How to Break Web Software: Functional and Security Testing of Web Applications and Web Services

Written by Mike Andrews

This is a hard topic to find good reading. Most books are usually targeted towards operating systems or malware specifically. However, from the first page, I knew this was something worthwhile. A key part to this book being so good is the format Mike and James use to present each topic thus providing something for attackers and security folks. It also could provide pen testers and auditors some good ammo to use as well.

The layout of the chapters starts with gathering information on targets. Then takes a step towards client side attacks, server side attacks, Language based attacks, Authentication, Privacy, and Web Services. They even throw in a chapter outlining the last 50 years or so of web software defects. Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, we have not always learned from our mistakes.

The best part of the book however, is not the topic as much as it is the layout they use to demonstrate every vulnerability. They start with a topic, Buffer Overflows as an example. The authors describe what it is in a few paragraphs, then discuss when to apply this type of attack, then proceed in How to conduct this attack, and end with How to protect oneself from this attack. Each section is no more than a few paragraphs, ensuring that you do not loose focus on what's being discussed.

The authors also do a great job discussing the tools that one can use to test or perform each attack. Tools such as Nikto, Wikto, Paros and SSL Digger are discussed. When additional information is needed, they provide screenshots and output for one to learn from.

This book is a must for anyone in the role of Web Security, Auditing, or pen testing.

Pros:
Good Tools, Excellent format, Easy to read

Cons:
Perhaps more references for more information since the authors do not go into great detail; Advanced web security people may find it a bit elementary

How to Break Web Software: Functional and Security Testing of Web Applications and Web Services. Book & CD

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