Preparing for Pentesting (@ Longhorn PHP 2018)

At this year’s Longhorn PHP conference I’ll be presenting two talks: an updated version of my “Securing Legacy Applications” session and something new and a bit different for a conference primarily aimed at development topics. I’ll be giving a tutorial on the first day (April 19th) about penetration testing. For those not familiar with the topic, penetration testing is a common security practice where you make attempts to locate the flaws in an application, usually without knowledge of the code running underneath.

For a group that’s primarily focused on “building” rather than “breaking” it might be a bit of a mind shift but I hope to at least provide my attendees with the basic concepts and tools to try it out on their own applications. There have been several sessions recently that focus on securing the code but that’s only half of the equation.

So, if you’re going to be attending my tutorial, here are a few things that can help you hit the ground running when we start. There’ll be a brief introduction to some of the basic application security concepts but we’re not going to dive too deep into those. Instead, you’ll be attacking a series of challenges I’ve created to teach the basics.

Here’s how to prepare:

– Go over the OWASP Top 10 to be familiar with the common vulnerability types (hint: several are in the challenges)
– Grab the Community Edition of the PortSwigger Burp Suite tool. We’ll be using this to help solve some of the challenges
– Check out the PHP security cheat sheet, some of the top PHP security issues and this guide to building secure PHP applications

Don’t worry if you’re not a PHP security pro – that kind of knowledge isn’t required here. The topics we’ll cover are more from the security testing side and, as an added bonus can be used on any kind of web-based application – not just PHP ones!

I hope to see you on Thursday morning – we’re going to have some fun!

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