1. Review the application’s architecture and design.
When reviewing an application's architecture and design, it is important to consider both the functional requirements of the application as well as its security needs. Start by understanding how the application will be used in order to determine what components need to be included, and how they should interact. Then, identify potential vulnerabilities that could be exploited, such as unauthorized access, data leakage, buffer overflows, SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and insecure authentication methods.
2. Identify and attempt to exploit all input fields, including hidden fields.
Input fields are a common entry point for attackers attempting to gain access to an application. It is important to ensure that all forms of data input are properly validated and sanitized before being stored or processed by the server-side code. Additionally, it is essential to identify any hidden input fields that may exist in order to prevent malicious users from accessing them.
3. Tamper with data entered into the application.
A key aspect of web application security involves testing for tampering with user data. Attackers may attempt to modify data which is entered into forms, such as changing the account type or utilizing a replay attack. Organizations should ensure that all user input is properly validated and checked against any known malicious patterns.
4. Use a variety of automated tools to find vulnerabilities.
Automated tools can be used to identify potential security weaknesses in web applications. These tools can scan an application’s code and architecture for common security issues, such as buffer overflows, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL injection, and insecure authentication mechanisms. Additionally, they can provide recommendations on how to mitigate these vulnerabilities.
5. Scan the network for exposed systems and services.
Network scanning helps organizations identify what services are running on their network and how they are configured. This can reveal any potential security vulnerabilities that may exist, such as open remote access ports or insecure authentication methods. Additionally, scanning can identify any systems which are exposed to the public Internet which should otherwise not be accessible.
6. Attack authentication mechanisms.
Authentication mechanisms provide a way for users to securely access a web application. It is important to ensure that these mechanisms are secure and properly configured in order to protect against malicious attacks. Organizations should also consider implementing two-factor authentication or other strong authentication methods in order to provide an extra layer of protection for users who attempt to gain access to restricted areas of the application.
7. Try to gain access to restricted parts of the web application that should otherwise be only reachable by authorized individuals.
In order to prevent unauthorized access, web applications should restrict user privileges to certain areas of the application. Organizations should ensure that these restrictions are properly enforced and secure against malicious attacks. Additionally, organizations should regularly monitor for any suspicious activity in order to quickly identify and mitigate any potential vulnerabilities.
8. Intercept and modify communications between the client-side and the server-side.
Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks involve intercepting data sent from a client to a server. Attackers can use this type of attack to eavesdrop on sensitive data or even change it before it is received by the server. Organizations should ensure that all communication between the client and the server is encrypted and secured with strong authentication methods in order to prevent MITM attacks.
9. Exploit known vulnerabilities in the web application platform or frameworks it is built on.
Social engineering is a type of attack which involves exploiting the trust that exists between users and organizations. Attackers may use this technique to gain access to sensitive information or take control of systems by manipulating users into providing them access to passwords or other confidential data. Organizations should ensure that all users are properly trained in recognizing and avoiding social engineering tactics, as these types of attacks can be hard to detect and mitigate.