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Do You Need a Thick Client Pentesting?

icon Posted by: Hasan Sameer
icon March 11, 2022

In Brief:

What is Thick Client Pen Testing?

Thick client pentesting is an amalgamation of information gathering and Securing endpoints from various cyberattacks. It scans vulnerabilities for client-side, server-side, and network-side attacks. It is not only about automated scanning. It involves a comprehensive methodology and a customized test environment.


of cyber security incidents fit in the application security in 2021


of all incidents are data breaches


of threat groups use automated tools to exploit public-facing applications


of organizations say that most attacks are due to bugs in applications

Do You Need a Thick Client Pentesting?

A lot of businesses have been using thick client applications for an exceptionally long time. Thick client pentesting is required to safeguard the security of organizations using these applications. It uses proprietary protocols for communication and assessment scanning.

Thick client applications adopt a hybrid infrastructure for operations. This makes them an easy target for attackers. Thick client pentesting can help you find the vulnerable points. You can then take remediation steps to ensure protection against severe threats.

There are two types of thick client applications that need pentesting:
1. Two-tier thick client application
In this type of application, there is only a computer and server. The installation is on the client-side. These applications directly communicate with the database. Desktop Games, Music players, and Text editors are the major examples of two-tier thick client applications.

2. Three-tier thick client application
In these applications, a layer of the application server is added to the communication. The client needs to access the database through the application server. A few examples of the three-tier thick client application are Firefox, Chrome, Burp Suite, and Zap Proxy.

Testing Procedure for Thick Client Applications

The thick client applications are quite different than the conventional applications. You need a thorough and comprehensive approach to penetration tests. Following are the steps to take during the thick client application security testing:

  • Analyzing the tools and techniques used on both client and the server-side.
  • Discovering all the characteristics and functionalities of the application.
  • Understanding all the endpoints
  • Dissection of all the security measures present in the application
  • Scanning the vulnerabilities, all hidden and visible

Types of thick client application security testing

Black-Box Testing
Testing the application without having any prior knowledge of its configurations. Testers test all the functionalities of the application without having access to the design/application, and backend processes.
Grey-Box Testing
In Grey-Box Testing the team has access to only infrastructure basics and working knowledge of the application before testing. This knowledge is about the data flow within the application and API documentation.

5 Tracks of Analysis in Thick Client Pentesting


Automated Scan

We would use proprietary software tools to identify vulnerabilities in the thick client application software. The tool also analyses the client’s network for any issues lying in the communication. In the process of automated scanning, we also test the operating system interactions within the application.


Configuration Analysis

This is the detailed process of examining the configuration of the client-side of the application. Here, we work on identifying the default configuration problems. Alongside, we look for ways to bypass the application security controls. The purpose of this analysis is to make the security protocols of the platform accessible for your application.


Network Communication Analysis

There are a lot of clients who have experienced attacks involving remote execution. To prevent that, we need to reverse engineer the custom protocols in the network communications. Often, we use a proprietary tool to modify and control the network traffic. We do this to prevent unwanted infiltrations and eliminate the risk of attacks.


Server Analysis

The Server-side is equally important as the client-side in thick client pentesting. Most thick clients are heavily reliant on server-side functionalities. Any vulnerabilities present in the server code might expose the central data stores for exploitation. A server analysis using automated tools is important to secure this phase.


Client Analysis

This process involves deploying a wide range of tools on the client software itself. There are lots of test procedures to execute in this phase. Although the selection depends on the specific software and the attack vectors concerned. Processes in this phase include memory dumps, testing IPC channels, in-depth reverse engineering, and fuzzing file inputs.

Common Thick Client Vulnerabilities

The outcomes of thick client application security testing are the common vulnerabilities present in the application. The following are the key vulnerabilities you will get to see after thick client pentesting:

  • Information Leak
  • Tampering and Loss of Data
  • Weak Authentication Protocol
  • Error in Configuration and Handling
  • Compromised Authorization

Benefits of Thick Client Pentesting with an Expert Like Us

We have a perfect blend of automated tools and trained professionals. This will help you get complete manual support along with automation assistance. Our comprehensive approach will give you a thorough report of all the big and small vulnerabilities in your application.

When the assessment ends, we have a read-out call. Here, we brief you about all the key findings of the test. Also, we walk you through the chronological order in which your vulnerabilities are likely to be exploited. We can provide you with custom-made tools and scripts for your teams to use.

Flexibility is the most important non-technical factor in thick client pen testing services. We understand every business has its own security needs. This completely depends upon the threats they are exposed to. Our service is adaptable to suit different organization profiles. We can work efficiently with different source codes, designs, documentation, specifications, and even challenges.

The experience of performing thick client pen tests with lots of diverse organizations gives us an edge. We are not saying that others will not give you a skilled service. But there is no alternative to experience + expertise. We have the expertise to customize each test procedure according to the needs of the client.

Before You Go

  • Ensuring optimum availability and customized solutions is vital. Hence, you must choose an expert service to make your thick client application secure.
  • Go for thorough research yourself to help your security maintenance. But it is always good to hire professional help for carrying out the thick client pentesting.


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