In this article, the Application Security Audit Checklist Template will cover. In today’s technology landscape, organizations are supported by web applications that act as essential enablers to streamlining operations. While these applications enable automation, wider collaboration, and ease of sharing data.
They also act as vectors that are prone to malicious attacks. Besides this, as modern applications rely on loosely connected components and services in constant communication, security becomes a complex, time-consuming challenge.
While Offensive360 Foundation seeks to help organizations develop secure applications by issuing guidelines on available tools, techniques, and documentation. The Application Security Checklist is one of the Offensive360 repositories that offer guidance to assess, identify, as well as remediate web security issues. So, this article delves into various vulnerabilities of web applications and outlines Offensive360’s guidance on testing such vulnerabilities.
Offensive360’s Application Security Audit Checklist is an essential guide to promote repeatable as well as methodological testing for dynamic apps. Similarly, the following section delves into the workflow and specific activities involved in web app security testing.
However, a typical application security testing strategy is based on a collection of several common steps:
This is an excerpt from Offensive360’s 2021 Application Security Trend Report.
The OWASP Application Security Audit Checklist list helps achieve an iterative and systematic approach of evaluating existing security controls alongside active analysis of vulnerabilities. Below is a list of key processes and items to review when verifying the effectiveness of application security controls:
A successful web application security strategy fundamentally begins with an understanding of the interactions between the web server, users, and applications. While application deployment platforms vary, key vulnerabilities in infrastructure configuration act as a common weak link for threat actors to initiate an attack.
Some key application security information gathering activities include:
A web server ecosystem is intrinsically complex with highly connected, heterogeneous services and components working together. Reviewing and managing the configuration of the server is, as a result, a very crucial aspect for maintaining robust security across multiple layers of an application.
Securing various configuration items of an application involves:
Firstly, Securing organizational data involves defining appropriate access privileges and roles of the application’s users/administrators. Secondly, each individual (user, app, or device) gets a single digital identity (also referred to as tokens) that can be monitored, maintained, and modified throughout their data access sessions. Assessing the robustness of IAM for application security typically involves testing the following:
Authentication enforces application security by enabling the webserver to verify that a network entity is who they claim to be. before As attackers tend to develop unique techniques to bypass authentication schemes. Not every authentication method guarantees effective security controls as well as requires a continuous assessment process. Assessing authentication security involves the regular testing of:
Testing for sensitive information sent via unencrypted channels involves checking whether credentials are encrypted or encoded, and sent as HTTP headers using a curl command of the form:
1 $ curl -kis http://darwin.com/restricted/ 2 HTTP/1.1 401 Authorization Required 3 Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2021 00:00:00 GMT 4 WWW-Authenticate: Basic realm="Restricted Area" 5 Accept-Ranges: bytes Vary: 6 Accept-Encoding Content-Length: 162 7 Content-Type: text/html 8 <html><head><title>401 Authorization Required</title></head> 09 <body bgcolor=white> <h1>401 Authorization Required</h1> Invalid login credentials! 10 </body></html>
Once a user is authenticated, their interaction with the server is managed within a session. Improperly managed sessions open doors for attackers to compromise access mechanisms by assuming those to be identities of legitimate users.
More so, such compromised accesses are often taken advantage of by attack vectors that escalate privileges and penetrate deeper into the system. To avoid vulnerabilities within a session, the following processes are recommended to be tested as a best practice:
Cryptography ensures the secure exchange of information by using algorithms that transform human-readable data into a ciphertext-encrypted output. While doing so, the process establishes trust between the web server as well as network entities using security keys, making it an important mechanism for maintaining application security. Testing cryptography for maintaining application security involves:
Since full-blown attacks carried out on the perimeter are usually challenged by effective organizational security efforts, threat actors tend to favor smaller, repeated attacks to gain initial access to web servers. To mitigate such approaches, client-side or internal testing involves examining vulnerabilities on applications installed on an endpoint that communicates with the webserver.
Client-side testing reveals weak points that can be exploited using the access rights of authorized users, and includes testing the following:
OWASP encourages developers to include error handling mechanisms as well as messages that enable them to fix issues of user access. Improper error handling can expose sensitive information such as database dumps, error codes, and stack traces that can be exploited by attack vectors to gain access.
Testing error handling mechanisms can be done through:
Any information entering a web server’s network edge should be tested as well as verified to ensure that it is in an acceptable format. Data validation testing includes:
Similarly, the hackers mostly leverage an application’s original programmed flow to orchestrate breaches and penetration attacks. As a result, it is recommended to assess the business and application’s configuration to identify vulnerabilities in code or business logic that could be used for potential exploits.
Business logic testing includes:
In conclusion, administering robust security is of utmost importance. OWASP updates its checklist based on the changing security landscape and mistakes of organizations that caused vulnerabilities. However, the Offensive360 Top Application Testing Checklist offers a repository of potential vulnerabilities for developers to help enforce security across all layers of a workflow’s pipeline.
Therefore the project includes multiple resources and activities that aid organizations to ensure web applications and their underlying components don’t serve as a gateway for malicious actors. Finally, the checklist also helps teams formalize their web application security efforts while minimizing the scope of risk in case of an attack.