Web Application Penetration Testing Methodology

Get a Quote in 24 hours

Learn more about our methodology and the steps we use in web application penetration testing engagements.

RedTeam Security's Web Application Penetration Testing Methodology

RedTeam Security’s web application penetration test utilizes a risk-based approach to manually identify critical application-centric security flaws within all in-scope applications. RedTeam Security’s web application pen testing combines the results from industry-leading automated tools with manual testing to enumerate and validate security vulnerabilities, configuration errors, and business logic flaws. In-depth manual application testing enables us to find what a vulnerability scanner often misses.

Using this cybersecurity approach, RedTeam Security’s comprehensive Web Application Penetration Test covers the exploitable vulnerability classes outlined in the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Top 10 and beyond:

  1. Injection
  2. Broken Authentication
  3. Sensitive Data Exposure
  4. XML External Entities (XXE)
  5. Broken Access Control
  6. Security Misconfiguration
  7. Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
  8. Insecure Deserialization
  9. Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities
  10. Insufficient Logging & Monitoring

RedTeam Security’s web app penetration testing is a consistent process based on industry-standard cybersecurity practices for each pen test we perform. Experience has shown our clients and us that our proven web application penetration testing methodology works.

Information Gathering

The information-gathering phase consists of Google search engine reconnaissance, server fingerprinting, application enumeration, and more. Information gathering efforts result in a compiled list of metadata and raw output to obtain as much information about the application’s makeup as possible. Reconnaissance includes web application footprinting, metafile leakage review, listing services, operating system functions, and application fingerprinting. This step maps the in-scope application to prepare for identifying exploitable vulnerabilities collectively.

During the Information Gathering phase, RedTeam Security will:

  • Use discovery tools to uncover information about the application passively.
  • Identify entry points into the web application, such as administration portals or backdoors.
  • Perform application fingerprinting to identify the underlying development language and components.
  • Send fuzzing requests for analysis of error codes that may disclose sensitive data that could be used to launch a more targeted cyber attack.
  • Actively scan for open services and develop a test plan for the latter phases of the vulnerability assessment.

Through testing, RedTeam Security’s penetration testers actively try to force your web applications to leak information and disclose error messages that can be exploited or reveal versions and technologies.

Threat Modeling

With the information collected from the previous step, the testing process transitions to identifying security vulnerabilities in the web application. This step typically begins with automated scans but quickly morphs into manual testing techniques using more pointed and direct tools. During the threat modeling step, assets are identified and categorized into threat categories. These may involve sensitive data, trade secrets, financial documents, etc.

During this phase, RedTeam Security will:

  • Use open-source, commercial, and internally developed tools to identify and confirm well-known vulnerabilities.
  • Spider the in-scope application(s) to effectively build a map of each feature, component, and area of interest.
  • Use discovered sections, features, and capabilities to establish threat categories for more manual/rigorous testing (i.e., file uploads, admin backdoors, web services, editors).
  • Send fuzzing requests to analyze error codes that may disclose valuable information that can launch a more targeted attack.
  • Build the application’s threat model using the information gathered in this and the previous phase to be used as a plan of attack for later stages of the penetration test.
  • Upload vulnerability information to the customer portal for existing vulnerabilities that pen testers will not exploit due to time constraints or device risk.

Vulnerability Analysis

The vulnerability analysis step involves documenting and analyzing vulnerabilities discovered due to Information Gathering and Threat Modeling. This step includes the analysis of output from the various security tools and manual testing techniques.

During the Vulnerability Analysis phase, RedTeam Security will:

  • Compile the list of areas of interest and develop a plan for exploitation
  • Search and gather known exploits from various sources
  • Analyze the impact and likelihood of each potentially exploitable vulnerability
  • Select the best methods and tools for adequately exploiting each of the suspected security vulnerabilities.

Exploitation of Vulnerabilities

Unlike a vulnerability assessment, a penetration test takes the additional step of exploitation. Exploitation involves establishing access to the application or connected components by bypassing security controls and exploiting vulnerabilities to determine their real-world risk through ethical hacking. Throughout this step, we perform several manual tests simulating real-world exploits incapable of being achieved through automated means. During a RedTeam Security web application penetration test, the exploitation phase involves heavy manual testing tactics and is often the most time-intensive.

As part of the Exploitation phase, RedTeam Security will:

  • Attempt to manually exploit the vulnerabilities identified in the previous steps to determine the possible level of risk and level of exploitation.
  • Capture and log evidence to provide proof of exploitation (images, screenshots, configs, etc.).
  • Notify the client of critical findings upon discovering breaches in the web application firewall.
  • Upload validated exploits and their corresponding evidence/information to the project portal for client review.


The reporting step intends to compile, document, and risk rate findings and generate a clear and actionable report, complete with evidence, for the project stakeholders. The pen tester will deliver the information through the customer portal. If a customer requests, a presentation of findings will occur via an online meeting.

During this phase, RedTeam Security will perform the following:

  • Ensure all findings are uploaded to the project portal for client review.
  • Create the web application penetration test report, along with evidence of exploitation and the existence of vulnerabilities. The information will go through an internal review process that is then uploaded to the client portal for review.
  • Additional meetings may occur to ensure the client understands the pen testing findings and recommendations for mitigation or remediation.

Pen Testing Tools

To perform a comprehensive real-world vulnerability assessment, RedTeam Security utilizes commercial tools, internally developed tools, and some of the same tools hackers use on every evaluation. Once again, we intend to assess systems by simulating a real-world attack, leveraging the many tools at our disposal to carry out that task effectively.

Automated vs. Manual Testing

RedTeam Security’s approach consists of about 80% manual testing and about 20% automated testing – actual results may vary slightly. While automated tool testing enables efficiency, it effectively provides areas of interest to further explore through manual testing. At RedTeam Security, we believe that testers can only achieve a practical and comprehensive penetration test through rigorous manual testing techniques and experience.

Free Remediation Retesting

Suppose there are items you choose to remediate after you received your Web Application Pen Test Report. In that case, RedTeam Security is available to retest those remediations and will issue an updated report. Simply put, our objective is to help empower our clients to remediate vulnerabilities, not just find them. As a result, remediation re-testing is provided at no additional cost for up to six findings, within six months of project completion. In the event a significant number of findings are required to be re-examined, or if additional remediation retests would be required please contact your representative who can assist you in determining a solution to fit your particular need. Let us know once you have completed remediations, and we will schedule your retest.

Let's Get Started Today, Schedule a Free Consultation with RedTeam Security

At RedTeam Security, we understand the hard work and level of detail that goes into application development (we’re highly experienced developers!), so we know first-hand how easy it can be to miss some security points. Unfortunately, cybercriminals know this. They’ll be waiting to actively seek to exploit these weaknesses through various attack vectors, such as SQL injection, social engineering, phishing, injecting malware, or exploiting other web application vulnerabilities.

To combat these bad actors, we’ll perform a risk assessment and a vulnerability assessment to help us fully understand your configurations and identify the potential security weakness. Once we achieve this, we’ll use our robust testing tools to see how your web application stands up to our pen-testing.
Our goal is to help your team zero in on critical issues, understand any potential security vulnerabilities, and help you to identify solutions to ensure your web applications are the strongest they can be from a cybersecurity standpoint.

Through the vigorous processes established in our pen testing methodology, our experienced testers will find any weaknesses and help you increase your security posture to prevent future data breaches or other exploits. About 80% of our application penetration testing is manual testing, with 20% being automated vulnerability scan testing. To learn more about web application security testing, schedule your free virtual meeting with a RedTeam Security expert today at 952-836-2770.

Web Application Penetration FAQs

Comprehensive web application security testing includes using commercial tools, internally developed tools, and tools used by hackers to simulate real-world attacks. Reports from this attack are then recorded, and pen testers identify exploitable vulnerabilities.

Web-facing cyber assets often face security threats from unknown origins. Similar simulated attacks are performed to know how well the application is guarded against unknown attacks. Web Application Penetration Testing highlights risk areas and identifies exploitable vulnerabilities that help develop more robust cybersecurity measures around the application.

A penetration test mimics a criminal attack on the web application firewall and may cause the same adverse effects as the criminal attack. Unsuccessful pen testing may result in server crashes, exposure or corruption of crucial data, and more. That’s why ethical hackers apply caution and a clearly laid out strategy before going forward with the test. The guidelines for a safe and successful pen test are provided under the OWASP Top 10 guidelines.
OWASP identifies the top security threats facing web applications; SQL Injection Attacks, Cross-site Scripting (XSS), Broken Authentication and Poor Session Management, Security Misconfiguration, Insecure Deserialization, XML External Entities Injection (XXE), Broken Access Controls, and Vulnerable Components.
The OWASP Penetration Testing Checklist is a step-by-step workflow defining the safe execution of the offensive security measure. During ethical web application hacking, tampering with data with automated tools and manual intervention may happen, causing data leaks. The checklist provides a clear understanding of what is inside and outside the scope of the penetration test.

Why work with RedTeam

Services Datasheet

Learn more about RedTeam Security’s advanced Application, Network and Physical Penetration Testing, Social Engineering and Red Teaming services.

Services Datasheet