Checklist for web application security tests

by Anand Suresh

Hackers have been a threat to web application security since the beginning. Over time, these threats have become even more severe, as an Imperva Report from 2019 shows. It is necessary to understand that it takes more time and effort to ensure the security of web applications.

The most effective way to ensure web application security is to test the web application. If you want to set a plan and secure your procedure, don’t miss a step, we’ve developed an app security testing checklist to help you.

Web Application Security testingWhat is a test checklist?

Security testing is software testing based on a prepared task list called a checklist. These checklists plan and structure a test procedure to avoid repetitive and time-consuming tests. Checklists can be online, shared, physical, or even mental.

6-Step Checklist for Web Application Security Testing

Web application security testing has many moving parts, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult, even with its complexities. The trick is to know what you want and need and then take a measured approach to focus your efforts on the most critical applications.


Download a PDF version of this Checklist. Access it offline anytime. Bring it to team or client meetings.

So how can you thoroughly scan your web applications environment to ensure you don’t have significant security flaws in your critical applications? It is feasible to even for the most complex environments. The following information lays out the what, when, why, and how of most web application security testing scenarios, including determining which systems you need to test, which tools are best suited for the task, use of vulnerability scanners and scanner validation, and additional manual checks.

Step 1: Gather Information

The primary step of our app security testing checklist is to ask questions. This will ensure which applications, code, and network systems must be tested. Go the extra mile and educate yourself about the testing process you’ll be using, especially the expectations.

  • Identify extremely uncertain areas of the application

This area refers to where users modify content. This location requires verification on both the input and output codes. An example might be an application allowing users to insert a large amount of data. Especially if it is done through an HTML editor, the application is at high risk of attacks if the prevention mechanism is not implemented.

  • Develop business logic and information flow

This refers to areas that need manual testing, primarily focused on scaling or sensitive data exposure systems. The sense of the organization is related to the flow of information, which is a unique and rare course of an application. Automated analyzes tend to miss this feature, so we must mention it.

A quality control evaluator must ensure:

  1. The sincerity of the task
  2. Regular users cannot skip steps
  3. End users are not authorized to perform privileged activities
  4. Understand permissions and role structure

This step is essential for authorization in case of blocked access or multiple team members. Also, try testing the bypass authorization setting, bypassing the login page, or making the app think the user is already authorized. Also, check if it is possible to access administrative functions while logged in as a regular user.

Web Application SecurityStep 2: Planning

When planning your application security testing, document your strategy first. Please choose the suitable testers, and explain to them what they will be working on and the deadline for the testing tasks. This will save you time and resources and ensure a good security testing strategy.

  • Organize your application vulnerabilities

Make a list of the tools you need, such as a web vulnerability scanner. If you plan to go further and test authentication, an HTTP proxy will be required. You can use a source code scan if you plan to go deeper into your security testing development documentation.

The following application security testing checklist may cover:

  1. Gathering Management Sessions
  2. Brute force and compatibility testing
  3. Elevated access to protected resources
  4. Password security and application entry points
  • Assign roles to team members

You must split the responsibilities if you plan to do security testing with a team. One team can be in charge of functionality, while the other can test vulnerabilities. It is essential to choose the right quality control testers for this operation. Preparing professionals must be ready to act and deepen the application’s security with comprehensive results.

  • Implement automated tests

Perform a manual check containing additional tasks the team will need to perform manually. Once the self-test is complete, assign a team member to scan and configure the results. Although technology is a great asset, a human follow-up will only work better!

  • Set the deadline

This is where your team will finish testing and document any vulnerabilities found. In this step of the application security testing checklist, it’s time for you to write your wrap-up report. The results should help you see your app’s security and where it compares to expectations.

  • Configure internal and external calls

How often you coordinate with your team is up to you. We suggest you schedule weekly calls for consistent session management and performance testing. Because communication is critical, these calls should include QA assessors and the project or client manager to determine the team’s status and relay relevant details to members.

  • Document Evidence Examples

This can only exist in your application’s security testing checklist if the client requires it. The documentation should contain test scenarios representing your client’s interest and impacting the results.

  • Track automatically or manually.

If the agreement requires it, this step provides details or adjustments necessary for the scope of the test.

Step 3: Performance

The most significant part of the application security testing checklist is the execution. Once you have the plan strategy and the team ready to go, this is the moment you conduct the tests and track down vulnerabilities.

  • Automated tests and results

You should pay attention to the automation tools you select. This way, evaluators will adjust their skills to the company’s logic and the flow of information, which requires manual analysis. Testing automatically is slightly different, depending on the organization.

  • Hand test

Manual testing focuses on business logic and application-specific information flow. Automated tests usually miss it. Manual tests might look like this:

  1. A QA tester identifies a link entered by an administrator that is something other than the end
  2. They “run” as administrators and try to modify the URL.
  3. Based on the results, if a vulnerability is found, it is best to document it. After this, the tester can continue navigating the related pages and check if the problem persists.

At this stage of application security testing, most tools send requests to a page to see if the response is different. When HTTP 500 errors are delivered, there is a vulnerability. The tester can now review the bug and determine if a vulnerability exists.

  • Document discovered vulnerabilities

Sometimes customers or even senior management may request the result of security tests. They want to see the findings even if no vulnerabilities were identified, so be prepared for that report.

Step 4: Report

Next on our application security testing checklist is the reporting stage. This is an action that is taken after the test is performed. Reports on results should be thoroughly documented and then reported to your client or management, as follows:

  • Formalize results

The first step in reporting is to gather the evidence description, affected URLs, team member roles, evidence, reproduction steps, impact, and fix.

  • Review technical reports

This part ensures the accuracy and consistency of the technical writing of the report. If necessary, review the results with the team and make necessary adjustments.

Step 5: Repair

This step addresses vulnerabilities during application security testing.

  • Address support guidelines

The application owner’s responsibility is to charge a web developer for itemized repair requests. It is necessary to implement corrections in the affected code. A simple black box test might not be enough, and problems might still exist.

Step 6: Confirmation

The final step in the application security testing checklist we put together for you is verification. This step is usually done at the end of the testing procedure. It is important to emphasize that the vulnerabilities found are corrected and cannot be cheated.

  • Check

Take a closer look at the specific issues identified above. Ensure they have been fully fixed and do not have any potential vulnerabilities.

  • Prevention

Make sure these fixes are not made vulnerable again by transformation attempts. To do this, run XSS, cross-role attacks, and redirection to different URL links.



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