It’s hard to find a website security guide that does not list Website Security Audit as a must. Cybersecurity enthusiasts have been highlighting the need for a website security audit for a while now. But it is only now that web owners started acknowledging it as a necessity for their business. A reliable website security audit analyzes your web system and its security standards for vulnerabilities & loopholes.

Today, we are going to dig deeper into the website security audit and try to cover all the related terms.  We also aim to break down the steps in a website security audit for you to understand and eventually implement on your website.

This blog post answers your questions like:

  • What is a Website Security Audit?
  • How can you test your website’s security
  • How do you audit a website?
  • Website security audit checklist
  • Website security audit cost
  • Website security audit tools
  • Free Website security sample report

What is a Website Security Audit?

A Website Security Audit is a process that assesses your web system; including core, extensions, themes and other infrastructure for vulnerabilities & loopholes. A thorough web security audit, typically involves static & dynamic code analysis, business logic error testing, configuration tests, etc.

Website Security audits enlist all hidden vulnerabilities in your website and security infrastructure and are generally followed/accompanied by a Penetration test. While a security audit’s purpose is to evaluate and pinpoint the vulnerable areas, a Penetration test revolves around exploiting them. Pentests are nothing but emulating a hacker and a real-life attack situation and exploit the vulnerabilities to find the risk each vulnerability holds.

The most reliable Security audits make use of both automated tools and human acumen. Astra Security’s VAPT Program (tailored to your tech stack) would be an apt example of this. Astra uses advanced security tools in addition to the expert vigilance and brainpower to conduct an end to end website security audit.

How can you test your website’s security?

Vulnerability scanners are the most frequently used tool to test a website’s security. Further, automated security audits, manual security audits and professional security audits also make for the popular choice.

1. Vulnerability Scanner

A vulnerability scanner is the most basic tool you can use to discover your website vulnerabilities. You will an abundance of vulnerability scanners online. Some of them are Astra’s Health Check, Nikto, Nmap, Mozilla Observatory, etc.

Website Vulnerability Scanner
Scan your website for 140+ security issues like header security, cookie security, CORS tests, HTTPS security etc.

2. Automated Security Audits

Automated security audits are the newest in the picture. You need not do anything just enter your website URL in an automated security audit tool and see your vulnerabilities highlighted. Automated tools happen to be fast and provide instant results. However, it might not be so thorough. Automated security audits may not uncover all hidden vulnerabilities in your website. Which is scary. It might create a disillusion that you’re safe, when in fact, you are not.

This brings us to the next type.

3. Manual Security Audits

We saw that the automated security audit didn’t quite make it to up the mark. Enters Manual security audits. Unlike the automated audit, a manual security audit uses both automation as well as human intelligence to analyze the risks. Manual security audits can be thorough. However, it requires acute knowledge of VAPT to weed out false positives. Hence, this method is not recommended for novices. This remains the major downside of Manual security audits.

If you are not too confident doing a web security audit on your own, you can always go for the next option.

4. Professional Security Audits

Let’s confess it, business owners are a busy lot. They have millions of other things to deal with. Doing a vast website security audit manually just doesn’t fit. Then comes – Professional security audits.

Of all the types I mentioned so far, a professional security audit is the most effective one. In a professional security audit, industry experts analyze your website’s security protocols with a mix of both automated and manual resources. Their process is very nuanced and it is very unlikely that a vulnerability will be missed.

With checks like static & dynamic code analysis, business logic error testing, payment manipulation testing, server infrastructure testing, network device configuration, etc Astra covers all the bases to give the most precise results.

Each audit follows by a comprehensive VAPT report. This report comprises of all the vulnerabilities in your website and their possible fixes. Further, Astra also provides you a one-stop dashboard to team up and manage vulnerabilities at one place. Not only this, our experts go beyond their way to assist you/your developer in fixing those vulnerabilities. The following picture sums up Astra’s VAPT process concisely.

Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing by Astra
Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing by Astra

Coming to the cost of a professional security audit. A professional website security audit ranges anywhere between $120 To $999 per scan.

This is how the Astra VAPT pricing works. Get in touch to discuss more.

WWebsite Security Audit cost
Website Security Audit cost

How to do a website security audit?

So far we have learned what is website security audit and various methods of testing your site’s security. Next up is how you can do your website’s security audit on your own.

It’s a struggle to find out how (or where) to start a website security audit. Most web owners feel lost when it comes to executing a security audit.

Cut to the chase, follow the below-listed steps to do a full website security audit:

Step 1. Information Gathering

Tools like Nikto, Nmap, SQLmap work wonders in detecting vulnerabilities in web server, files & directories, database, and more.

Nikto

Nikto is an awesome tools that can render all the information we want to know about a website. Including server, hostname, port, IP, security headers, etc.

To use this tool on Kali Linux, run the following command:

# nikto –h [examplewebserverurl]

Change [examplewebserverurl with your web server’s IP or FQDN. For example, in this case, IP – 45.33.32.156 is used.

Nmap (Network Mapper)

Nmap is used to gather information about the hosting service and other services on the website. It is a crucial step in a website security audit.

To run Nmap on Kali-Linux, run the following command:

nmap -sV -Pn [examplewebserverurl]

Testssl

Testssl checks for SSL/TSL on a server. Since HTTPS was made mandatory for websites, SSL (Secure Socket Layer) became a standard check for a website security audit. It is justifiable because data transfer over HTTPS is encrypted and is less vulnerable to intercepting and middle-man attacks.

To make sure your website uses SSL, run the following command in the folder where testssl has been downloaded:

./testssl.sh [example.com]

Replace example.com with your website’s name.

Arachini

Arachini is another tool popularly used to scan the web application for vulnerabilities. Thus, it can also be used in the Information gathering stage in a website security audit.

To use this tool, go to the folder where Arachini is downloaded and run the following command:

./arachini_web

More tools

Netsparker

Netsparker is another tool that facilitates a thorough scanning and vulnerability testing for both the web application network and sytem.

 

Acunetix

Another tool that serves exceptionally well for vulnerability assessment and web application scanning is Acunetix.

Step 2: Exploitation

The above tools shall have given you sufficient information about your website. The next step in the website security audit is to exploit them to figure out the severity of each vulnerability.

The tools you can use for this part are:

SQLmap

SQLmap is used to find & exploit vulnerabilities in the database. In a website security audit, this tool is also used to inject malicious codes into the database.

Run this command to detect vulnerabilities in your SQL database:

sqlmap -u “example.com?scan=test” --dbs

Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a Suite of tools for Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing. It has various tools used during different stages and purposes in a Vulnerability Assessment & Pentration Testing.

Tools that come under the Burp Suite are: HTTP Proxy, Scanner, Intruder, Spider, Repeater, Decoder, Comparer, Extender & Sequencer.

In the exploitation stage, we can use Burp Suite’s Intruder tool to stage an attack on a website.

The last step remains the manual verification and testing of results.

Delay will cost you!

Hacks are costly. Last year businesses lost millions to hackers. It’s high time that you invested in a cybersecurity solution. The ramifications of a hack include – data theft, ransomware, misuse of data, defamation, and the list goes on.

According to FCC (Federal cooperation council),

“Theft of the data is the most reported crime in the previous year, surpassing physical theft”

To protect your business and customers from hackers, you need to find and patch your vulnerabilities at the earliest. In this blog post we learned the what & why of website security audit. We also saw simpler ways to do website security audits on a website with a mention of useful tools.

If you want to hack your business before hackers do, get it done by Astra.

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About The Author

Jinson Varghese

Jinson Varghese Behanan is an Information Security Analyst at Astra. Passionate about Cybersecurity from a young age, Jinson completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Security from Northumbria University. When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, he spends his time reading InfoSec materials, playing basketball, learning French and traveling.You can follow him on Medium or visit his Website for more stories about the various Security Audits he does and the crazy vulnerabilities he finds.

14 Comments

  1. Hi, I would like to know more about PCI Data security as I am going to start a online buisness soon.

  2. Great article! Can you suggest me few tips on online buisness security that I should follow?

  3. hello, I am running a website (on wordpress) for a very long time and I have a concern about e-commerce fraud. How can I prevent that?

  4. Hi, are there any good password managers? I would like to protect my passwords from hackers.

  5. Hello, Is there any use in investing a good VPN for my website? How important is it?

  6. Hi, my blog is redirecting to strange websites and if its because of malware how can i fix this? I am using wordpress stack.

    • Thanks for responding to the article. WordPress redirect hacks have been a menace for such a long time now. It metamorphs itself into new redirect hacks every few weeks. We have been covering all those types of WordPress redirects as and when they come. Adding to the list is this blog post which uncovers yet another WordPress redirect hack type. This hack redirects blog page visitors to malicious domains. Click here for more information: https://www.getastra.com/blog/911/adaranth-wp-blog-redirection-hack/

  7. Hello, strangely my website got blacklisted by Norton a couple of days ago. I am using magento CMS How can I get rid off this?

    • Thanks for responding to our article. A Magento blacklist by search engine means when a user searches for your website or any related keyword, your website will either not show up or show up with a warning page. Search engines continuously look for any malicious or harmful content on websites. Once they detect anything unusual or potentially harmful, the website will be added to a blacklist. For more information visit this link: https://www.getastra.com/blog/911/magento-blacklist-removal/

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