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With these data breach trends posing threats to a wide range of industries, there is a growing need for preventive measures that will be able to identify vulnerabilities and fix them before it is too late. 

Penetration testing is one of the quality control measures that can help companies secure their web applications and identify potential real-world attacks on web systems. It pinpoints vulnerabilities before an attacker does. Web app pentesting finds flaws in apps or weak points in infrastructure and aids in validating security guidelines.

In this post, Devox Software will share its expertise in web app pentesting, explain what it is and how it works, and recommend the best web app penetration tools that will aid you in testing your web app more thoroughly and effortlessly.   

What is Web App Penetration Testing?

Web app penetration testing, commonly referred to as pen testing, is a technique used by computer security professionals to assess a web application’s vulnerability and identify security flaws in a computer application. Penetration testing simulates real security attacks on the web app to see if a “weak point” can be penetrated.

The objective of web app penetration testing is to find internal security patches across the entire web application (root code, database, back-end network). Also, it should assist in compiling a list of the risks and vulnerabilities that have been found, along with workable solutions for addressing them. 

Conducting web app penetration testing is vital for ensuring your web app’s overall security. Companies take advantage of the findings of web app penetration testing to strengthen the security of their apps.

Web Application Penetration Testing Methodologies

Web app pentesting methodologies are sets of best practices for testing from the security sector. Although there are a few well-known and well-established methodologies and standards that can be utilized for testing, since each web application necessitates a particular set of tests, testers can develop their own methodology by making use of the standards currently on the market.

Some of the methodologies and standards for security testing include: 


OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) is an online community that creates freely available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies in web security. 

It is strongly advised to use the OWASP testing recommendations while conducting technical security testing. The testing guides are presented below for web/cloud services, mobile apps (Android/iOS), and IoT firmware, depending on the types of applications.

  • Web Security Testing Guide by OWASP
  • Mobile Security Testing Guide by OWASP
  • Methodology for OWASP Firmware Security Testing


OSSTMM (Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual) is a method for security testing that has undergone peer review and is maintained by the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies (ISECOM). To stay up to speed with the status of security testing, the handbook is revised roughly every six months.

This web application penetration testing methodology for suitable for the following: 

  • testing the operational security of physical locations, workflow, 
  • human security testing, 
  • physical security testing, 
  • wireless security testing, 
  • telecommunication security testing,
  • data networks security testing. 

Instead of a practical or technical application penetration testing manual, OSSTMM can serve as a supplementary reference for ISO 27001.

OSSTMM has the following significant sections:

  • Security Evaluation
  • Measures of operational security
  • Trust Evaluation
  • Flow of Work
  • Testing Human Security
  • Testing for Physical Security
  • Testing for Wireless Security
  • Testing for Telecommunications Security
  • Testing Data Network (LAN) Security
  • Compliance Guidelines
  • Reporting with the STAR (Security Test Audit Report)
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The Penetration Testing Framework (PTF) offers a thorough, practical introduction to penetration testing. Additionally, each testing category’s usage of the security testing tools is listed. The principal area of penetration testing consists of the following:

  • Enumeration
  • Network Fingerprinting (Reconnaissance
  • Discovery and Probing
  • Cracking passwords 
  • Vulnerability Analysis 
  • AS/400 Auditing
  • Bluetooth Specific Testing
  • Cisco Specific Testing
  • Citrix Specific Testing
  • Network Backbone
  • Web Server Security Test 
  • VoIP Security
  • Wireless Penetration
  • Physical Security


ISSAF (Information Systems Security Assessment Framework) is a methodology where the penetration tester mimics the hacking processes by adding a few more stages. The phases it passes through are as follows: 

  • Collection of data
  • Network mapping
  • Identification of vulnerabilities
  • Gaining access and privilege escalation
  • Compromising remote users or sites
  • Preserving access
  • Covering the tracks

The Main Steps of Web Penetration Testing

Web penetration testing focuses on the setup procedure and the surrounding environment rather than the software itself. It entails learning more about the intended web application, tracing down the network that hosts it, and looking into potential entry points for injection or tampering attacks.

The steps in web app penetration testing are as follows:

Step 1: Information Gathering

Information gathering or reconnaissance is the initial stage of web app pen testing. The tester receives information from this stage that can be used to find and take advantage of web app vulnerabilities.

Gathering information that is easily accessible online while avoiding direct interaction with the target system is known as passive reconnaissance. Google is primarily used for this, starting with subdomains, DNS, links, earlier iterations, etc. On the other hand, active reconnaissance entails directly probing the target system to obtain an output.

Step 2: Execution Phase

The actual exploitation phase comes as the next step. Based on the information testers obtained during the reconnaissance stage, they carry out the attacks in this phase.

You can employ various techniques for the attacks. It is where data collection is crucial. According to your prior insights, the knowledge you gathered will assist you in focusing on the tools you need.

Step 3: Reporting and Conclusions

After data collection and exploitation, the next step is drafting the web application pen testing report. Your report should have a clear format, and facts should back up all conclusions. Keep to the effective strategies, and give a thorough account of the process.

To help the developers concentrate on dealing with the more significant exploits first, you could categorize the successful exploits and note their success.

Web Application Penetration Tools We Recommend

While you can try to create a pen test yourself, there are many open source penetration test tools on the market to hit the trouble spots and gather data rapidly, enabling practical security analysis of the system. 

Before getting into the specifics of the web application security tools, what they do, and where you can find them, let’s make it clear that there are two types of tools you can use for pen testing: web application scanning tools and attackers. Now let’s look at some of the best web application penetration testing tools, their peculiarities, pros and cons, and availabilities for different systems.


Nmap is a free and open source network scanner for researching and auditing network security and detecting active network services. Since its publication in 1997, this website security test tool has become a standard in the field of information security. 

NMAP is a feature-rich tool that can scan various IP addresses, locate active systems, ascertain which ports are open on those systems, and identify the corresponding OS systems. This well-liked hacking tool mainly helps comprehend the characteristics of any target network. A network manager can use it defensively to find flaws, as with all security tools.

The tool is essential for ethical hackers. The traits are host, services, operating system, packet filters, and firewalls, etc. It is open-sourced and functional in the majority of settings.


Wireshark is a network protocol analyzer and is well known for providing the tiniest information about network protocols, packet information, decryption, etc. It is open source and works with many operating systems, including Windows, Linux, OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, and NetBSD.

Wireshark offers alternatives for offline analysis and live capture. By capturing data packets, you can examine different properties, including source and destination protocol. The Wireshark pack may optionally include coloring rules for quick, intuitive analysis.

Through a GUI or the TTY-mode TShark program, users can inspect the information retrieved with this tool.

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Metasploit is the most popular and cutting-edge framework available for pen testing. It is based on the idea of an “exploit,” a program that can access a system despite security precautions. It provides the ideal platform for penetration testing since, upon entry, it executes a “payload”—code that performs actions on the target machine.

Metasploit aids professional teams in managing and verifying security assessments, enhancing awareness and equipping and empowering defenders to maintain an advantage. It helps assess security, locates vulnerabilities, and put up a defense. This program lets a network administrator break in and find critical vulnerabilities. 

Metasploit can be applied to servers, networks, web applications, etc. It has a command-line interface and works with Linux, Apple Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows. It is a commercial product, even though a few free, limited trials might be available.

Burp Suite

The Burp Suite is a web app scanner. The tool can map the track surface and analyze requests between a browser and destination servers. Burp Suite is an industry-standard tool used by most information security specialists and leverages Web Penetration Testing on the Java platform.

Burp Suite is available in two editions. The tools required and necessary for scanning operations are included in the free version. You can choose the second edition if you need advanced penetration testing. 

Burp Suite can automatically crawl websites and online apps. The tool is accessible on Linux, Windows, OS X, and Windows.

John The Ripper

John The Ripper is an essential password-cracking tool that offers a variety of systems for this purpose. It has automatic recognition of various password hashes. The tool can find databases’ password vulnerabilities and enables people to browse online documentation, including a summary of changes between different versions. 

John The Ripper is available as a free download. The tool is suitable for Linux, Mac OS X, Hash Suite, and Hash Suite Droid.

Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP)

Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP) is a scanner and security vulnerability finder for online applications. It is free to use. It is a part of the free OWASP community. ZAP is perfect for testers and developers just starting with penetration testing. It operates in a multi-platform setting, as a proxy for the client and your website.

ZAP has many scanners, crawlers, and tools. It has four modes with customizable options. ZAP has a good performance on most platforms. Java 8+ is required to install the tool on Windows and Linux systems.

A Getting Started (PDF), Tutorial, User Guide, User Groups, and StackOverflow are all included in the extensive support area. Users may learn everything there is to know about Zap development through Source Code, Wiki, Developer Group, Crowdin, OpenHub, and BountySource.


SQLmap is a SQL injection takeover tool for databases. This tool is primarily used to identify and locate weaknesses and take advantage of SQL injection vulnerabilities in an application to hack database servers. 

SQLmap supports all injection techniques, including Union, Time, Stack, Error, and Boolean. It also supports the following platforms for databases: MySQL, SQLite, Sybase, DB2, Access, MSSQL, and PostgreSQL. 

SQLmap is an open-source tool that simplifies the process of attacking SQL injection flaws on database systems. It executes programs via the Windows, Mac OS, and Linux systems command line. A command-line interface is included. 

Secure Your Web App with Devox Software

Using web app penetration testing proactively will help you identify potential vulnerabilities of your web app infrastructure before possible phishing attackers do and defend it. Automated penetration testing tools above can help conduct pen testing more efficiently and prevent possible data breaches. You will pinpoint vulnerable areas that require security reassessment and reinforce your security procedures by analyzing pen test results.

Devox Software offers custom web application development and quality assurance testing services to established businesses and start-ups in the USA, Western Europe, and the Middle East. Our engineers have successfully finished more than ten projects and released them without any bugs. 

Contact us to learn more about web app penetration testing services.