What is a Website Security Audit? A website security audit not only scans your web server and its network for potential or existing vulnerabilities that hackers could attack. It also covers the entire website’s infrastructure, from its applications to its database, themes, security configuration, user settings, etc. This helps prevent hacking by locating holes in the website’s protective shield, as well as patching the holes to allow the website full functionality.
Most website security audits target specific areas of a website’s infrastructure, such as application security. However, it is also possible to conduct general website security audits to identify threats to your entire network infrastructure. Common types of these inspections include vulnerability assessment scan, proof of concept scan, and visibility monitoring. These three types of tests are different from each other in their approach because they have different objectives and requirements.
A vulnerability scan utilizes tools to locate and report security vulnerabilities in a website. While a manual penetration testing method assesses if a website’s code has vulnerabilities. With a manual penetration test, the tester typically tries to gain access to the inner workings of the website, while an automated website security audit requires no interaction from the tester. The results of these two tests are often very different, and it is important to understand their differences so you can choose the appropriate one for your purposes.
When you conduct a website security audit, you will need to first determine whether the vulnerability assessment scan identified the issues with the code or the physical vulnerability. If you conducted a manual website security audit, you would only check the source code. However, if you performed a vulnerability assessment, you would also check the physical location where the vulnerability resides. Both checks can yield different results.
Manual audits usually reveal security issues by checking for inconsistencies in the structure of the site or in the coding for critical functions. This is the easiest type of website security audit to perform and can reveal many issues with the website code. For instance, you can find out whether a site contains null value assignments or whether it sends an error message when a string is empty. Both these issues can be resolved by simple fixes, but a manual investigation may take longer. It can also expose coding errors that can be fixed using templates and template tags.
On the other hand, vulnerability scans identify vulnerabilities in the website security audit target website. A vulnerability scan can reveal holes in the target website’s architecture or layout or weak areas of code. It can also reveal security lapses in the general design of the site, such as weak links in the URL structure. A metasploit module can be used to test for these issues, as well as identify whether the weakness is located in a section of the software that can be exploited using exploit modules.
In metasploit, several different kinds of testing are performed. You can use a sub-functionality of the metasploit suite to test for vulnerabilities in the web server, network, and files. A separate program, such as a remote server scanning tool, can also perform these tests. The target website’s programming language can be used to carry out these website security audits.