Website Security Audit – How to Conduct a Security Scan to Find Out If Your Website Has Any vulnerabilities
A website security audit checks your web server and its underlying software for potential or existing weaknesses that attackers can exploit. It usually covers your entire website’s infrastructure, including its applications, database, configuration files, websites, CSS, XHTML and PHP files, server settings, the HTTP response, and so forth. It helps you detect weak spots that could allow attackers to easily compromise your server or website.
Before we begin, I want to make sure everyone on your staff is aware of their responsibility to conduct a website security audit. Give each member a form to fill out with the details of what the audit will entail, steps to be taken, and when the results will be presented. You should post the guidelines on your company’s website, distribute the form to your employees, and provide training to all of them on how to properly fill out the forms.
When you decide to conduct an audit, the first step is to identify the vulnerability that allowed attackers to gain access to your site. The second step is to fix the vulnerability. The third step is to stop further attacks by stopping the attacker’s first attack.
During the audit, make sure to run the black box scanner once every hour. This is a safeguard to prevent false alarms triggered by false scans. The first type of scans your black box scanner should perform are manual verification of login credentials. Your black box scanner should verify the IP address, username, and password of every user accessing your live website. The next type of scans your black box scanner should perform are code injections. Code injections are malicious codes inserted into the HTML source code of a web page to inject malware or adware into it.
To perform this scanning, the scanner should crawl the entire web site, not just the index. Make sure the crawling stops at the header, and then check for injection points in the HTML source code. If the injection point is found, the scanner displays the source code that was attacked. In addition to showing you where the attack happened, this will also show you if there were any threats made against the site.
Next, the scanner should also display the HTTP Status Code. The HTTP Status Code tells you whether your site is live error or non-live. Once the status code is 100%, you know you’re on the safe side. On the other hand, a low value indicates an error, while an error code near the end of the status line means your web site is non-live. Most modern scanners have an option to show both of these fields at once, so you get a clear picture of what happened.
Lastly, the automated black box scanner should run a subset analysis. It checks the IP addresses used by the target website and compares them to the ones used by the malicious attacker. Only the IP address of the real attacker should be visited. This makes it very easy for the scanners to distinguish between harmless web applications and malevolent scripts.
By now, you should be able to tell what a vulnerable web application looks like. It’s time to execute the scanning and to identify what kind of attacks the web application has been subjected to. Keep in mind that there are many fake scanners on the internet. A good one will be able to identify and present the most common ways malicious codes are injected onto the target website. All you need is to find the right one for your purposes.
It’s a good idea to look for free automated web vulnerability scanners. However, keep in mind that they will only work as fast as the internet connection and you may not be able to look through every possible web application. What you can do is to make sure that the program you download is able to scan your system in real time and to do a detailed scan that will bring back all the details you want.
For your automated security scanning, the program should have the ability to do a manual assessment of your target website. This is important because you need to make sure that everything has been scanned and that everything is functioning correctly. It’s also a good idea to check the program’s readability. The automated scanner should be well written so that you don’t have to be a technical genius in order to use it.
You should be able to easily understand the process. However, the automated scan should also allow you to conduct a manual assessment on your own time. The last thing you want to happen is to take a manual test and find out that you don’t actually have problems with your website. If this happens, you’ll have to hire someone else to do an assessment of the site, which can be expensive. The automated scan should let you know whether or not your password protected areas are actually password protected and if you need to change them.