Web Application Security Assessment (WASA)

What is a Web Application Security Assessment (WASA)?

A Web Application Security Assessment (WASA), sometimes referred to as a web application penetration test or web application security audit, is a process to identify, analyze, and report on vulnerabilities in a web application that could potentially be exploited by attackers.

The goal of a WASA is to uncover security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a web application before attackers do. The process involves both automated and manual testing techniques and typically includes examining the application for known vulnerabilities, such as those listed in the OWASP Top 10, as well as looking for application-specific security issues.

Here’s a general overview of what a WASA typically involves:

  • Information Gathering — This includes gathering information about the application, its functionality, underlying technologies, and the overall environment in which it operates.

  • Automated Scanning — Automated tools like Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) tools are used to scan the application for known vulnerabilities.

  • Manual Testing — In addition to automated scanning, manual testing is performed to uncover vulnerabilities that automated tools might miss. This could include things like business logic flaws or complex multi-step vulnerabilities.

  • Vulnerability Verification — Suspected vulnerabilities are verified to confirm their existence and understand their potential impact.

  • Reporting — A detailed report is generated that lists the identified vulnerabilities, their severity, potential impact, and recommendations for remediation.

  • Remediation and Re-testing — The identified vulnerabilities are remediated, and the application is re-tested to ensure that the vulnerabilities have been successfully addressed.

By conducting a WASA, organizations can significantly improve the security of their web applications, protect sensitive data, and maintain compliance with various regulations and standards.

How should an organization select a company to provide WASA testing?

When choosing a company to provide a Web Application Security Assessment (WASA), it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you select the most appropriate provider. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Expertise and Experience — The provider should have a strong track record and experience in conducting web application security assessments. Check if they have worked with organizations similar to yours in size and industry.

  • Methodology — Review the company’s approach and methodology for performing the WASA. It should be comprehensive, using both automated and manual testing methods, and align with established industry practices like the OWASP Testing Guide.

  • Skills and Certifications — The team performing the assessment should have relevant qualifications and certifications, such as Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), GIAC Certified Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT), GIAC Secure Software Programmer (GSSP), Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP).