We live in a digital world where cybercriminals are always on the lookout for a vulnerable system to exploit. This is why penetration testing is one of the most important parts of the security verification process. There are several penetration testing tools to choose from and most perform the same set of functions.
One web app penetration testing tool that stands out of the pack is Burp Suite Professional. It’s used by 46,000 people across 140 countries and has gained popularity through its USP — extensibility through free plugins. This is why knowledge about Burp Suite is crucial for organizations and pen testers.
In this blog, we are going to introduce you to Burp Suite basics and how to perform web application penetration testing with it.
What Is Burp Suite?
Burp Suite is a set of tools that is used for web application penetration testing. It was designed by PortSwigger, an alias used by founder Dafydd Stuttard, as an all-in-one set of tools that you can boost by installing add-ons known as BApps. Burp Suite is quite easy to use, which makes it a solid alternative to penetration testing tools like OWASP ZAP.
How to Use Burp Suite for Penetration Testing?
Here are two ways you can use Burp Suite for penetration testing:
1. Burp’s embedded browser
This method does not require any additional configuration. All you have to do is go to the “Proxy” > “Intercept” tab and then click “Open Browser.” A new browser session will begin where all the traffic is proxied through Burp Suite automatically. You can then use this to test the HTTPS without installing Burp’s CA certificate.
2. External browser
In case you don’t want to use Burp’s embedded browser, you need to do some additional steps to configure your browser to work with Burp Suite and install Burp’s CA certificate.
Using Burp Scanner
Burp Scanner automatically finds the security weaknesses in a web application. It can be used with existing methodologies and techniques to perform manual and semi-automated web applications penetration tests. It is also commonly used in bug bounty programs to help find vulnerabilities.
Note: Using Burp Scanner can result in unexpected effects in some applications. It would help if you tried to use the scanner with non-production systems until you are familiar with its functionality and settings.
Burp’s Scanning Paradigm
When using most web scanners, you can input the URL for the application and just watch as the progress bar updates until the scan is completed. This scanning model has significant limitations and can lead to missed weaknesses, incomplete coverage, and misdirected efforts. However, Burp Suite’s preferred approach to scanning is a very different and user-driven paradigm.
This gives penetration testers control over every request that will be scanned and direct feedback for the results. With this approach, you can avoid numerous technical challenges that conventional scanners face. You can then guide the scanner by using the browser to make sure you do not miss the key areas of functionality.
Scanning Mode in Burp Suite
Below are the types of scanning modes that penetration testers can try out on Burp Suite.
Passive Scanning Mode
In this mode, the scanner will not send any new requests on its own. However, it will analyze the contents of existing responses and requests, and deduce weaknesses from those. There are several types of security weaknesses that you can detect with passive techniques.
Active Scanning Mode
In this mode, Burp Suite will send numerous crafted requests to the application and analyze the resulting responses that look like evidence of weaknesses. With active scanning, you can identify a wider range of weaknesses, and it is crucial to perform a comprehensive test of an application.
Burp Suite Tools
Burp Suite comprises numerous tools that you can use to perform different penetration testing tasks. The tools can work effectively together, and you can use them to pass fascinating requests between the tools as your work progresses to help carry out several actions. Here are some Burp Suite tools that are available for web application penetrating testing:
Proxy: This helps penetration testers to intercept, inspect, and modify the raw traffic that passes in both directions between the target web application and end browser.
Target: This tool comprises detailed information about your target application and lets you decide the process of vulnerabilities testing.
Scanner Professional: This is an advanced web vulnerability scanner, and it can automatically crawl content and audit several types of weaknesses.
Sequencer: This is a tool used for analyzing the quality of randomness in an application’s session tokens or other crucial data items that should be unpredictable.
Intruder: This is a tool used for carrying out automated customized attacks against web applications.
Extender: This helps you to load Burp extensions and extend Burp’s functionality by using your own or third-party code.
Some other Burp Suite tools are decoder, repeater, comparer, collaborator client professional, clickbandit, and mobile assistant.
Start “Burp”ing for Threats with CodeRed
As an integrated platform, Burp Suite comes with an advanced set of tools and interfaces that help penetration testers perform web app security testing. Furthermore, its various tools work with each other to support the entire security testing process. Learning all these interlocking mechanisms is a task for anyone, which is why it’s recommended that people new to Burp Suite take up a comprehensive online course that imparts the necessary job-ready skills.
CodeRed’s Burp Suite: Web Application Penetration Testing course teaches hands-on techniques for attacking web services and web applications with Burp Suite. You will first learn everything about Burp Suite basics, from how to scope and map your target application to how to customize and report your results to your audience properly.
By the end of this course, you will have extensive and working knowledge of Burp Suite and be able to perform penetration testing techniques at an efficient level to better perform your job as a pen tester.