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What is Web Application Security Testing?

Web applications are a vital bridging element between enterprise businesses and potential customers. Web applications have grown up substantially, incorporating modern technologies and better resources. As a result, the market demand for web app development also increased. However, security is a matter of concern, and surprisingly 9 out of 10 applications fall prey to various security threats. That shoots us to the immediate solution requirement leveraging application security testing services.

So, what sounds like a perfect definition for web application security testing? Web application security testing services inspect and gauge application security fitness using manual and automated testing techniques. Typically, it is the process of testing, examining and reporting on the security level of web apps. The objective is to probe and detect vulnerabilities/threats that jeopardize the security and integrity of web apps.

While there exist several tools and techniques that you can run at for quick testing, what suits your requirement marks the big deal. Using the most popular penetration testing tool doesn’t always promise to address your unique need. Indeed, you should have a holistic and systematic way to achieve a high level of operations security (OPSEC).

Different Web Application Security Testing Methodologies

So, you might be wondering what the best way might be to create a threat analysis and strategy best fit for application security testing. Indeed, there are various well-known application security methodologies focusing on web app security testing so that they could rely on them for an efficient approach. By doing this, enterprises can effectively select the testing strategy considering the different specifics of their web platform. So, let’s swoop into the most effective types of application security testing methodologies.

  • Open-Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM)

Open-Source Security Testing Methodology Manual or OSSTMM clearly determines what to test instead of how to test. Likewise, the popular methodology also entails security testing basics alongside information on how to interpret test results. Four distinct groups in the OSSTMM are scope, channel, index, and vector.

There are both free and paid versions of the same. The latest free version got published in 2010, and the rest that followed were available for only paid users. The best facet that sticks to OSSTMM is its adaptability and testing suitability with any environment. It can be vulnerability assessments, white box audits, penetration tests and many more.

  • Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

Then there comes the most popular of all, Open Web Application Security Project or OWASP. It is an open-source project and security testing methodology that delivers several free resources. These resources mainly focus on web application testing and cyber security awareness.

Then there comes the most popular of all, Open Web Application Security Project or OWASP. It is an open-source project and security testing methodology that delivers several free resources. These resources mainly focus on web application testing and cyber security awareness.

OWASP offers distinct types of guides for assessing web app security.

  • OWASP Top 10
    It is a vital publication for application security that entails the most-encountered security vulnerabilities.
  • OWASP Developer Guide
    The guide contains recommendations or roadmaps to writing safe and secure code.
  • OWASP Code Review Guide
    The guide targets s/w developers, furnishing the best code review practices. Likewise, it drives relevant information on using them upright in the secure development life cycle.


  • Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES)

PTES is a penetration testing methodology having seven stages, from initial engagement with a customer towards reporting. It includes pre-engagement interactions, intelligence gathering, threat modelling, vulnerability analysis, exploitation, post-exploitation, and reporting. Also, enterprises can find in-depth details regarding testing methodology from the PTES website.

So, what makes PTES a widely chosen penetration testing guide? In fact, it includes detailed technical particulars on tools and commands which can be used in any stage of the testing process. If you are looking for detailed information on what to test and how to test, PTES goes highly recommendable.

  • Web Application Security Consortium Threat Classification (WASC-TC)

What matters here in WASC-TC? The project clearly classifies/ organizes threats based on analysing the security of applications. The document contains descriptions and various examples of attacks. The classifications go presented in views, and generally, there are three views in WASC-TC.

  • Enumeration View
  • Development Phase View
  • Taxonomy Cross Reference View

The Enumeration View contains attacks influencing the safety of applications and data. Secondly, the Development Phase View shows which stage of the development cycle a vulnerability can emerge or arise. Similarly, Taxonomy Cross Reference View aids in bridging WASC-TC terminology with other similar project frameworks.

  • Information Systems Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF)

ISAAF mainly consist of two parts – Technical and Managerial. The former enlists rules and procedures for delivering a healthy security assessment process. The latter contains recommendations and guidance for setting up an effective testing process.

Information Systems Security Assessment Framework aids in closing gaps betwixt the managerial and technical parts of application security testing. Similarly, it helps implement or deploy adequate controls, handling both ends of the framework.

Choosing an adequate framework for your requirement

So far, we have gone through different frameworks used for web application security testing. However, the relevance of these guidelines depends on the actual requirement of enterprises. If the demand sticks to creating an effective testing strategy, the OWASP security checklist offers the perfect resolution. Or else, if the need is for technical information regarding the testing process, PTES technical guide goes useful.

The testing process can happen immediately after the documentation phase gets completed. It can give you the perfect idea of how your web application responds to various situations. Also, you can have an exact list of issues mounting your application based on impact and exploitability.

Based on impact, issues get classified into low, medium, and high and critical. ‘Critical’ has a severe impact on environment, ‘High’ mark as a significant security threat, while ‘medium’ points to limited impact and ‘less’ signifies issues that are small. From the exploitability point of view, issues categorize into trivial, easy, moderate, challenging and N/A.

After successful impact and exploitability identification, next comes risk level calculation. You can find where the impact and exploitability charts intersect and that can give you risk values. Risk level identification helps effective remediation strategies based on criticality or risk priority.

Final Thoughts

Security of web applications is a top ask since businesses can’t just leave their applications open to attack vectors. Web apps can hold critical information, and if compromised, it can lead to business downfalls and setbacks. Hence, when security is the priority, using well-known testing methodologies and standards stay significant from all corners. Whatever we have traversed in the tech blog could be a fuel factor while you look for effective testing methodologies.

Using these methodologies at the initial stages of the software development lifecycle is always recommended. And, if enterprises lack the in-house resource and technology, bridging web application testing companies is a simple and healthy option. You can directly connect the best service providers who can test the security posture of your web apps and, at the same time, help you quick-heal application weaknesses and vulnerabilities.






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