web application penetration testing
Websites are usually client server applications which require testing to ensure that it brings complete satisfaction to the clients when they are using a particular web application. While testing a particular web application certain things are to be kept in mind which are as follows:
- Functionality Testing: While testing for the functionality of the web application certain points are to be kept in mind. First of all you need to validate your HTML or CSS. Next you need to check the forms and their workability in the various pages of the web application along with the various cookies. Next comes the various links that are present on the webpage or website that you have created. Last but not the least is the database testing which checks the consistency of the database along with integrity.
- Usability Testing: You have created your web application to be used by your customers so usability is an important part of the whole system which should be given special importance. Test the web application for easy navigation of the webpage so that smooth operation of the same is ensured. Next comes to the checking of the contents that make up the web page. It should be simple and easily understandable. Search option, sitemap, help files etc. should be present on the web application to help the users.
- Interface Testing: While testing the interface you need to pay special heed to the interface between web server and application server and the interface between the application server and database server. You need to check the various interactions between these two interfaces as well as how the various errors are handled by them. Check for the various error messages if any and also what happens when the communications are stopped midways. Also you need to check that the error queries are properly generated by them.
- Compatibility Testing: The compatibility testing for the web application includes checking for the compatibility of browsers, operating systems, compatibility with the mobile devices as well as the printing options available on the web application which should be customizable. Make sure that your web application is compatible with all the major browsers and operating systems to provide your users with freedom of choice. Also as more people are accessing the web on the mobile devices, you application should be easily accessible or browsed through the same.
- Performance Testing: You never know what kind of traffic inflow you will have on your web application at any given day which makes performance testing very important for your web application. Stress test your application in order to make sure that your web application wouldn’t snap under excessive pressure and would return to its normal working condition even if it did snap. Load testing of the application is also important to make sure that the web application is capable of handling excessive load if required.
- Security Testing: Your customers will be trusting you when they provide you with their personal details while they are using your web application and you have to make sure that these details are safe with you and would not be leaked. For this you need to make your web application is not prone to or can’t be easily hacked. Also check the CAPTCHA if you are applying any along with the SSL which is use as security measures and logging of all the error messages.
This is a complete all important check list for web application testing which will ensure that your web application runs smoothly and provides customers with complete satisfaction.
A large percentage of people nowadays access websites and web applications on their smartphones, tablets and phablets. Also, Google uses mobile-friendliness as a key metric to rank websites. That is why, a gradual increase is being noted in the enterprises opting for responsive design to make their web applications deliver quality user experience across a wide variety of devices. However, it is also important for businesses to get the functionality, performance and user experience of the websites tested thoroughly to impress and engage website visitors. The businesses can always effectuate web application testing by following a number of best practices.
5 Web Application Testing Best Practices Each Tester Must Know
1) Test Web Services Independently
2) Perform Elaborate Cross-Browser Compatibility Testing
To deliver quality user experience, the web application must run seamlessly on different types and versions of web browsers. But the older versions of certain browsers do not support HTML5 and CSS3. So the testers need to ensure that the app runs smoothly on different versions of each commonly used web browser. However, they cannot assess the cross-browser compatibility of the website without using specialized tools. The business must pick the right automation tools to help testers check the application’s functionality across various browsers quickly and efficiently.
3) Pick Specific Criterions for Usability Testing
The usability and user experience of the web application will have a direct impact on keeping the visitors engaged and converting them into customers. So the business needs to ensure that its web application delivers quality and distinct user experience to each visitor. That is why; it must pick the right criterions to assess the application’s usability effectively. To effectuate usability testing of the web application the business must pick key criterions like UX design, performance, speed, readability, accessibility, navigability, and amount of time and effort required by the user to perform a particular task.
4) Scale the Load Tests Incrementally
Each business must replicate the production environment exactly to load tests web applications more effectively. So it must identify and eliminate all issues related to hardware and system configuration in the test environment. At the same time, it is also important for testers to perform the load tests incrementally. They must run tests initially by replicating a smaller number of distributed users, and increase the number of users gradually. The incremental load testing will make it easier for the professionals to identify the exact point where the application crashes. They can perform the load tests in cycles, and analyze the test results of each cycle to assess how the website performs under varying user loads.
5) Create Simple and Reusable Tests
The quality of tests will also have direct impact on the whole web application testing process. Often complex tests affect the workflow adversely, and make it difficult for testers to identify the cause of the problem. The testers must not try to test multiple features or functionalities of the website using a single test. They must write simple tests to check specific features or functionality of the application. They can simply divide the workflow into multiple tests, and write each test to assess a particular aspect of the web application rigorously. At the same time, the testers also need to design reusable tests to quickly access the application across various browsers and devices.
It is always important for the business to make a comprehensive strategy to ensure that all aspects of the web application are tested rigorously. Also, the testers must repeat the tests under various conditions to assess the application’s quality more accurately.
Penetration testing is a part of the software testing procedure which helps you to detect the points of vulnerability present in your web app thus helping you to tweak it to make it stronger and more secure. It is usually performed with the help of manual or automated testing procedures in order to expose the weak points of a system.
- Manage Risk Properly: This is probably the most important aspect of penetration testing, to detect the vulnerable points related to the developed web app. One of the main reasons that an organization finances penetration technique is to make their app secure against attacks of an outside source. Penetration tests help in the detection and categorization of risks as high/medium or low.
- Increase Business Continuity: One of the main concerns of any business organization is a breach in their process of working or business due to systems crashing. Penetration testing helps to make the system full proof against external attacks which in turn helps to make the system a strong one which will not be crashing as often as the non tested ones. Penetration test helps in detection of the various vulnerable points of your web app which can be rectified.
- Minimize Client-side Attacks: Paying attention to just the system security is not a good idea. Organizations need to pay attention to the security of the patch files and the files which are required during the updating process of the system in order to protect the system from client side attacks. Protection of third party files which are required for the updating is also important.
- Protect Clients, Partners and Third Parties: When a system security is breached, it does not only harm the organization which is the target of the attack. It also causes potential harm to the clienteles, third party associated and the partners of the said organization. Penetration testing of the web app helps in determining the weak links of your system so that they can be made more secure and hence protects all the concerns.
- Comply with Regulation or Security Certification: Regular penetration testing of the web in certain interval of time helps in maintaining a high security level of the web app that you have produced. This in turn helps to maintain the standards set by the various boards of certification which have been set up to maintain the standards of the various software which gives a certain benefit to the developed software. .
- Evaluate Security Investment: You may already have a security system for your developed web app. But how secure is that system really? What kind of attacks is it capable of defending? Security testing helps you to determine how well you system is defended by the various posing threats with the help of the already existing security system. This test will bring forth the efficiency of the security system so that you can further improve it based on the requirements.
- Protect Public Relationships And Brand Issues: Developing goodwill for your brand and a healthy relationship with your clients will require years of devotion and hard work. However, a tiny security breach is enough to crumble down all these efforts. Penetration testing of the developed web app will ensure that this security breach is avoided so that you can successfully maintain your brand image in the competitive market.
Now that you are aware of the various benefits of web app penetration testing, be sure to perform it regularly in order to keep your system up to date against posing threats.
Penetration testing is a part of the software testing life cycle that checks out how the particular application being tested react to various attacks which can be both internal and external in nature. However, as the technology is advancing, applications are becoming more complex which leads to the development of certain challenges related to penetration testing.
- Session State Management: One of the most ardent problem of penetration testing is the fact that it becomes difficult for the testers to keep logged into a particular system while testing it. Various developers use various kinds of session tracking systems to keep a track of the traffic inflow into various software. Hence penetration testing will require the testers to manually set the various limitation depending upon the setting of the particular software related to the testing procedure. Often sending an attack to check the vulnerability leads to invalidating the current session.
- Logical Flow: When testing a website, penetration testing may become a bit problematic as certain websites act in different manner than certain others leading to changes in the process of penetration testing of the these software. Some websites provide direct access to the visitors to the main page of the site whereas others have to undergo some steps before they can access the main page or perform their actions related to the website.
- Custom URLs: Yet another problem which is faced during the penetration testing of a particular web application is the presence of various URLs that act in varied ways when they are implemented. Some of them are pretty simple and can be tested with simple methods and yet others make it difficult to fathom which portions or which kinds of attacks are to be implemented.
- Privilege Escalation: These days applications are customized more and more so as to fit the people who are using them completely. This leads to a problem as a single penetration testing method fails to test the vulnerabilities of all the individual custom settings that may be linked to the particular application. It also becomes quite difficult to conjure all the various custom settings that are possible and it kind of becomes a very difficult and time consuming job to detect the various short comings that may be linked with the various custom settings.
- False Negatives/Positives: It often becomes difficult to pin point he vulnerability that is associated with a particular software. Moreover it may so happen that you have created an attack which provides a certain result to the test process which is a false signal of either positivity or negativity. Working on further development of the software based on these results becomes difficult as they do not actually exist in reality or it may also lead to overlooking a problem which is actually present.
These are some of the most raging challenges which are faced by the testers while performing penetration testing on a particular software or web application and with the advancement of technology these challenges will become more persistent.