Any website that is not secure enough can be misused by hackers. To avoid this, companies and organizations conduct security auditing of their websites. Some essential facts about website security audit have been explained below.
Understanding The Difference Between Website Security Audit and Penetration Testing
The phrase “penetration testing is often used along with “security audit”. Meanings of these two terms are different. Penetration testing is a procedure that helps to find out security flaws in a software, website or web application. (Read more about penetration testing). Professionals who carry out this procedure have minimal internal information using which they simulate attempts of unauthorized access such as those by a hacker, in a more realistic manner. Website security audit is a much more detailed and systematic process as compared to penetration testing.
In website security auditing, a group of people assess how the security policy of a website is employed. Security auditors have complete knowledge about the website which includes some parts of internal information as well. This knowledge helps them to understand which resources require security auditing.
Security auditing is not an isolated task. It forms a major part of the process which defines and maintains security policies of a website, and is way more important than concerns that are merely discussed about in conference rooms. Everyone involved in the website development process takes part in auditing. This process helps to determine how secure a website actually is. Auditing is thus one of the most essential software security practices.
The following details are thoroughly examined in security auditing process:
- Requirement of client certificates for accessing the website
- Specifications of back-end database used for the website
- Encryption of sensitive information
Besides the analysis of above-mentioned details, auditing also involves some important questions such as those mentioned below:
- Is the same server being used by website as well as its back-end database?
- Does site navigation involve use of URL rewrite rules or URL parameters?
- What does the website return at the request of a wrong URL? HTTP Status code 200 or HTTP Status code 404?
- Does a user have to fill one-time entry forms during automated scans?
- Does the website have sections that are protected by passwords?