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Web Application Penetration Testing

Web Application Penetration Testing

What Is Penetration Testing 

Also known as pentesting, penetration testing in web applications is the process of evaluating and testing the security of web apps by simulating real-life cyberattacks. It is the most commonly used security testing technique for web apps. 

The goal of pentesting is to detect vulnerabilities in the application that can be exploited by hackers and, thus, prevent malicious attacks. 

Types of Penetration Testing 

There are different types and methods of pen-testing that can cover distinct real-world scenarios of cyberattacks. 

To simplify the world of penetration testing, let’s first address the two types of pentesting – external and internal – and then a few of the most common security testing techniques.

External Pentesting

External penetration testing refers to simulated attacks from an external source. This type of testing is performed remotely by a security expert who gains unauthorised access to an application. 

The goal is to detect security loopholes that might be exploited by hackers who try to penetrate the system from the outside. 

Internal Pentesting

Unlike external pentesting, internal penetration testing is done inside the firewall. Its objective is to examine the damages in case of an internal attack from a hacker who breaks into the system using passwords or a rogue employee. 

The simulation consists of a professional tester entering the system with authorisation and analysing the security of the app’s infrastructure. 

Pentesting Techniques and Methodologies 

Black Box Testing 

Black box pentesting is performed by a security expert with zero knowledge of the app’s internal details. 

They try to penetrate the app’s system to find vulnerabilities an external attacker might exploit. This methodology helps evaluate the security of the app from an outsider’s perspective. 

White Box Testing

Unlike white box testing, white box testing is performed by a tester with access to the source code, design, and other internal details.

This technique helps evaluate the app's internal security, including the weaknesses that an attacker may use. 

Gray Box Testing

Grey box testing combines the black box and white box pentesting methods. The security expert gets partial knowledge of the internal workings of the app, such as architecture, but not source code. 

Blind Testing

Blind pentesting is another technique that helps identify vulnerabilities in the app that an external attacker may take advantage of. In this type of pentesting, the security professional gets limited access to information about the app.

Blind pentesting and black box pentesting are very similar. The main difference lies in the amount of information the tester has. Whereas black box pentesting can rely on some information about the app’s functionality, blind testers use almost no data. 

Double-blind Testing

Double-blind pentesting is identical to blind pentesting. However, double-blind pentesting is performed without the knowledge of the target company, unlike the blind pentesting technique. 

Targeted Testing 

This type of pentesting focuses on a specific area of the app’s system. Instead of perusing the entire app structure to identify weaknesses, targeted testing requires security experts to test a specific target. 


Pentesting is a critical element that any web app developer should pay attention to. Web apps are vulnerable to cyberattacks, which is why you should be proactive and identify security loopholes ahead of any potential attacks.

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