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Common Application Penetration Testing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon April 6, 2023

In Brief

Why Application Pen Testing is Prone to Mistakes?

Application pen testing is a comprehensive process involving a series of different steps. The high level of complexity in carrying out these steps might lead to human errors. This is the major cause of mistakes in penetration testing assessments. Sometimes incomplete and outdated information provided to the testing teams can also lead them to miss vulnerabilities or make incorrect assumptions. Furthermore, pen-testing tools can generate several false positives displaying vulnerabilities that do not exist. Meanwhile, they miss detecting the vulnerabilities that are actually present. Additionally, the over-reliance on automated tools is also the reason why some important vulnerabilities are overlooked by the testing teams.


of organizations that conducted penetration testing found at least one high or critical severity vulnerability.


of all vulnerabilities found were in web applications making it the most vulnerable application type.


of organizations do not conduct pen testing before deployment, says a survey conducted by Micro Focus in 2021.


billion is the project mark that the global spending on application security is estimated to reach by 2025.

Top 5 Application Penetration Testing Mistakes

There are quite a lot of common mistakes that professionals commit during processes like application and api penetration testing. Some key ones among them are:

1. Not prioritizing risks

Failure to prioritize risks is among the most widely made mistakes by organizations during the pen testing process. It is important to establish a risk baseline before you start the process of improving your security posture. You need to know your pen testing goals and understand where the major risks lie. By prioritizing risks, you can optimize your efforts to add the most value to your infrastructure security. Plus, it is also beneficial for the protection of customer data, intellectual property, or company financial data.

2. Ignoring professional ethics

Ethics, legality, and protocol are the key differences between the operating style of a penetration testing team and cyber criminals. The ultimate goal of both is to breach your systems but the purpose is different. Cybercriminals do this for their gains and pen testers do it to protect you from future incidents. A high level of professional ethics is required to carry out pen testing over an organization’s infrastructure. Along with exploiting vulnerabilities, a pen tester is responsible for handling confidentiality, privacy, and legality quite seriously. Often these days, new pen testers starting in this field forget to adhere to these professional ethics. This can turn out to be problematic later.

3. Using the wrong tools

The number of tools to support pen testing and other security testing processes is exponentially increasing every day. However, this abundance of available resources may seem good. But it turns out to be the root of bad decisions. Using a tool without configuring it correctly can result in nasty consequences. Never think of buying an off-the-shelf tool and putting it in the hands of your internal IT team. Unless you have red-teaming experts in your internal teams, it is better to engage a third-party testing service with adequate expertise and experience.

4. Poor Reporting

An ideal pen testing project must end with an excellent report with complete and comprehensive detailing of all the exploited vulnerabilities. It can be difficult for business owners to understand the vulnerabilities in their systems and their severity if the report is not clear and comprehensible. A good pen testing report must include easily digestible information on all the vulnerabilities. Plus, it must explain the impact of exploitation. Additionally, the report must mention recommendations and remediations for fixing the security flaws currently present within the systems.

5. Disrupting the business

It is also a huge pen testing mistake, especially in the case of the black box scenario. For maximum output, you must leverage real exploits without disrupting the day-to-day business activities. To avoid disruptions, plan your test accordingly by estimating its impact on your vital business systems. Plus, keep track that the testing should be carried out in a production environment.

So, these were the top 5 mistakes commonly committed during the application penetration testing process along with the tips to avoid them.

Before You Go!

  • Yes, application pen testing is certainly a complex procedure having a huge scope to commit mistakes.
  • However, you can avoid these mistakes by getting help from an expert cyber security consultancy.


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  • application penetration testing
  • cybersecurity consultancy
  • Penetration Testing
  • Web application penetration testing

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