The Importance of Regular Vulnerability Assessments for Businesses

The Importance of Regular Vulnerability Assessments for Businesses

The Importance of Regular Vulnerability Assessments for Businesses

Vulnerability Assessments

Hackers are getting innovative when it comes to cyber attacks in this fast-evolving yet challenging digital landscape. From small business owners to MNCs, every business knows that vulnerability assessments can’t be overlooked or forgotten. Further, every organization is taking comprehensive measures to provide a shield to data and infrastructure.

This reliance on technology certainly makes applications and networks vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks. To the rescue, organizations have started enhancing security through regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. Simply put, regular vulnerability assessments have become essential to safeguarding web applications, sensitive information, and the overall organization.

Before we move forward, you should have a simple understanding of vulnerability assessments. A vulnerability assessment is a straightforward and systematic process for identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing security vulnerabilities in organizations’ applications and processes.

Every organization knows what a cyberattack can do to a business. It can lead to significant financial loss, reputable damage, and legal repercussions. Through these vulnerability assessments, businesses are taking a proactive approach to addressing potential flaws before they can be exploited.

There are still many aspects to understand regarding the importance of regular vulnerability assessments for businesses. This blog will explore this importance, highlighting types, processes, benefits, and best practices.

Understanding Vulnerability Assessments

In simple terms, vulnerability assessments are a well-structured process of identifying, quantifying, and prioritizing security weaknesses in an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Vulnerability assessments are crucial for evaluating software, hardware, processes, and networks and identifying weaknesses that could cause a cyberattack. The main goal of these assessments is to unveil and mitigate potential risks. This also helps maintain a secure environment where businesses can protect sensitive data and continue operations smoothly.

Types of Vulnerabilities

An organization’s IT infrastructure can attract various forms of vulnerabilities. The main types of vulnerabilities for businesses include software and network vulnerabilities. Let’s understand what these vulnerabilities mean.

Software Vulnerabilities

Understanding software vulnerabilities can be a modern way to manage potential security threats in today’s digital landscapes. These flaws can be exploited by hackers to gain unauthorized access or cause damage.

Some applications are vulnerable due to overall design defects. Sometimes, vulnerability assessments identify software vulnerabilities due to specific coding errors. Some of the most common examples of software vulnerabilities include:

 

  • SQL Injection: Such vulnerabilities let hackers insert malicious commands, commonly known as SQL code, into the database, which results in the database being manipulated. In case of a successful cyber attack, hackers can have unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) occurs when a hacker inserts malicious scripts into web pages seen by other users. As a result, hackers could potentially steal session cookies and redirect viewers to malicious sites.
  • Butter Overflows happen when the owner adds more data than the capacity of a web page or program. Consequently, a hacker can exploit arbitrary code.

Network Vulnerabilities

In layman’s terms, network vulnerabilities are flaws in network protocols and software, hardware, or organization process configurations. Such weaknesses let a hacker gain unauthorized access or disrupt services, resulting in a security breach. Some of the most common examples of network vulnerabilities include:

 

  • Open Ports: Unsecured open ports can provide an entry point for hackers to access the network easily and exploit the services through those ports.
  • Weak Encryption: Networks with insufficient encryption standards are easily targeted. Attackers can easily transfer sensitive data and use it maliciously.
  • Misconfigured Firewalls: Attackers can usually easily detect default settings. Such vulnerabilities allow unauthorized traffic into the network, exposing data to external threats.

Why Regular Vulnerability Assessments are Necessary for Businesses?

Security professionals use vulnerability assessments to ensure an organization’s IT infrastructure is safe. As businesses have sensitive data and networks, cyber attacks primarily start when someone gains unauthorized access. Let’s understand the benefits of regular vulnerability assessments, which will answer your question of why they are necessary.

Verify Current Security Controls

Vulnerability management has become an essential part of every business. It ensures that a business’s current security controls are effective. By conducting regular vulnerability assessments, professionals can check and confirm that the latest security patches are installed correctly. This also ensures that if any vulnerability arises, it can be addressed promptly, reducing the risk of exploitation.

Proactive Detection

Regular vulnerability assessments allow businesses to identify potential weaknesses before attackers exploit them. This helps professionals stay ahead of potential threats and maintain a strong security posture.

Examples of Common Vulnerabilities

Some of the most common vulnerabilities a business can face are as follows:

 

  • Outdated Software and Unpatched Systems: Attackers often target applications with outdated and unpatched systems. By conducting regular vulnerability assessments, organizations can ensure that all networks, processes, and applications are up-to-date and secure.
  • Poor Authentication Practices and Weak Passwords: These practices result in security risks. Applications and networks without multi-factor authentication give attackers easy access. Attackers can easily guess passwords and break into the system and data. With regular vulnerability assessments, businesses can rectify weak password policies and enhance security.
  • Misconfigured Security Systems: Misconfigured security can result in serious security gaps. If improperly configured firewalls, routers, and servers allow attackers to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information, regular vulnerability assessments can identify misconfigurations and correct them.
  • Web Applications and Unauthorized APIs: Attackers often track and target applications and APIs through internet exposure. Regular vulnerability assessments detect such flaws and implement necessary controls to protect data online.

Reduce the Risk of Breaches

Data and financial loss from such breaches can lead to reputable damages and legal repercussions. Businesses often think vulnerability assessments are not that necessary. However, neglecting this expense can lead to potential consequences. The whole process of vulnerability assessments identifies and evaluates the findings and prioritizes fixing the bugs.

 

    • Data Breaches: The digital landscape and many unseen weaknesses are growing fast. Such vulnerabilities leave your application or network exposed, resulting in cyberattacks.
    • Financial Losses: These days, the average cost of a data breach is almost about $5 million. Such data breaches often lead to hefty legal procedures and fines. Also, data recovery is an extra cost. As the industry evolves, the cost of cybersecurity is rising, too.
    • Reputational Damage and Loss of Competitive Edge: A security breach often leads to loss of trust in customers, reputational damage, and loss of competitive edge. Moreover, customers hesitate to do business with such businesses. Cyberattackers also cripple the ability to grow.


    Regular vulnerability assessments can identify and address such vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them. It also makes it hard for attackers to get in with new fixes, resulting in a reduction in security breaches.

Meet Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Every industry is governed by standard requirements that businesses must follow. Businesses must meet compliance and adhere to regulatory requirements, which are designed to ensure effective cybersecurity measures. Moreover, meeting such requirements is necessary to avoid legal repercussions, penalties, and damage to reputations.

Regular vulnerability assessments are not explicitly required by GDPR but allow companies to take appropriate steps to prevent cyberattacks. Other guidelines, such as the General Data Protection Regulation, include ISO standards similar to security measures.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) states that vulnerability scanning can be vital to maintaining a company’s compliance status. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) exists for healthcare organizations. Healthcare organizations must run regular vulnerability assessments to identify threats and protect patient-sensitive information.

Additionally, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) has a provision that mandates agencies and contractors to implement security programs. This way, federal agencies can protect government data and systems. In this case, regular vulnerability assessments are essential to help federal data and systems.

Alignment with CIS Controls

What are CIS Controls?
The Center for Internet Security Controls (CIS) is a set of practices designed to help businesses maintain a security posture. These controls provide a framework for addressing significant cyber attacks. CIS controls play a crucial role by offering a practical guide to businesses to take cybersecurity measures to protect digital assets. These controls cover security domains, including constant monitoring, asset management, and more. Three specific CIS controls highlight the relevance of vulnerability assessments. Let’s discuss them further.
  • CIS Control 7: Continuous Vulnerability Management

This CIS control focuses on the requirement of ongoing evaluation and remediation of vulnerabilities. An organization can regularly scan and monitor applications to detect new vulnerabilities and address existing ones. Further, organizations can maintain a proactive stance and minimize risks by using continuous vulnerability management.

  • CIS Control 9: Email and Web Browser Protections

Cyberattackers commonly target emails and web pages. By securing email gateways and hardening web browsers, organizations can reduce the risk of phishing attacks, malicious exploitation, and malware distribution.

  • CIS Control 16: Application Software Security

Application Software Security generally addresses and secures coding practices through regular vulnerability assessments. This way, organizations can build applications with more security and fewer vulnerabilities.

Cost-Effective Security Strategy

Data breaches can cost businesses a lot of money. When it comes to data loss, organizations can face legal actions and even fines along with damages. Regular vulnerability assessments will save money in the long term as they are easy. Moreover, addressing vulnerabilities before they get exploited can significantly reduce financial loss. The cost of a data breach is always more than the cost of identifying vulnerabilities.

Building Customer Trust

No customer returns to organizations where they have experienced a security breach, be it B2B or B2C. From customers to stakeholders, everyone values a business’s honesty about its security strategies. Regular vulnerability assessment enhances credibility among customers, partners, and shareholders. This customer trust is crucial to maintaining a long-term business relationship with a positive reputation.

Enhance Security Posture

Regular vulnerability assessments help businesses continuously improve their overall security posture. This way, businesses can identify the weaknesses and strengths in their applications. Once the flaws are identified, businesses can take robust steps to patch software vulnerabilities and have a secure IT environment.

This ongoing vigilance helps identify hidden and new threats, evaluate current controls, and implement updates to patch the system. Further, as new threats emerge, vulnerability assessments help implement security measures and an adaptive approach. This includes risk-based prioritization, continuous monitoring, and flexibility to adapt to changes.

Conclusion

Regular vulnerability assessments have been a crucial part of a robust cybersecurity strategy, from fixing patches to building customer trust. Businesses can proactively detect and address security weaknesses by enhancing their security posture, building trust, protecting data, and complying with regulatory requirements.

No matter how big or small you are, regular vulnerability assessments are crucial for every business. So, when did your applications or networks last have a vulnerability assessment? Invest in regular assessments with Peneto Labs. Contact Peneto Labs for professional vulnerability assessment services and save your assets today!

Top Future Trends in API Security Testing

Top Future Trends in API Security Testing

Top Future Trends in API Security Testing

API Security testing

The digital landscape of 2024 is all about web apps and APIs. Starting right from your groceryneeds to safeguarding sensitive data or financial details, these applications are a part of our daily lives. Hence, security is paramount for these applications and web pages.

Understanding the need for security, the API security testing process is necessary for secure API development. If not addressed well, the future of API security will become more prone to vulnerabilities leading to cyber-attacks. The only conclusion we can draw from such API attacks is that the present situation could worsen in the coming years if not secured now.

Before we proceed, you might have questions like “How do we secure API development?” or “What are the comprehensive API pen testing strategies?” and more. This blog will cover every aspect of upcoming API security testing so you can better understand it. Let’s dive in.

What is API Security?

To understand API security testing, we must first understand its meaning. In simple terms, API security stands for application programming interface security. This practice prevents or mitigates attacks on APIs.

API security testing methods safeguard sensitive data when transferred. APIs are a backend framework for applications and mobiles. In other words, an API is an interface that defines a language of interaction between different software. They protect all data formats used in Internet of Things (IoT) applications and web pages.

Emerging Trends of API Security Testing

The dynamics of API security testing are evolving by the day. The future of API security will have trends that speed up the testing and simplify the whole process. Modern API pen testing trends help identify, prevent, and mitigate security risks in applications and web pages. We have created a detailed list of API security best practices for 2024. Let’s dive in:

Manual Penetration Testing

Be it a traditional method, it is still one of the top choices regarding API security. Manual penetration testing, or pen testing, is a process by a team of humans to attack and break a computer network to identify vulnerabilities. This method helps organizations improve the security of their networks and applications. Although time-consuming, manual penetration testing is the most effective method so far.

Where automated scans miss out on complex vulnerabilities, manual penetration testing simulates real-world attacks. This way, testers can identify vulnerabilities that automated tools often overlook. Further, human expertise plays a crucial aspect in manual penetration testing. With good experience in the industry, a professional can analyze and interpret more effectively.

Manual penetration testing creates real-world scenarios that test APIs’ resilience against security challenges. In addition, regular pen testing helps people be aware of evolving vulnerabilities and address them promptly. Once manual penetration testing is completed, testers provide meticulous reports that help mitigate and fix security issues.

Automated Scans

In simple terms, Automated scans, also known as automated penetration testing, identify vulnerabilities in systems, applications, and networks without human intervention. They perform continuous and systematic checks to identify potential vulnerabilities attackers could exploit. Automated API security scans have many benefits.

Automated scans or automated penetration testing provide continuous monitoring through surveillance. This ensures the identification of vulnerabilities and addresses security issues before any severe threat occurs. Further, automated scans provide regular and comprehensive coverage for all aspects of the API.

Automated scans are part of CI/CD security. This integration with the Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline helps organizations detect security flaws early. As a result, organizations can reduce the risk of exploitation before reaching the production stage. In addition, setting up real-time alerts for automated scans helps to provide immediate response when vulnerabilities are detected.

Secure Code Reviews

Secure code review is a simple yet systematic way of reviewing software source code to detect and fix security vulnerabilities. It is one of the best practices of the software development cycle and helps to improve the overall security and quality of the application.

Being an integral part, this approach helps identify security flaws in the early stages. This results in a secure API development with fewer breaches and attacks. A secure code review’s primary goal is to ensure that the software complies with the security standards. This primarily helps identify vulnerabilities and save time, money, and reputation. A secure code review also ensures that code is laid down most securely, reducing the risk of potential threats and attacks. Not only this, developers also use this tool to streamline the process by scanning the code for basic and common vulnerabilities.

In addition to automated tools, peer reviews help to understand different perspectives and add another layer of scrutiny. There might be something that one developer misses; peer reviews catch such issues and ensure a more secure codebase.

Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

Another trending API security testing tool is Software Composition Analysis (SCA). Simply put, it is an automated process that detects open-source software in a codebase. The primary goals of SCA are to evaluate security, license compliance, and code quality.

SCA is essential for spreading awareness about organizations’ open-source license limitations and obligations. Moreover, tracking such limitations manually can be arduous. SCA testing lets developers work efficiently without compromising quality in the modern DevOps or DevSecOps environment.

SCA has become crucial in detecting all open-source and third-party libraries. This way, developers will know what external code is required to be integrated into the application. Once such components are identified, SCA tools evaluate security and check known vulnerabilities. This way, no insecure components are added to the software, reducing the risk of exploitation.

SCA tools also continuously monitor the identified components for new updates or vulnerabilities. This helps developers be prompt in case of security breaches and attacks. Besides this, SCA also checks the licenses of identified components. It is important to find unapproved components, reducing legal and security risks. Additionally, SCA tools help in risk management by emphasizing vulnerabilities. This way, developers can address the most crucial ones beforehand.

API Hosting Environment Architecture Review

The next on the list is the API hosting environment architecture review, which is a comprehensive evaluation of the design principles, patterns, and guidelines through which developers host and manage APIs. The primary goal of this review is to ensure that the system is secure, efficient, and scalable.

The key components of API hosting environment architecture review include the following: 
Security Architecture Assessment: An API hosting environment architecture review helps developers evaluate the security framework. These assessments help identify and assess the existing security controls. Further, developers ensure the applications’ alignment with industry standards like OWASP and NIST.

Robust Security Measures: The primary goal of such measures is to ensure that strong measures are in place to protect the hosting infrastructure. Developers implement firewalls, IDS, and anti-malware tools for secure API development. Further, regular updates and patch software and TLS/SSL are necessary to encrypt data in transit.

Network Segmentation: This helps limit the impact of potential vulnerabilities in security breaches by breaking the network into isolated segments. To figure this out, developers implement Virtual local area networks (VLANs) for network separation. This also helps monitor traffic from unauthorized places and handle unauthorized activities.

Access Control: The component aims to protect data and resources by enforcing strict control policies. As a result, developers implement role-based access control to limit access and use multi-factor authentication to safeguard sensitive systems.

Regular Audits: Verifying compliance with proper security standards is one of the most important practices. This helps to conduct internal & external audits, analyzing audit logs for potential breaches. Developers also ensure compliance with necessary regulations like HIPAA and GDPR).

 

API Hosting Server Penetration Testing

This API security testing is a security assessment process through which the security of an API is evaluated by simulating the conditions of a real attack. The types include REST, SOAP, and GraphQL. During an API hosting server penetration testing, the developers aim to find the most critical vulnerabilities mentioned in security standards. Thus, the test covers:

Server Security: The primary goal is to find and fix vulnerabilities through penetration testing. Developers perform regular tests on servers hosting APIs and simulate real-world attack scenarios, which provides actionable recommendations to remediate discovered vulnerabilities.

Configuration Review: Developers check whether the configurations adhere to security best practices. Developers review and check configurations and misconfigurations for better results, such as open ports, weak passwords, and more.

Patch Management: Patch management helps to keep the servers updated with the latest security patches and updates. In this case, developers establish a schedule to ensure timely updates, maintain an inventory, and test patches in the staging environment.

Monitoring and Logging: This helps detect and promptly respond to security incidents. Developers implement logging mechanisms and use security information to capture relevant events.

Incident Response: A proper incident response system helps handle potential breaches effectively. Developers create a plan and define roles and responsibilities to ensure the team is ready for incidents.

API Microservice Container Security Testing

Another trending API security testing is API microservice container security testing. API microservice security simply means a set of practices, tools, and methods to safeguard microservices and interactions through APIs.

Developers secure microservices and containerized environments by implementing security best practices. This helps them regularly review and update security measures to address potential threats.

API microservice security also helps in image scanning through automated image scanning tools. Developers also validate the integrity and authenticity of container images. Further, it helps monitor and secure containers during operation runtime.

Developers also focus on limiting the exposure and potential damages by segmenting the container networks. They design and use virtual network policies to isolate container groups and monitor network traffic.

Another important aspect of API microservice security is orchestration security. This ensures secure configurations and operations of a container on orchestration platforms. Developers can conduct security tests, review configurations, and implement access controls to restrict information.

API Development and Deployment Process Review

The last on our list is API development and deployment process review. This API security testing refers to evaluating and assessing the lifecycle stages involving developing, testing, deploying, and maintaining APIs. Some of the key aspects of API development and deployment process review include the following:

Development lifecycle review: The primary goal of this aspect is to assess the practices used throughout the cycle to ensure secure API development. Developers mainly review the plan, design, code, and deployment phases.

CI/CD Integration: The objective behind this is to evaluate the process of security checks and validations. Developers examine every security testing tool at each stage to identify vulnerabilities early.

Secure DevOps Practices: This assesses the seamless adoption of DevSecOps principles into the system. Developers evaluate how security has been incorporated through security configurations, continuous monitoring, and incident response. Moreover, it is not the result but an integral part of the cycle.

Compliance and Standard Adherence: Developers ensure APIs adhere to industry security standards and regulatory requirements throughout their life cycle. As a result, they conduct audits, assessments, and documentation.

Security Training: Developers offer their teams ongoing training and awareness sessions that allow everyone to stay ahead in the industry. The primary goal of this aspect is to equip teams with a security-first mindset and skills for secure coding practices.

Conclusion

The upcoming time will bring significant opportunities for API security in the industry. From manual penetration testing to deployment process review, these trends are shaping the future of API security. In addition, organizations can secure and protect user information, address needs, and stay resilient against threats.

So, what are you waiting for? Unlock the future of API security testing! connect and consult with Peneto Labs’ experts and experience the future of API security on a budget!

Automated vs Manual Penetration Testing for Web Apps: Which is Right for You?

Automated vs Manual Penetration Testing for Web Apps: Which is Right for You?

Automated vs Manual Penetration Testing for Web Apps: Which is Right for You?

Automated vs Manual Penetration
In the digital landscape, the debate of automated vs. manual testing for cybersecurity testing never ends. While the number of applications is growing daily, the budget remains constrained for application security testing.

Be it automated penetration testing or manual penetration testing, each approach has benefits and drawbacks. This scenario certainly creates a significant challenge for organizations striving to enhance security. While automated penetration testing offers efficiency, manual penetration testing gives applications a human touch and adaptability.

After undergoing many scans, we have seen that automated penetration testing alone is insufficient for a thorough check. These tools are generally programmed to identify common flaws by following a set pattern. However, as the industry evolves, modern applications are more than just a common configuration that automated tools fail to comprehend fully.

Not only common vulnerabilities, automated scans often miss zero-day vulnerabilities and complex security flaws. Further, automated scans often rely on vulnerability databases through which they miss unknown threats.

Automated tools are also highly likely to generate false negatives and positives. False positives happen when automated tools identify vulnerabilities incorrectly. As for false negatives, tools fail to identify genuine vulnerabilities, leaving the application with potential risks.

What is Penetration Testing?

Before we discuss automated vs. manual testing in detail, let’s understand penetration testing. Often referred to as “pen testing” or “ethical hacking,” penetration testing is a method used by cybersecurity experts to find and exploit vulnerabilities in an application. This is done to identify weak and strong spots in the application for cyberattack prevention.

The primary goals of penetration testing are as follows:

  • Identifying vulnerabilities that could be exploited.
  • Improving security and offering actionable insights for cyberattack prevention.
  • Ensure security measures are in place as defenses.
  • Regularly meet requirements and standards of cybersecurity testing.

Challenges of Web Application Security Testing

We understand web application security testing is critical to ensuring usability, functionality, and security. However, application security testing often comes with problems. For instance, software developers face obstacles in their testing efforts. The most common challenges that often developers face in web application security testing are as follows:

Diverse Web Technologies

Developers often develop applications using various technologies, including frameworks, programs, and languages. This complexity makes it difficult to comprehensively check all the aspects.

Regular Changes

Applications require regular changes and updates with the evolving industry. This requires adding new features and fixing bugs and security vulnerabilities. This continuous cycle often leads to new vulnerabilities, resulting in regular application security testing.

Third-Party Integrations

Often, web applications integrate with third parties for services like plugins, APIs, VPNs, etc. Hence, such components can detect new vulnerabilities if they are not regularly updated.

Data Protection and Breach

Every application has some sensitivity data, which is crucial. Ensuring proper encryption is necessary to protect the data and avoid breaches.

Three Main Approaches to Application Security Testing

Everyone in this industry understands that automated scans are not sufficient for applications or networks. Relying on automated scanning can sometimes lead to underperformance. It can be a great start, but automated scans are not the only solution available.

To obtain accurate test results, there are three main approaches to security testing. The following approaches are used at different frequencies, and they provide proper answers to security testing.

Automated Scans

There are automated scans. Automated penetration testing is a method of scanning applications, systems, or networks without human intervention. Finding vulnerabilities through this can be quick, but it can produce false positives and false negatives. Moreover, automated scans can be integrated into various stages of the software lifecycle and maintain robust security.

Automated Scans + Manual Testing

This particular approach combines two approaches. It combines automated scanning with human analysis to interpret the vulnerabilities. Once an automated scan identifies potential threats, an expert will review and verify them.

Application Penetration Tests

This approach is one of the most thorough and effective methods. Also known as pen testing, it combines automated scans, manual validation, and extensive manual testing. It is a time-consuming process but uncovers complex and zero-day vulnerabilities.

Automated Scans: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Automated penetration testing can identify vulnerabilities faster than manual penetration testing.
  • With automated penetration testing, many applications can be tested to secure web applications.
  • Automated penetration testing offers consistency in the approach and reduces the risk of human error.
  • It is one of the most cost-effective solutions for web application security testing.

Cons

  • Automated penetration testing follows a predefined set of steps as it has been programmed to test. Hence, the scope is limited.
  • Automated penetration testing can usually generate a high number of false positives and false negatives. Flagging non-existing complexities wastes the time and resources of the security teams.
  • Similar to AI, the generic nature of these automated penetration tests lacks attention to detail.
  • Automated penetration testing primarily focuses on complexities and may overlook human-centric threats like phishing and hacking.

Risks of Relying Solely on Automated Scans?

Relying solely on automated scans carries several risks. Automated testing is an important aspect of the security industry, but it should not be the only option. Let’s understand why the right balance between manual and automated scans is necessary.

Automated scans offer all the right advantages, like being less time-consuming and cost-effective. However, relying solely on automated scans leads to a false sense of security and leaves critical vulnerabilities unaddressed. This happens because automated scans follow a predefined pattern and instructions to identify vulnerabilities. With no human insight, potential issues are overlooked.

Further, automated tools cannot replicate manual techniques like human psychology, social engineering, and others. The validations performed by automated scanners cannot identify technical vulnerabilities such as authentication bypasses, access control weaknesses, and more. Such vulnerabilities have potential risks and can lead to serious consequences and potential cyberattacks.

For instance, a company that uses only automated scans often fails to identify zero-day vulnerabilities. This can exploit the application and lead to a data breach, where customers’ sensitive information can be stolen before any further action can be taken if there is an e-commerce platform with a complex interaction. Automated scans often fail to detect complex flaws, which can lead to exploiting transaction records and financial losses.

Risk-Based Approach to Prioritization

Since we know why relying on automated scans is not enough, the question arises: Which option would be right for you? To determine which is the best approach, it is always better to prioritize based on risk.

The risk-based approach to prioritization simply helps you assess which testing method is required for which application. This approach depends on various factors, such as data sensitivity, third-party integrations, new amendments, assessment performance, size, and more.

After assessing these factors, you can opt for an automated scan or a manual test for your application. This way, you can test your application effectively and efficiently. A risk-based approach is effective, but regular manual penetration tests are as important as automated scans.

What is Manual Penetration Testing & its Necessity?

In contrast to automated penetration testing, manual penetration testing is a process through which human beings or teams develop vulnerabilities in an application. Being one of the crucial aspects, humans with expertise in hacking systems discover any vulnerabilities.

Necessity of Manual Penetration Testing

In the world of cyber security, manual penetration testing is a significant step to reducing potential attacks on applications. Not only does manual testing reduce attacks, but it also identifies possible vulnerabilities through which necessary steps can be taken. Moreover, with manual testing, you can identify complex vulnerabilities, reduce false negatives and positives, and assess the impact accurately. This also enhances the security posture and protects critical assets effectively.

Manual Penetration Tests: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Manual penetration testing can stimulate real hacker behavior.
  • With manual penetration testing, there is no chance of finding false positives.
  • This approach offers a comprehensive report on all vulnerabilities.
  • Think out of the box and can reveal unexpected application vulnerabilities.

Cons

  • Testing all systems can be cost-prohibitive and time-consuming
  • Manual penetration testing requires high-level specialists, which leads to higher costs.
  • Results can vary from specialist to specialist.
  • There is a chance of human errors and omissions, leaving many application vulnerabilities intact.

When to Prioritize Manual Penetration Testing

In this industry, major organizations have started relying on automated penetration testing. Properly using these automated penetration tests may expose companies to higher-level cyberattacks.

Now, the question comes when to prioritize manual penetration. Or which application should undergo manual testing or the frequency of manual tests? With the fast-evolving cyber world, testing your applications at least once a year is necessary, according to the experts. This way, you can stay ahead of the latest technology and security measures you might have to take. Besides this, there are other times when manual penetration should be prioritized.

Every application requires major system changes after a certain time. Hence, manual penetration is necessary when you launch new features or networks in your application. With manual penetration testing, you can ensure no vulnerabilities or security flaws before the launch of new features.

Combining Automated and Manual Testing for Optimal Security

One of the major shortcomings of automated penetration testing is the false positives and negatives. However, relying 100% on manual penetration testing is not the best option. Combining automated scans with manual testing will give you an edge in fixing vulnerabilities with almost no risks for your application.

A manual testing method can validate automated scans and lower your application’s risk ratings. Further, it is important to note that manual testing doesn’t improve the depth of the analysis, but it is more reliable for securing critical risks.

Case Studies: When to Use Each Method

Some case studies state that if you place all your bets on automated penetration testing, you may overlook vulnerabilities, such as by a human following a certain logic and pattern. Manual penetration testing is ideal for identifying complex vulnerabilities but has its own shortcomings.

Case Study 1: E-Commerce Platform

Let’s see if there is a platform like Flipkart or Amazon. They have a big holiday shopping season coming up. With web application security testing, e-commerce platforms want to ensure that increased traffic does not become potential attacks. In such cases, automated penetration testing might fail to identify various vulnerabilities. Hence, combining automated and manual penetration testing would be a better way to identify vulnerabilities.
Ecommerce platform

Case Study 2: Fintech Application

A fintech application provider is developing a new management system for patients that will store sensitive data. In such cases of public applications, automated penetration testing would miss significant vulnerabilities like encryption, session expiration, page access, and others. Such vulnerabilities may expose sensitive data and access to administrative features. Hence, in such cases, combining automated and manual penetration testing is better.
Fintech Application

How Peneto Labs Can Help?

Automated penetration testing is certainly the next step in the digital landscape, but it should not be the sole method. Blending automated testing tools with manual penetration testing can ensure a comprehensive study of application security. Companies can leverage human expertise to address the limitations of automation.

Peneto Labs can help you examine your ongoing security levels through various security audits. We recognize the limitations of automated testing in a holistic security approach through which you can assess the potential risks and address them before getting exploited.

So, sign up and consult with our experts to get penetration testing for web apps on a budget for you and your organization!

Ready to secure your web apps with the best penetration testing approach? Whether you’re leaning towards automated testing for speed and efficiency or manual testing for thorough, expert analysis, Peneto Labs has you covered. Our team of certified professionals is here to help you choose the right solution tailored to your needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards fortifying your digital defenses.



Contact Penetolabs now and secure your web apps with confidence!