Application Penetration Testing: What You Need To Know

Blog Reading Time 7 Min Read
December 20, 2023
By: Viraji Ogodapola

Application Penetration Testing: What You Need To Know

Cybersecurity Concerns Today

The statistics in cybercrime predictions each year are daunting, and real-life incidents are paralyzing. If you can’t yet comprehend the full scale of the threat, here’s a compiled list of cybersecurity predicaments in statistics this year to lose your sleep over.

While cybercrimes themselves are reasons to worry, the level of sophistication that these crimes now employ is certainly something to be vexed about. Cybercriminals are increasingly technoid, sophisticated, well-funded, and unstoppable.

Consequently, safeguarding your simple enterprise now requires the expertise to combat the best of advanced technology as well as the knack to outwit the masterminds, human and otherwise.

While your trusted standard cybersecurity measures guard all your gates, there is always the risk of an unforeseen threat, with cybercriminals potentially launching an attack through your internet-facing interfaces. Which is the reason why Application Penetration Testing can save you some sleep.

What is Application Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing, or pentesting as known widely, refers to hacking into a system with the consent of authoritative parties, for the purpose of discovering weaknesses, faults, and vulnerabilities within the security of the system being tested. Consequently, application penetration testing refers to the process of identifying vulnerabilities and/or loopholes in an application, typically a web application.

Taking a proactive and strategic approach, pentesting emulates real-world cybercriminal tactics. This helps to uncover vulnerabilities before they are exploited, identify weak links in the security chain, and ensure the integrity of systems, networks, and applications in anticipation of potential attacks. 

Put simply, it is the equivalent of the time-tested stunt of getting into the gloves (or the hoodie!) of the hacker with the intent of breaking everything and anything that works.

“To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

Pentesting Your Applications – The Scope

Having evolved and advanced from ethical hacking, penetration testing is carried out with explicit permission aimed at improving system security. However, pen testing differs distinctly from ethical hacking in its scope, objectives, and approaches, although they are related cybersecurity practices.

Ethical hackers, also known as “white hat hackers”, emulate the techniques and tactics used by malicious hackers, comprehensively covering a wide range of activities such as vulnerability assessment, code review, social engineering, including but not limited to penetration testing. 

Pentesters, on the other hand, use a methodical and systematic approach to test the security of a specific target. Possessing specialized skills, they are proficient in using penetration testing tools and techniques, such as exploiting software vulnerabilities, bypassing security controls, and escalating privileges.

The testing itself takes three different approaches: black-box testing (where testers have no prior knowledge of the target system), white-box testing (where testers have full access and knowledge of the system), and gray-box testing (a combination of both).

When extended to web and mobile applications, pentesting encompasses simulating attacks on a system externally as well as internally identifying vulnerabilities within, and uncovering potential exploits.

An essential component of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, application pentesting helps organizations fortify their cybersecurity defenses against malicious actors, using the very strategies that the threat actors themselves are likely to employ.

Not to mince words, it is a case of the offense becoming the defense – to save your ship from sinking.

Penetration Testing as a Service [PTaaS] – The Benefits

Even with all the benefits of penetration testing, it can be compelling not to outsource the service, especially if you have the know-how and in-house expertise.

In the arena of cybersecurity, however, you can never be certain of guarding your fort well. It is always better to have a third eye check on you, adding credibility to your cybersecurity posture.

Getting professional assistance helps you cover the following scenarios effectively:

  • Real-World Testing: Penetration testers simulate real-world attack scenarios, allowing you to see how well your security measures hold up against actual threats. This realistic testing can uncover vulnerabilities that automated scanning tools might miss.
  • Identify Hidden Vulnerabilities: Discover vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your systems, networks, and applications that may be unknown to your organization.
  • Mitigate Insider Threats: Assess the effectiveness of your internal security controls against insider threats, helping you identify and address potential risks from employees or contractors with malicious intent or accidental mistakes.
  • Compliance Requirements: Often industries and regulatory bodies require regular penetration testing as part of compliance with security standards and regulations (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR). Hiring a professional penetration testing service can help ensure you meet these requirements.
  • Security Awareness: Raise awareness about security within your organization. It can highlight the importance of cybersecurity best practices and encourage a security-conscious culture among employees.
  • Third-Party Validation: Penetration testing results can be used to demonstrate your commitment to security to customers, partners, and stakeholders. It builds trust and credibility, especially when you can show that you regularly test and improve your security measures.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regular penetration testing helps you continuously improve your security measures over time. It ensures that as your systems evolve and new threats emerge, your defenses remain robust with a third-party validation attesting that.

Then there’s the peace of mind – in knowing that you’ve taken all viable steps to accurately assess and proactively enhance the security of your enterprise, bringing in a sense of assurance to your leadership, employees, and stakeholders.

eBuilder Security’s Comprehensive Penetration Testing – The Methodology

eBuilder Security’s application pentesting methodology involves a comprehensive penetration testing service that covers vital aspects of the hardware, software, and data security of your enterprise. Our methodology comprises:

  • Information Gathering: Collect, assemble, and unjumble all information pertaining to your business – looking for any loopholes to seep into your system. This includes your business requirements, your network of clientele, interaction circles, data at rest on-site and on cloud, data in-transit, online data-sharing web sources etc. leveraging phishing wherever possible.
  • Assess & Analyze: Identify critical application pages and perform automated scans to identify vulnerabilities. Analyze, verify, and eliminate false positives from vulnerability analysis reports.
  • Exploit & Penetrate: Attempt exploitation techniques on identified vulnerabilities and penetrate into the underlying infrastructure.
  • Attack Persistently: Establish access, replicate attacks, and escalate privileges. Pivot through the network and penetrate into other critical servers like AD, Mail server, etc.
  • Verification: After the security threats have been removed, verification tests are executed.

Last but not least, we provide a comprehensive report with the results, including a summary of all the risks discovered during the assessment categorized by their severity, their implications, and our recommendation on how to mitigate each risk.

eBuilder Security’s Application Penetration Testing Service – The Solution

Backed by 10+ years of experience and OSCP, CISSP, CEH, and OSCE certified consultants, our service combines the knowledge, methodology, processes, and toolsets of our expertise into a single platform for easy use and access.

Our application penetration testing evaluates the robustness of your security system with real-life simulation of hacking into the applications of your system, exploiting vulnerabilities to penetrate your network.

We help organizations perform penetration tests within their environment at any given time, satisfying both compliance requirements and meeting network security best practices. Let us try and attack you, so we can find and fix your vulnerabilities before a cybercriminal exploits them.