Burp Suite is a powerful set of tools used for performing security testing of web applications. It is designed to help find vulnerabilities and provide a way to test them. In this guide, we will discuss how to use Burp Suite for advanced web penetration testing.
Setting Up Burp Suite
Before performing any testing, you need to set up Burp Suite correctly.
- Download Burp Suite from the official PortSwigger website (https://portswigger.net/burp)
- Choose the version that best suits your needs (Community Edition for free or Professional for advanced features)
- Install the application on your machine
- Configure your browser to route traffic through Burp Suite’s proxy server
- Go to the proxy settings in your browser, set the manual proxy configuration, and point the HTTP proxy to 127.0.0.1 with the port set to 8080 (default port for Burp)
- Install Burp’s SSL certificate in your browser to intercept HTTPS traffic
- Launch Burp Suite and select “Temporary project” or “New project on disk” based on your preference
- Visit the “Proxy” tab and make sure “Intercept is on” to capture requests
- Adjust the scope of your project in the “Target” tab’s scope section to specify which hosts/domains should be included in the testing
Gathering information is the first step in any penetration test.
Mapping the Application
- Use Burp’s ‘Spider’ tool to map out the visible content of the application
- Collect endpoints, URL parameters, and application pages
Discover Hidden & Technical Content
- Utilize the “Content Discovery” function to reveal hidden directories and files
- Look for configuration files, backup files, and old versions of files that can contain sensitive information
Analyzing Application Behavior
- Passively browse the application while Burp Suite records all transactions
- Monitor requests and responses for hidden parameters, and API endpoints
With the application mapped, begin searching for vulnerabilities.
Using Burp Scanner
- If you are using the Burp Suite Professional version, run the active scan against the target
- Examine the scan results for vulnerabilities such as SQL Injection, XSS, and CSRF
- Manually test inputs for common vulnerabilities using the Burp Intruder and Repeater tools
- Employ custom payloads, fuzzing techniques, and attack vectors tailored to the identified components or technologies
- Analyze both the static and dynamic content of the application
- Look for points where user input is handled and processed
- Pay special attention to authentication mechanisms, session management, access controls, and input validation routines
When you have identified a vulnerability, exploit it in a controlled and responsible manner.
Crafting Custom Exploits
- Use Burp’s Repeater tool to modify requests and test different attack inputs
- Refine payloads based on the observed behavior and response of the application
Leveraging Built-in Tools
- Use the Intruder tool to perform automated attacks and credential stuffing
- Utilize the Sequencer tool to test session randomness and predictability
Setting Up Attack Scenarios
- Modify requests to simulate a real-world attacker, such as altering session tokens, cookie manipulation, and privilege escalation
Post-exploitation involves understanding the implications of a successful attack and the depth of access.
- Determine the level of access gained from the vulnerability
- Explore the system further to identify potential data leakage or additional exploits
- Test and exploit sessions and tokens to ascertain their strength and the ease of hijacking
- Document every action taken, revert any changes made to the system
- Remove all payloads and test data from the application
Produce a detailed report including the findings, methodology, and recommendations.
- Present the vulnerabilities with clear descriptions, proof of concept, and potential impact
- Explain each step taken during the exploitation phase, including screenshots where relevant
Recommendations and Remediation
- Provide actionable and prioritized recommendations for fixing the identified issues
- Suggest best practices for secure coding and configuration
- Prepare an overview for non-technical stakeholders that highlights the risk and the need for remediation
Using Burp Suite effectively for advanced web penetration testing requires a deep understanding of web application security and patience to manually investigate potential vulnerabilities. Remember to conduct ethical penetration testing within the bounds of the law and only on systems where you have explicit permission to do so.