process is so messy that you might end up moving in one place. Web application pentesting is also a complex task. If you don’t have an effective plan, you will be testing one aspect of the application from time to time while other aspects of the application remain untouched. Which not only puts the application at cyber risk but also puts the carrier at risk. You should better follow a plan to test the web application wisely.

Why it is complex to penetrate a web application?

Architecting modern web applications is very complex. Modern web applications are becoming more complex than ever due to technology appreciation and demand levels skyrocketing like unicorns. Testing modern web applications has also become complicated due to complex functionality. 

How can a plan help you pentesting modern web applications?

A plan will tell you what to do next when you hammer in your brain. A well-structured plan acts as a guiding compass, lighting the way forward and relieving the constant stress of unraveling the puzzle of what to do next. A plan helps you perform a perfect penetration test on a web application, saving you time from wandering around and saving your brain from overthinking.

An effective plan for penetration testing:

Creating an effective plan can be very frustrating for anyone. From years of experience, RedNode has made a plan for you:

  1. Enumeration & Reconnaissance: This is the first step a pentester takes to pentest a web application. In this step, the pen tester must gather all possible information about the target’s range. This includes understanding web application infrastructure, technologies, and potential entry points. A pentester should use public sources, open-source intelligence (OSINT), and other reconnaissance techniques to gain insights. Pen testers should scan for open ports, hosts, services, and accessible ports using specialized tools. Enumeration means getting more detailed information about a specific target. These pieces of information will later be used to find exploits or vulnerabilities.

    – What programming language and framework has been used to build the web application.
    – Recon all subdomains. Make a list of them.
    – Do a directory listing. Brute force and crawl both.
    – Run a proxy between your browser and the internet to intercept and record browsing data like Burp Suite, ZAproxy, etc.
    – Click every button, check what each functionality does, and try to abuse them.
    – Do this for the whole scope.
  2. Vulnerability Checking:
    – Check subdomains for SSL certificate and DNS.
    – Run an automated vulnerability scanner like nuclei to see if previously known vulnerabilities can be found there.
    – Check your directory listing data to see if you found anything interesting. Access dined or moving into a login form check if you can bypass it.
    – Multi-level users check if you can break the access control between them.
    – Spider the whole application and FUZZ for params.
    – Check every input for input validation vulnerabilities such as XSS, HTML injection, code injections, and RCE if the input store data in a database or modify then check for SQLi.
    – Check for IDOR and try to break the application’s logic. See if you can temper any kind of value in the web application. Like prices, bidding costs, etc. Is Any API there in scope then check for IDOR there and check for every kind of API vulnerability there.
  3. Exploiting: Now you have the list of all possible vulnerabilities now you have to exploit them one by one and see how far you can access the system by exploiting them. You can write automated scripts using bash, python, or js to exploit them.
  4. Report writing: A good report decides your whole hard work’s reputation. If your report on pentesting isn’t good enough to understand, then there will be no value to that much hard work. To write a good report you must make sure these things to your report:
    – CVSS rating
    – Impact of Vulnerability
    – Short Description
    – Reproduction Steps
    – How to fix it.

In conclusion, having an effective penetration testing plan is crucial to successfully testing the security of web applications. The complexity of modern web applications, combined with the ever-evolving threat landscape, requires a structured approach to ensure comprehensive coverage and accurate assessment of vulnerabilities. Follow RedNode’s blog for more effective content.