Penetration testing for the inexperienced ethical hacker : A baseline methodology for detecting and mitigating web application vulnerabilities

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Linköpings universitet/Databas och informationsteknik; Linköpings universitet/Databas och informationsteknik

Sammanfattning: Having a proper method of defense against attacks is crucial for web applications to ensure the safety of both the application itself and its users. Penetration testing (or ethical hacking) has long been one of the primary methods to detect vulnerabilities against such attacks, but is costly and requires considerable ability and knowledge. As this expertise remains largely individual and undocumented, the industry remains based on expertise. A lack of comprehensive methodologies at levels that are accessible to inexperienced ethical hackers is clearly observable. While attempts at automating the process have yielded some results, automated tools are often specific to certain types of flaws, and lack contextual flexibility. A clear, simple and comprehensive methodology using automatic vulnerability scanners complemented by manual methods is therefore necessary to get a basic level of security across the entirety of a web application. This master's thesis describes the construction of such a methodology. In order to define the requirements of the methodology, a literature study was performed to identify the types of vulnerabilities most critical to web applications, and the applicability of automated tools for each of them. These tools were tested against various existing applications, both intentionally vulnerable ones, and ones that were intended to be secure. The methodology was constructed as a four-step process: Manual Review, Testing, Risk Analysis, and Reporting. Further, the testing step was defined as an iterative process in three parts: Tool/Method Selection, Vulnerability Testing, and Verification. In order to verify the sufficiency of the methodology, it was subject to Peer-review and Field experiments.

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