Security is a hot topic these days. Many organizations are implementing costly security measures to combat the ever-growing threat of cyber attacks, but they forget about their own employees or customers who have access to sensitive data. What can you do? This blog post will help you understand OWASP penetration testing and how it helps reduce your risk exposure by identifying vulnerabilities before malicious hackers take advantage of them. How To Get Started ? The first step is to find OWASP penetration testing tools that work for you. There are several open-sources and commercial tools on the market, but not all of them will fulfil your pen-testing needs and this is where you need to understand why penetration testing is important. It's time to pick a strategy after you've found one that works for you! There are several methods OWASP pen-testers follow when carrying out an attack: Manual – This old-school approach requires manual inspection of vulnerabilities by the tester with no support from automation or scripts. While this sounds easy enough given our technical skills as pen testers, it can be very difficult in practice due to a lack of documentation on how certain systems/websites function. In addition, test cases need to be developed before the OWASP penetration test, which makes this method very time-intensive. Automated – This modern approach to pen testing focuses on using automation tools that provide detailed reports of vulnerabilities found in your OWASP pentest. Rather than spending hours manually inspecting each website for OWASP's top ten issues, automated solutions can identify most (if not all) potential problems during an OWASP pen-testing engagement. While this may reduce the amount of manual effort required by testers, it is important to understand how these automated systems work and what their limitations are before starting an OWASP penetration test with them! Managed/outsourced – Tying back into our first method, managed OWASP pen-tests require you or someone else to develop OWASP pen-testing procedures and OWASP test cases before the OWASP penetration testing even starts. Once you have all of this information gathered together, a penetration testing company or OWASP specialist is brought in to perform the tests for you. In most OWASP pen-testing engagements, these companies will use both automated tools as well as manual methods that were needed due to their ability to adapt based on each unique situation. OWASP Penetration Testing Goals When performing an OWASP penetration test, there are three main goals that should be achieved: Confirming Security Weaknesses – As we already mentioned above, identification is only half the battle when it comes to OWASP's top ten issues. You also confirmed from your OWASP pen-testing that these issues are valid so they can be fixed before the OWASP attack happens. Mitigation of Security Weaknesses – While OWASP pen-testing is mainly used to find problems, it also helps us determine the best course of action when a security issue has been identified. For example, if web application OWASP like cross-site scripting (XSS) and remote code execution (RCE) were found in an OWASP report, we may recommend re-writing or rewriting parts of the web site's source code instead of simply fixing individual OWASP top ten issues. The idea here is not only to fix them but also incorporate mitigations like input validation and output encoding that were appropriate for each type of vulnerability discovered during OWASP pen-testing. Differentiating Between False-Positives and True Vulnerabilities – OWASP penetration testing is meant to find vulnerabilities that may put your OWASP at risk, but it's also important to ensure the results are valid. This means you need a way of differentiating between OWASP top ten issues like cross-site request forgery (CSRF) and false positives such as "OWASP Top Ten" or even simple server misconfigurations. While both can be security risks in their own right, they should not be counted toward OWASP pen test results if they're not real threats/issues! Conclusion OWASP penetration testing is an important part of ensuring your website or network is secure. These tests are designed to identify weaknesses in the security infrastructure for a system, which may be exploited by malicious actors. This guide provides you with some basic information about what OWASP pen-testing entails and how it can help keep your company safe from cyber-attacks. The goal should always be to find vulnerabilities before they're found by someone else!