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 learn all related terms. We also aim to break down the steps in a website security audit for you to understand and eventually implement it on your website.
This blog post answers 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 exploiting the vulnerabilities to find the risk attached to each vulnerability.
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. We use advanced security tools in addition to 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.
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1. Vulnerability Scanner
A vulnerability scanner is the most basic tool you can use to discover your website vulnerabilities. You will find an abundance of vulnerability scanners online. The top scanners are — Astra’s Health Check, Nikto, Nmap, Mozilla Observatory, etc.
2. Automated Security Audits
Automated security audits are the newest in the picture and easiest to use. You need to 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. Which is…
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 rarely make it to their to-do’s. Thank the lord we have 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. This is a nuanced process and it is very unlikely that a vulnerability will be missed in a professional security audit.
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.
Coming to the cost of a professional security audit. A professional website security audit ranges anywhere between $210 To $750 per scan. The pricing varies with the number of tests & the frequency of the audit (monthly, quarterly, or annual).
This is how the Astra VAPT pricing works. Get in touch to discuss more.
How to do a website security audit?
So far we have learnt what is a website security audit and the 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 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 – 188.8.131.52 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 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:
Replace example.com with your website’s name.
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:
Netsparker is another tool that facilitates a thorough scanning and vulnerability testing for both the web application network and sytem.
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 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 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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