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What Are the Most Common Vulnerabilities Detected in Web Application Security Testing?

icon Posted by: Praveen Joshi
icon September 20, 2023

In Brief

Why Web Applications Are Favorite Targets for Hackers?

Web applications are a favorite target for hackers because of their popularity and built-in flaws. First off, online apps frequently deal with sensitive data, such as user and financial information. This makes them appealing targets for cybercriminals looking to steal important data. Second, the complexity of web programs and the range of technologies used make them vulnerable to various attack vectors. These attack vectors include cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL injection, and input validation problems. Additionally, online programs frequently have internet connectivity, giving hackers a wide attack surface. Furthermore, a lot of online programs rely on third-party parts and libraries. This can have security holes that haven’t been fixed. Web applications are a desirable and regularly exploited target for hackers. It is mainly due to the possibility of financial gain and the ubiquity of vulnerabilities.


of web apps contain at least one security weakness.


of experts say that most security challenges in a web application arise due to the lack of shared vision between app development and security teams.


of malware is distributed through web applications.


of organizations have suffered through at least one resilience-impacting security incident that half the time resulted in a competitive loss.

Common Vulnerabilities Found During Web Application Security Testing

Security testing for web applications often reveals a range of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers. The following are some of the most common vulnerabilities detected in web applications:

1. Injection Attacks:

  • SQL Injection (SQLi): Hackers manipulate input fields to inject malicious SQL queries, potentially gaining unauthorized access to a database.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): Malicious scripts are injected into web pages viewed by other users, allowing attackers to steal data, hijack sessions, or perform other malicious actions.

2. Authentication and Session Management Issues:

  • Broken Authentication: Weak password policies, session fixation, and improper session management can lead to unauthorized access to user accounts.
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF): Attackers trick users into performing actions without their consent while authenticated, potentially causing harm.

3. Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR):

  • Inadequate access controls may allow attackers to access and manipulate data they are not authorized to view or modify.
  • You can identify and deal with the issue with the help of regular web penetration testing.

4. Broken access control:

  • This vulnerability occurs when an attacker can access resources or perform actions that they are not authorized to do.
  • It can be caused by a variety of factors, such as misconfigured permissions and weak authentication mechanisms. Also, exploitable vulnerabilities in the web application code might lead to broken access control.

5. Security Misconfigurations:

  • Improperly configured security settings, server settings, or permissions can expose sensitive information or provide entry points for attackers.

6. Sensitive Data Exposure:

  • Failure to adequately protect sensitive data, such as credit card numbers or personal information, can lead to data breaches.

7. XML External Entity (XXE) Injection:

  • Attackers exploit vulnerable XML parsers to read or manipulate internal files, potentially leading to information disclosure or denial of service.

8. Security Headers Missing or Misconfigured:

  • Missing or improperly configured security headers, such as Content Security Policy (CSP) or HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), can leave web applications vulnerable to various attacks.

9. File Upload Vulnerabilities:

  • Insecure file upload functionality can lead to arbitrary code execution if not properly validated and sanitized.

10. API Security Issues:

  • Vulnerabilities in APIs, such as broken authentication, authorization, or rate limiting, can lead to unauthorized access and data breaches.

11. Insecure Deserialization:

  • Attackers exploit vulnerabilities in the deserialization process to execute arbitrary code, potentially leading to remote code execution.

12. Security Vulnerabilities in Third-Party Components:

  • Outdated or unpatched third-party libraries and components can introduce vulnerabilities into web applications.

13. Content Spoofing and Phishing:

  • Attackers may manipulate content to deceive users into divulging sensitive information or credentials.

To find and fix these flaws and shield the application and its users from any dangers, web application security testing is crucial. To maintain a secure web application environment, regular testing and security best practices are essential.

Before You Go!

  • There are instances when your web app would appear to be perfectly secure and free from any security weakness.
  • However, if you conduct a pen test on it, the results might surprise you. Therefore, it is necessary to execute regular security testing to ensure the security of your web applications.
  • Additionally, you must take a cybersecurity consultation from an expert once in a while to get a second opinion on your security posture.


  • web app penetration testing
  • web app security
  • web application pen testing

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