How Application Pen Testing Can Help Mitigate Fraud?

Pen Testing is the process of assessing the strength and effectiveness of security measures through simulation of real-time cyber-attacks on the application by trusted pen testers/ security experts. The attacks are simulated manually under secure conditions with the right mix of Penetration Testing Tools by the testers. Pen Testing is a critical part of comprehensive application security testing and overall web application security. Learn how

Why Is It Critical to Mitigate Frauds?

The wave of high-profile attacks across industries in recent years has highlighted that even the global tech giants like Yahoo and Facebook are not completely immune from being targeted by attackers. While the big businesses have the resources and clout to recuperate from attacks, 60% of small and medium businesses are known to shut down within 6 months of undergoing an attack.

The impact of frauds is huge in terms of financial costs, legal repercussions, consumer trust erosion and reputational damage. The global average cost of an attack is USD 3.92 million, and the USA is the most expensive country in terms of cyber-attacks with an average cost of a whopping USD 8.19 million per breach.

Further, the time taken to identify and contain a breach is known to be 279 days, exacerbating the costs. If breaches are identified and contained in 200 days or less, businesses could save USD 1.2 million. However, the impact and costs of frauds can be immensely minimized by proactively scanning and testing the application, identifying vulnerabilities and securing them.

How Does Application Pen Testing Help Mitigate Fraud?

Identification of Vulnerabilities Difficult to Find through Automated Scans and Tests

While speed and agility are infused by automated scanners in the identification of vulnerabilities and security misconfigurations, some classes of vulnerabilities can simply not be identified without manual pen tests (by itself or in combination with automated tools).

  • Business Logic Flaws such as price or other parameter manipulation, privilege escalation, business flow bypass, etc.
  • Chain Attacks
  • Insecure Direct Object Reference (IDOR) Flaw
  • Zero-day Exploits
  • DOM-based XSS

In all these cases, the vulnerabilities cannot be identified using universal approaches and automated tools owing to the specificity and complexity of the flaws. The expertise, unconventional thinking, and skillsets of certified and trusted security specialists are essential for the effective identification of such vulnerabilities.

Understand How Vulnerabilities and Misconfigurations Can Be Exploited

Even though automated scanners and other tools identify vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, it is crucial to know in what ways can they be exploited in real-time by attackers. This is made possible through penetration testing by trusted security experts. Ample time and thought are spent to understand and analyze how fraud will unfold in real life. For instance, certain Penetration Testing Tools may be used to orchestrate a blind SQLi and gauge if the vulnerability exists and demonstrate its impact.

Effective Risk Assessment

By gauging the impact of vulnerabilities and the probability of potential threats materializing, the cyber risks facing the organizations are demonstrated by pen tests. Risks can also be prioritized based on the findings of a pen test.

Understand the Level of Human Awareness

Human beings are the biggest vulnerabilities in any organization, especially in the case of frauds like social engineering attacks, scams, etc. By gauging their level of awareness with respect to good security practices, gaps in security training/ awareness of various stakeholders can be understood and rectified.

For instance, the pen-tester may send phishing emails to employees/ customers or play confidence tricks on stakeholders to gain access to company records/ confidential data.

Testing Effectiveness of Security Measures Against Fraud

Businesses are enabled by pen tests to assess and demonstrate the effectiveness of current security in mitigating cyber fraud. This is especially important if there is a change in application design/ business logic or new addition.

Recommendations for Mitigation

Given that identification of vulnerabilities is only a part of web application security, it must be followed by remediation and risk mitigation. Detailed reports are provided after the completion of penetration testing along with recommendations and actionable insights from the pen-tester to secure the application and strengthen security measures.


Ranging from social engineering attacks, scams, and identity thefts to data breaches, privilege escalation, malware attacks, and so on, there is a fast-growing fraud/ attack vector. Given the power of vulnerabilities to sabotage a business, there is a need to be one step ahead of attackers always in terms of application security. And Pen Testing is an important weapon in the fraud mitigation armory and proactive cybersecurity.

For more cybersecurity features and news, follow Indusface on Twitter and Facebook.

Originally published at




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