Web application penetration testing

9 Security Risks That Web Application Penetration Testing Can Fix

Website penetration testing is the most secure method of detecting flaws within your web application. Vulnerabilities in web applications can occur in various areas like SaaS applications, DBA tools (e.g., phpMyAdmin), or content management systems (e.g., WordPress).

As web applications have become a central aspect of business operations, their security is now considered of utmost importance. Vulnerable web applications are easy targets among hackers. Website security issues can lead to broken client relations, revoked licenses, and other legal actions. Vectors like a backdoor attack, SQL injection (SQLi), and Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) are exploited to pilfer data or interrupt functions of web applications.

If you are here, then it is safe to assume that you know the basics of hacking and penetration testing. It is time to learn all about website penetration testing and how it will help you and your business.

What Is Website Penetration Testing?

Website penetration testing includes testing the security reliability of an organization’s browser-centered applications. Penetration testers assess the attack surface of every possibly vulnerable web-centered service, such as APIs and web interfaces.

Web applications are the key systems of several networks as they process, store, and transfer data. However, they are susceptible to cyberattacks, and this weakness can be exploited. Web penetration testing is used for discovering vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them.

The aim of website penetration testing is to:

  • Protect a website against a cyberattack.
  • Identify user behavior and data flow.
  • Safeguard sensitive information like login details, credit card details, and social security numbers.
  • Improve the quality of the website and web application.

Web application penetration testing methodology

Types of Vulnerabilities and Attack Methods

Cybersecurity vulnerabilities

Websites and web applications can develop multiple types of vulnerabilities. There is no fixed time or method to identify an issue like this. All you can do is hire a good penetration tester to ensure that the problems are taken care of before a hacker can identify one.

The most common web application security risks are listed below.

  1. Security Misconfiguration: This is the most popular web application vulnerability which targets input fields and URLs. Application developers who cannot appropriately distinguish the security configuration for a web application and associated elements make it vulnerable to a malicious attackers’ unsanctioned access.
  2. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS): This flaw happens every time an application contains untrusted data in a new webpage without adequate authentication or it updates an existing web page with user-provided data through a browser API that can generate JavaScript or HTML.Malicious actors can exploit those problematic scripts to carry out activities such as hijacking cookie sessions, defacing websites, or redirecting unsuspicious victims to steal sensitive information.
  1. Injection Attacks: These target SQL, NoSQL, LDAP, and OS. A vulnerability occurs when untrusted data is transmitted to an interpreter as part of a query or command. Hackers can alter the SQL statements implemented in an application’s backend and manipulate them into completing commands that offer unapproved access to data. Another variation is XML External Entities Injection (XXE), in which malicious actors can disrupt how a web application manages XML data. They can then look at the files on the server and log on to backend systems upon which the web application relies.
  2. Broken Authentication and Poor Session Management: Usually, websites render the cookies for a session unenforceable when the user logs out or closes a browser. An attacker can take over cookies and get hold of the confidential information if the invalidation doesn’t occur and the session stays open.
  3. Sensitive Data Exposure: Most APIs and web applications aren’t adequate for protecting sensitive data. Malicious actors may hijack or adjust those inadequately guarded data to perform identity theft, credit card fraud, and other related violations. Without extra data protection, your valuable information may be compromised.
  4. Vulnerable Components: This occurs when developers implement components that are outdated, unsupported, and prone to attacks on their websites. These vulnerable components give attackers an opening to hijack an organization’s system or pilfer sensitive information.
  5. Inadequate Logging & Monitoring: When this is combined with unproductive and/or missing integration with incident response, it permits malicious attackers to attack, maintain additional persistence, pivot to additional systems, and interfere, remove, or damage data.
  6. Broken Access Controls: There often aren’t enough limitations on what unsanctioned users are permitted to do. Hackers can exploit this flaw to gain unsanctioned data. This allows them to achieve functions outside of their assigned roles like viewing sensitive files, accessing other users’ accounts, modifying access rights, and altering other users’ data, among several others.
  7. Insecure Deserialization: Malicious attackers can maneuver the data under the user’s control, which has become deserialized by a website. They do this by forwarding destructive information into the source code.

Advantages of Penetration Testing

Penetration testing aims to detect any vulnerabilities in the computer system, application, network, or website before the bad guys can exploit them. There are many advantages to performing a penetration test, such as:

  • It allows organizations to obtain valuable insights into their digital systems.
  • It helps organizations detect and fix system vulnerabilities.
  • Putting yourself in the hacker’s shoes allows you to identify possible attack vectors easily.
  • You cement your customers’ trust when you’re able to detect and thwart vulnerabilities before they are exploited.

As an aspiring cybersecurity professional, you will need relevant training and certifications to conduct successful website penetration testing. Training from experts will also prepare you to work on the latest technologies like IoT and Cloud. Certified Penetration Testing Professional (CPENT) by EC-Council is one of the top recommended certification programs covering the various nuances of pen testing required in modern businesses.

Become a Penetration Testing Professional with CPENT

CPENT rewrites the standards of penetration testing skill development. It teaches you how to carry out successful website penetration tests along with other forms of pen testing exercises in an enterprise network environment. It is one of the top-notch penetration testing certifications, teaching you how to pen test IoT systems, OT systems, how to write your own exploits, build your own tools, conduct advanced binaries exploitation, double pivot to access hidden networks, and also customize scripts/exploits to get into the innermost segments of the network.

CPENT is not just limited to ethical hackers, self-trained hackers, and IT employees aspiring for penetration tester jobs. Organizations that want to train their existing employees in the cybersecurity domain can also consider pen test training to strengthen their IT security.

Visit our course page for more information today!


What are common threats for a new website?
Cyber threats are continuously expanding, and website owners face an endless string of external and internal threats to their online business. These include:

  • Ransomware
  • Malware
  • Phishing
  • Data Breaches
  • Employee Sabotage
  • DDoS attacks
Who can learn penetration testing?
To get penetration testing jobs, you’ll typically need a degree in computer science, information systems, computing, or a similar degree. A complete experience with computer operating systems is also required, and no less than two to four years of experience in information security.
get certified from ec-council
Write for Us