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SANS SEC542:  Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

SANS SEC542: Web App Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

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In SEC542, you will practice the art of exploiting web applications to find flaws in your enterprise's web apps. You'll learn about the attacker's tools and methods in order to be a more powerful defender. Through detailed, hands-on exercises and with guidance from the instructor, you will learn the four-step process for web application penetration testing; inject SQL into back-end databases to learn how attackers exfiltrate sensitive data; and utilize cross-site scripting attacks to dominate a target infrastructure. You will also explore various other web app vulnerabilities in-depth using proven techniques and a structured testing regimen.


What You Will Learn
Web applications play a vital role in every modern organization. But, if your organization does not properly test and secure its web apps, adversaries can compromise these applications, damage business functionality, and steal data. Unfortunately, many organizations operate under the mistaken impression that a web application security scanner will reliably discover flaws in their systems.

SEC542 helps students move beyond push-button scanning to professional, thorough, high-value web application penetration testing.

Customers expect web applications to provide significant functionality and data access. Even beyond the importance of customer-facing web applications, internal web applications increasingly represent the most commonly used business tools within any organization. Unfortunately, there is no "patch Tuesday" for custom web applications, so major industry studies find that web application flaws play a major role in significant breaches and intrusions. Adversaries increasingly focus on these high-value targets either by directly abusing public-facing applications or by focusing on web apps as targets after an initial break-in.

Modern cyber defense requires a realistic and thorough understanding of web application security issues. Anyone can learn to sling a few web hacks, but effective web application penetration testing requires something deeper.

SEC542 enables students to assess a web application's security posture and convincingly demonstrate the business impact should attackers exploit the discovered vulnerabilities.

Students will come to understand common web application flaws, as well as how to identify and exploit them with the intent of demonstrating the potential business impact. Along the way, students follow a field-tested and repeatable process to consistently find flaws. Information security professionals often struggle with helping organizations understand risk in terms relatable to business. Executing awesome hacks is of little value if an organization does not take the risk seriously and employ appropriate countermeasures. The goal of SEC542 is to better secure organizations through penetration testing, and not just show off hacking skills. The course will help students demonstrate the true impact of web application flaws not only through exploitation but also through proper documenting and reporting.

In addition to high-quality course content, SEC542 focuses heavily on in-depth, hands-on labs to ensure that students can immediately apply all they learn.

In addition to walking students through a web app penetration through using more than 30 formal hands-on labs, the course culminates in a web application pen test tournament, powered by the SANS NetWars Cyber Range. This Capture the Flag event on the final day brings students into teams to apply their newly acquired command of web application penetration testing techniques in a fun way to hammer home lessons learned.

You Will Learn:
  • To apply a repeatable methodology to deliver high-value penetration tests.
  • How to discover and exploit key web application flaws.
  • How to explain the potential impact of web application vulnerabilities.
  • The importance of web application security to an overall security posture.
  • How to wield key web application attack tools more efficiently.
  • How to write web application penetration test reports.

You Will Be Able To
  • Apply OWASP's methodology to your web application penetration tests to ensure they are consistent, reproducible, rigorous, and under quality control.
  • Analyze the results from automated web testing tools to validate findings, determine their business impact, and eliminate false positives.
  • Manually discover key web application flaws.
  • Use Python to create testing and exploitation scripts during a penetration test.
  • Discover and exploit SQL Injection flaws to determine true risk to the victim organization.
  • Understand and exploit insecure deserialization vulnerabilities with ysoserial and similar tools.
  • Create configurations and test payloads within other web attacks.
  • Fuzz potential inputs for injection attacks.
  • Explain the impact of exploitation of web application flaws.
  • Analyze traffic between the client and the server application using tools such as the Zed Attack Proxy and BurpSuite Pro to find security issues within the client-side application code.
  • Manually discover and exploit Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.
  • Use the Browser Exploitation Framework (BeEF) to hook victim browsers, attack client software and the network, and evaluate the potential impact that XSS flaws have within an application.
  • Perform two complete web penetration tests, one during the five days of course instruction, and the other during the Capture the Flag exercise.
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