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How to Conduct a Successful Penetration Test on Your Web Application?

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon April 19, 2023

In Brief

Web Application Penetration Testing

Pen testing is the most widely used methodology to test and enhance the strength of web application security. It is the process of simulating unauthorized attacks internally or externally on the target website. The purpose of web pentesting is to exploit the vulnerabilities and escalate them to the highest level possible. It allows testing teams to determine the maximum impact a particular security loophole can have during a real attack. Additionally, pen testers try to gain access to sensitive data and check the resilience of security policies guarding it. Overall, pen testing a web application helps you find out how your current security systems will react when your website comes under attack. Plus, you get to know what areas are weak and how to make them strong.


of companies rely on automation for 70% of their security testing needs.


is the expected compound annual growth rate for the global pentesting market from 2022 to 2027


of successful breaches against businesses are due to the penetration of vulnerable web applications.


of web applications are found with at least one critical vulnerability during penetration testing.

Steps Involved in Web Application Penetration Testing

The following are the key steps for executing a penetration test web application process:

1. Planning and Reconnaissance

It is the first stage of the pen testing process. In this phase, the testing team tries to gather as much information as possible about the application and infrastructure they are going to test. It lays the foundation for the execution of the penetration test.

There are two types of reconnaissance involved with this phase. It all depends on the level of interaction between the testing teams and the target application.

  • Active Reconnaissance: It is the process of gathering information with direct interaction with the target applications.
  • Passive Reconnaissance: Here the testing teams gather information from the internet and other sources without directly interacting with the target application.

2. Research and Exploitation

This is the part where the testing team brings all the gathered information into use. It involves identifying the parts of your web application to be tested. They use penetration testing software to execute the pen test and automate typical attacks, disclosing hidden paths inside the web application.

This phase is also known as the attack phase of the process as the penetration tester tries to exploit the vulnerabilities found in the last phase. The attack methods might include social engineering attacks, physical security breaching, web application exploits, and phishing.

3. Reporting and Recommendation

This is the post-attack and final phase of the penetration test web application process. Here the testing teams deliver a comprehensive report to the business owners. This report usually contains:

  • Executive summary
  • Test scope and method
  • Vulnerability report
  • Remediation report

The pentesting team also recommends necessary steps to take in order to make the web application’s security robust and resilient against prevailing threats. It is important to carefully analyze the results of the test to ensure that needed changes and improvements are implemented.

Best Tools for Web Application Pen Testing

The following are the top tools you can use for testing your web applications:

  1. Invicti: Formerly known as Netsparker, this tool has a great reputation for accurately identifying real & exploitable vulnerabilities in your websites.
  2. Burp Suite: It is a complete cybersecurity testing tool that is suitable for executing pen tests on all aspects of the IT infrastructure along with web applications.
  3. Metasploit: It is a web application penetration testing tool that allows you to automate manual tests and streamline your process.
  4. Nessus: Another comprehensive pentesting tool that is easy to use for both credential and non-credential scans.
  5. Nmap: A lightweight pen testing solution that is especially used to exploit network-side vulnerabilities.

There are several other tools in the market as well. You can choose one that suits your requirements.

changes and improvements are implemented.

Benefits of Web Applications Pentesting

The following are the key benefits of the process:

  • Helps with the security audit and assessment of the infrastructure.
  • Identifies vulnerabilities and security loopholes. Plus, prepares you for potential attacks.
  • Assists with managing compliance requirements.
  • Enables you to confirm existing security policies and improve them.

Before You Go!

  • Penetration testing is the best way to improve the security posture of your web applications. Plus, it also helps you avoid heavy fines for non-compliance.
  • You can get help from cyber security services near you to get it done on your websites.



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