What makes a good pen testing tool? Speed, agility, efficiency or cost benefits? How about all of them?

Cyberspace is an incredible place for businesses; look at how far we’ve got. Today, companies generate $1.2 million worth of revenue every 30 seconds, 500 online hotel bookings happen every minute, and about 140,000 websites are created every hour.

But, there is another side to the story too.

There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds, 230,000 new malware samples are produced every day, and companies take more than 6 months to detect a breach.

Unfortunately, the tremendous opportunity to grow online is also an invitation for malicious activities. As companies focus on acquiring customers, they often overlook what a potential breach or even a hint of it could do. Take a look at one of our posts on how breaches affect companies.

While drafting an online security model takes time and dedicated staff, we’ve always maintained that penetration testing tools are one of the best places to start.

Pen Test Companies

Hackers use automated tools to scan websites and apps before manually trying to exploit security loopholes. As the first step towards securing assets, you should do the same- only with better resources and before them.

We’ve already talked about what is penetration testing, and in this post, we’re giving out some valuable suggestions on selecting and optimizing the testing tool for your business.

What Why
1. More than automation Manual pen tests essential
2. Application Logic Mapping For business logic flaws
3. Malware Coverage To look beyond vulnerabilities
4. Testing blueprint For thorough planning
5. Clean reporting module To convey data efficiently
6. Severity insights To fix issues
7. Remediation Support To fix issues
8. Instant Protection Security fix without code changes

1. Look for more than just automated testing

Web-Application-Scanning

As you search for tools to test a website, a dozen would appear. Believe us when we say that most of them are not thorough penetration testing instruments.

Pen testing is more than just running a machine to look for predefined problems with the website or an application. Yes, it is a part of the process but it requires a critical understanding of how hackers think and react, something which only a human tester can provide.

app test tool

Before you pay for a tool or even test it, ensure that it is not just a bot.

2. Application Logic Mapping is critical

Smart hackers understand that most successful online businesses have already covered the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities. They thus analyze the business logic behind the application and try to exploit loopholes that a typical bot or an inexperienced tester would overlook.

Here are some of the basic examples of such vulnerabilities:

business logic vul

If you’re pen testing for a predefined list of 10-20 vulnerabilities, the process is incomplete and inefficient.

3. Malware coverage

Google and other search engines are serious about infected websites. They are quick to blacklist any web resource that can harm users. Often penetration testing tools do not cover infected code. Check with the vendor to see if they offer the service.

malware website security

4. Ask for a testing plan

Security vendors that understand the risks diligently convey the testing phases, exact dates, and follow-up procedure of the tests. Often testing involves documentation and credentials, along with descriptions of web assets. As you can sense, it’s a process- not something you can request today and get the report by tomorrow morning.

Pentest Process

Vendors that do not follow a testing methodology are often inexperienced and unlikely to deliver thorough reports.

5. Look at the reporting module

Reporting is everything. What’s the use of a report that doesn’t convey information efficiently? While a security vendor might have a brilliant testing team, it all boils down to how they put it together for you to act upon.

Here are a few things to look for in penetration testing sample reports:

  • Defined reports
  • Consistency in reporting vulnerabilities
  • Understandable
  • No signs of data manipulation/ unbiased
  • Tester’s advice/observation/notes
  • Decision-making value

AppTrana

Next-generation security assessment products like AppTrana offer live dashboards with graphical representations of the data. There are even options to download/export reports.

6. See if you’re getting severity insights

When talking about reports, security admins would unconditionally want the severity security metric. This offers a quick view of what resources are open to attacks and what kinds of risks the business faces in its current state.

Application Security Metrics 1

Risk severity of each vulnerability will help you prioritize remediation action.

Security Metrics Severity

 7. Ask for remediation support

Any company would agree that an assessment is just the first step toward securing your business. Your penetration testing tool report likely contains a list of vulnerabilities that need to be fixed according to priority.

Top pen testing tool vendors provide guidance on how to get rid of the reported security issues. There are multiple reasons why this support will prove vital-

  • Difficulty in understanding the nature of the vulnerability
  • No experience in fixing a certain issue
  • Lack of experienced staff

123

8. Check for WAF compatibility

If vulnerability detection is the first step in web security, protection would be the second. A web application firewall means instant protection.

Over the years, several surveys have shown that fixing vulnerabilities is a tedious process. It takes close to 6 months to even fix a critical business vulnerability.

Traffic routed through a WAF is secure from common hacking attempts. Furthermore, if your penetration testing tool is synchronized with a WAF, you get instant protection and custom rules across hundreds of applications, even with a shortage of resources to manage security risks.

DDoS WAF

Finding the best pen testing tool

Keeping websites and your online business safe is a continuous process. A loaded, full-feature penetration testing tool is your foundation for:

  • finding vulnerabilities before attackers,
  • ensuring all critical issues are resolved, and
  • monitoring risks.

We hope that the aforementioned tips come in handy next time you opt for a penetration testing tool. If you have a question or suggestion, please leave them in the comments section below.

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Founder & Chief Marketing Officer, Indusface

Venky has played multiple roles within Indusface for the past 6 years. Prior to this, as the CTO @indusface, Venky built the product/service offering and technology team from scratch, and grew it from ideation to getting initial customers with a proven/validated business model poised for scale. Before joining Indusface, Venky had 10+ years of experience in security industry and had held various mgmt/leadership roles in Product Development, Professional Services and Sales @Entrust.