Web Application Penetration Testing – 4 Tools to Help You Hack Your Way to a Secure Website

Web Application Penetration Testing – 4 Tools to Help You Hack Your Way to a Secure Website

Web application penetration testing, or the “pen test,” is the radical big brother to many popular security programs and tools. Whereas a vulnerability scanner just helps you identify network issues, a pen test allows you to attack those breaches in your security by actually hacking into your own website.

The way it works is that this “ethical hack” searches for security weaknesses, simulating outside attacks that could gain access to a web application’s features and data. Part of a full security audit, web application penetration testing employs methods that determine if the weak points of a system can be broken into or not. The process begins with a list of potential vulnerabilities that could cause security issues, often ranked according to critical nature. Next, you’d create a penetration test to attack your system both from within the network and from outside to check for unauthorized access. If unauthorized access is possible, the fix is made and a series of steps are rerun until it’s clear the issue is resolved.

Which Pen Test Tool Do You Need?

Testers, network specialists, and security consultants should always have a grip on testing methodologies, but today’s pen test tools make it possible for anyone to start the process themselves. Four of the best available web application penetration testing tools on the market include:

  1. Metasploit – Among the most advanced and popular pen-testing frameworks, Metasploit is based on the “exploit” concept, which is a code that can surpass security measures and enter a specified system. If the exploit code gains access, Metasploit then runs a “payload” code that performs operations on a target machine. This program can be used on all web applications, networks, and servers; has a command-line; and a GUI clickable interface.
  2. CORE Impact Pro – CORE Impact has been specifically designed to test mobile and network device penetration, along with password identification and cracking capabilities. This program has a command-line and GUI clickable interface, and works with Microsoft Windows. Although one of the most expensive tools on the market, this robust pen tester and vulnerability assessment tool gives you a very clear picture of potential security problems.
  3. Burp Suite – Burp Suite from Portswigger may just essentially be a scanner, but security testing specialists claim you cannot pen test without it. Highly cost-effective, its strengths lie in intercepting proxy, crawling content and functionality, and web application scanning. Use this multi-functional tool with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
  4. Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) – The only completely free tool on this list, you can’t live without it. Both a scanner and an attacker, this integrated penetration testing tool is easy to use. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just getting started as a functional tester, this program was designed to fit a wide range of security experience. ZAP features proxy intercepting properties, along with a variety of scanners and spiders, and it functions on most platforms.
  5. With an ever-changing landscape of hackers, viruses, and security violations, you can’t afford to not have the best web application penetration testing tools at your fingertips. For more questions about these preventative methods, get in touch with us today.