OWASP or the Open Web Application Security Project is an international non-profit organization that aims to make materials for web application security free for all and easily accessible through their website.
OWASP pentest reports are given to organizations after the completion of a successful pentest. It details the areas of non-compliance, vulnerabilities detected, measures for remediation, and more.
In this article, we will aim to analyze the OWASP pentest reports, different OWASP testing techniques, and the phases in the OWASP web security testing framework.
What Is The OWASP Testing Project?
The OWASP testing Project was developed to help individuals understand the how, why and what of web application security at ease and without exorbitant costs. This was done by delivering a complete framework as opposed to just a checklist of issues that should be tackled.
This framework helps organizations test their web applications in order to build reliable and secure software. The framework does not simply highlight areas of weakness, although that is certainly a by-product of many of the OWASP guides and checklists.
According to the OWASP testing project, “testing” is defined, as a process of comparing the state of a system or application against a set of criteria. It is done to help organizations identify the steps that need to be undertaken to build and operate a modern web application testing program as well as the elements that are required to make a comprehensive web application security program.
Testing software after its deployment is usually a highly ineffective practice that wastes a vast amount of resources like time, money, and effort. The OWASP testing project guide recommends that testing be integrated and carried out in each phase of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) to minimize and prevent the appearance of any security bugs.
OWASP Pentest Report
An OWASP pentest report is a report provided to organizations after the successful completion of the pentest that follows the OWASP framework for testing. A pentest is said to be only half complete without a well-detailed pentest report to accompany it.
Such a report should be informative, easy to follow, and list all the risks found during the OWASP pentesting. The report should be understandable to executives like CXOs and CTOs as well as the development team who takes care of the remediation of risks listed.
Here is a brief overview of the sections that are included in an OWASP pentest report:
The introduction included various sections like the table of contents, and detailed information about the scope of the test i.e., the number of assets to be tested, rules of engagement, and more.
It should also mention the limitations, i.e. the assets that are not to be tested, and time and access constraints, among other things. Lastly, it should mention the time taken to carry out the testing process while providing a disclaimer for legal purposes stating any specifications to be mentioned.
The executive summary aims at providing the objective of the test as well as the business requirements behind carrying out the tests. Description of the key findings from a business perspective like the possibility of non-compliance, reputation, and legal issues, leaving out the technical details. This section is known as the business impact.
Additionally, strategic recommendations can be provided on how to stop the repetition of such issues while being constructive and meaningful. Use imagery, graphs, or illustrations only if they help deliver a message concisely.
This is the section that is aimed at the development team in charge of carrying out the remediations. This section is detailed and will include all the relevant information regarding a vulnerability that makes it reproducible in order to resolve it efficiently.
This will include a summary of the findings followed by a detailed list of vulnerabilities with all the important information ranging from its reference IDs, CVSS scores, impact, steps on how to remediate it, as well as additional resources like PoC videos that can help make the remediation process easier.
This section will detail the methodologies opted for while pentesting like OWASP and NIST, details on the tools used for testing as well as a checklist of all the tests conducted to find the vulnerabilities.
Different OWASP Testing Techniques
Here are some of the different testing techniques recommended by the Open Web Application Security Project:
1. Penetration Testing
Penetration testing or ethical hacking is usually carried out using one of the three approaches which are black-box, white-box, or gray-box penetration testing. In black-box penetration testing the tester has no information regarding the target whereas, in the cases of white and gray box pentests, testers have full knowledge and partial knowledge respectively.
Web application penetration testing comes with a lot of advantages i.e. it isn’t time-consuming, it is cost-effective, and it can test codes that are actually exposed.
2. Source Code Review
This is the process of manually checking the source code of a web app for security risks. Many serious security vulnerabilities cannot be detected with any other form of analysis or even penetration testing.
Such extremely difficult problems can be discovered by source code analysis, making it the technique of choice for technical testing. Source code reviews can detect concurrency problems, flawed business logic, access control problems, cryptographic weaknesses, and various forms of malicious code.
3. Manual Inspections
These are reviews conducted by humans to test the security implications of individuals, policies, and procedures followed. It can also include inspection of technology decisions such as infrastructural designs.
Manual inspections are the best way to test the software development life-cycle to ensure adequate placement of policies in place. It is recommended that a trust-by-verify model be chosen when carrying out a manual inspection to ensure the accuracy of information.
Other activities that can be carried out using manual inspections are manually reviewing the documentation, secure coding policies, security requirements, and architectural designs
4. Threat Modelling
This is a well-known technique that helps system designers think about the risks to security that their systems and applications might face. It is essentially a risk assessment for applications.
It helps in the development of mitigation strategies against potential threats, thus allowing the focus to be placed on parts of a system that require it urgently.
Threat models are usually recommended to be developed early on in the SDLC cycle and should be updated as the application evolves and grows. This can be done by following NIST frameworks or other open-source projects that aid threat model development.
Phases In OWASP Web Security Testing Framework
Here is a brief on the various phases included in the OWASP framework for web security testing:
Phase 1- Before Development
This phase includes developing an SDLC, policies, and standards. This part of the documentation is crucial since it sets the guidelines to be followed by the development team.
Phase 2- Designing
Here security requirements are reviewed and tested to find out any gaps in security measures like authentication, authorization, and other aspects of security. This is also the phase where threat models are created to ensure threats when and if discovered are mitigated seamlessly.
Phase 3- Developing
Many design decisions are made during development which results in the need for a code walk-through where codes are reviewed in detail in terms of their logic and flow. A code walk-through is followed by a review for the same to validate against different checklists or regulations.
Phase 4- Deployment
This is the phase during which the web application is tested by means of penetration tests to find any vulnerabilities or security bugs that could taint the efficiency of the application.
Phase 5- Maintenance
This is a continuous process that requires carrying out period health checks for the applications as well as management reviews to ensure the smooth functioning of the application both in terms of operation and management.
OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities
Here are the OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities explained in brief.
1. Broken Access Control
Broken access control is the failure of enforcing or implementing the security policy. Missing or inadequate access controls may grant unauthorized users access to sensitive data or give authorized users access to unauthorized data.
2. Cryptographic Failures
Cryptographic failures can happen in any cryptosystem. To be precise, a cryptosystem includes a cryptographic algorithm and a cryptosystem environment. The cryptosystem environment includes all the information necessary to use the algorithm.
Injection attacks (also known as injection flaws, injection vulnerabilities, and injection exposures) are a type of security vulnerability that arises when an application takes user input and uses that input in an unsafe way.
4. Insecure Design
Insecure design is a broad category representing weaknesses, expressed as “missing or ineffective control design.” In web applications, it usually means that the website owner has not taken enough care to make sure the application is not vulnerable to security attacks.
5. Security Misconfiguration
Security misconfiguration results from inattention to security, lack of understanding of security best practices, or both. Security misconfiguration is often viewed as a security control problem, but it is a control weakness that can lead to security incidents, data breaches, and other issues.
6. Vulnerable and Outdated Components
The term “vulnerable” or “outdated” components are used to describe software susceptible to being breached, hacked, or otherwise compromised. An attacker may exploit vulnerabilities for several reasons, such as to gain access to unauthorized information or modify data.
7. Identification and Authentication Failures
Improper authentication, access, and session management are critical to protecting users from various security attacks. Some common vulnerabilities are
- Improper session management
- Weak password policy
- Missing brute force protection
8. Software and Data Integrity Failures
Software and data maintain integrity when they are in their expected state. This means that the data is securely stored, the application is working correctly, and functioning as expected.
9. Logging and Monitoring Failures
A large part of preventing a security incident is having a solid security monitoring and logging system in place. Security logs contain forensic information such as the source and destination addresses, files accessed, and other security-related information.
10. Server-Side Request Forgery
Server-Side Request Forgery (SSRF) is when an application makes an unauthenticated request to a remote host and does not validate the request correctly. The attacker is then allowed to forge requests from the vulnerable server to any valid host on the internet o retrieve information from various networks, or exploit vulnerabilities.
Astra Security and OWASP Pentesting
Astra is the ultimate choice for your OWASP pentesting needs as it makes security testing easy and automated. Carrying out more than 3000 tests, Astra helps in the identification of a large number of vulnerabilities using its ever-evolving scanner detecting OWASP top 10, SANS 25, and other vulnerabilities based on bug bounty reports, known CVEs, and previous pentesting data.
Confidential, susceptible data is always on the move or is stored digitally by most public and government agencies. This makes OWASP penetration testing a much-needed safety measure to ensure their systems are safe from any vulnerabilities that could threaten data safety.