Most Common Penetration Testing Vulnerabilities Found In 2024

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As we get into another year of technological advancements and the latest trends, the digital domain is evolving with an unprecedented landscape of common vulnerabilities in cybersecurity and penetration testing insights.

According to the reports in Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024, in 2023, the worldwide atmosphere faced an unstable political system. This was encompassed by several armed disputes, a lack of correct knowledge regarding the consequences and opportunities of the various latest technologies and trends, and a state of uncertainty in the global economy. 

But in the midst of the most complex environment, the cybersecurity sector has seen a huge and noteworthy development. One of the most commonly used tools when uncertainty occurs is penetration testing. This was more than what was adopted by the changes in the tech industry and the global economy. However, the usage of the penetration testing pool differed with varying countries and industries. 

The findings from the Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2024 demonstrated that the latest technology and innovation would worsen the current cybersecurity vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Further, companies that are both compliant and non-compliant are divided the most in terms of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This points out the fact that there will be a continued gap in cyber excellence and a lack of expert cybersecurity professionals.

Therefore, there is a solid need to hire the best penetration testing company to find the common vulnerabilities within your application. Consequently, it helps provide the most suitable penetration testing services that allow for thriving in the cutting-edge technological landscape. 

Thus, with our updated skills and knowledge, we are going to explore the most common penetration testing vulnerabilities discovered in 2024 through this blog. We will also provide suitable recommendations or solutions to tackle these vulnerabilities. 

So, let’s delve deeper!

Role of Advanced Penetration Testing In Identifying Potential Security Breaches 

For cybersecurity professionals, IT professionals, and giant business leaders, merely gaining knowledge of these cybersecurity vulnerabilities does not account for proper data protection practices.

data breaches

It is of paramount importance to maintain operational integrity and ensure zero cyber attacks. Advanced penetration testing is a very robust and solid strategy in this bottleneck, giving you many opportunities to develop and grow. 

The significant advantages of penetration testing are:

1. Proactive Approach

Penetration testing helps in developing a better proactive approach to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. It detects and fixes the vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them.

2. Practical Attack Simulation

Penetration testing insights are highly valuable in identifying how attackers operate. Additionally, they point out how security weaknesses are considered during the pressure point.  

3. Personalized Threat Intelligence 

Advanced penetration testing customizes its operations based on the latest threat intelligence. This ensures that companies are ready to face any attacks they might face in the future. 

4. Compliance Guarantee

Penetration testing ensures companies meet regulatory requirements. This is showcased through their dedication to safety practices. 

Top Penetration Testing Vulnerabilities Uncovered in 2024

Let’s have a closer look at the top vulnerabilities discovered during penetration tests.

1. SQL Injections

SQL injections are one of the most common vulnerabilities found in web application evaluations. Before going deeper into the SQL injection vulnerability, let’s understand “What are injection flaws? “Injection flaws are defined as the various levels of attacks in which the cyber attacker gives wrong or unuseful inputs to the web application. 

sql injection attacks

Thus, in an SQL injection attack, the attacker will feed an SQL query using the input data from the browser to the web application. When this malicious act is successful, the attacker gets access and has the potential to restructure the sensitive data from the customer’s database and, in certain situations, implement administrative commands. 

The SQL injection vulnerability is a significant risk as it can lead to data breaches, the redesign of confidential information, or the compromise of the entire system. This injection threat currently occupies third place in the OWASP Top 10, where these flaws are regarded as one of the top vulnerabilities discovered during penetration tests. 

The most notable instance where SQL injection damaged the business was the TalkTalk data breach in 2015. This SQL attack resulted in a fine of £400,000 and also had a drastic impact on the company’s brand reputation and image. 

2. Cross-site Scripting (XSS) Attacks

Cross-site scripting attacks are another form of injection attack. This security vulnerability takes place when a cyber threat actor injects malicious scripts into the application of a webpage. That is done through the user’s browser.

The scripts are targeted to reconfigure the content of the web application with the intent to manipulate or destroy the information and operability of that information. After this process, the script is channeled to the user browser, which deals with the web app. This is attained through several means, like malicious links, invalid websites, or an application flaw. 

cross site scripting attack

One of the most notable facts in this attack is that the scripts are complicated to identify as they are hidden within the standard functionality of the web application. Hence, the users who get these scripts are totally unaware of the malicious attack.

Once the harmful script is successful, it enables the attackers to access the website data, steal private information such as credentials, access cookies, and, in most instances, gain control over the user’s account. This results in the private data manipulation done as if the original owner of the account is doing it. 

One example of an XSS attack was British Airways. The attack occurred in 2018 when Magecart attacked British Airways. A well-known hacker collective known for credit card skimming attacks is called Magecart. The group did this attack by exploiting an XSS vulnerability in a JavaScript library named Feedify.

The website of British Airways uses Feedify. The attackers restructured the script to send the customer information to a malicious server. This server used a domain name identical to British Airways. The malicious server had an SSL certificate, which made the users believe it when purchasing. The group was successful in performing credit card skimming on 380,000 booking transactions before they were found

3. Security Misconfigurations

Another common security vulnerability discovered from penetration testing insights in 2024 is security misconfigurations. This comprehensive vulnerability included misaligned permissions, unchanged default settings, unwanted services running within a system, and more. With the growing emergence of the latest technologies, the complexity of these configurations grows, leading to an unprecedented risk of misconfigurations. 

Security Misconfigurations

The effect of security misconfigurations can range from bounded data theft to significant damage to a company’s reputation. Most of the issues after these attacks are a lack of application security controls, complex alerts, default accounts, and more.

One example of security misconfiguration is Amazon S3. Most companies experienced data breaches as a result of unprotected storage buckets on Amazon’s popular S3 storage service. For instance, the US Army Intelligence and Security Command unintentionally kept private database files on S3 without required authentication. Some of these were classified as top secrets.   

Strategies For Addressing Cybersecurity Weaknesses

In this section, we are going to look at how to address common cybersecurity weaknesses. The section will provide significant strategies for the above-mentioned top vulnerabilities discovered during penetration tests. 

cybersecurity weakness

1. Strategies For SQL Injections

To get over the attack from SQL injections, organizations can employ specific strategies.

  • Rigorous Input Validation

Employ strict input validation checks to ensure that only required data inputs enter your system. This encompasses the process of checking and cleaning all the user data inputs before processing.

  • Parameterized Queries

The use of parameterized queries helps in the development of SQL commands, which consider input as data instead of code. This helps in successfully neutralizing the attack from the SQL injections.  

  • Regular Code Reviews 

You must perform continuous, thorough, and up-to-date code reviews to identify and eliminate potential security vulnerabilities and weaknesses that can be exploited through SQL injections. Peer reviews and automated scanning tools are best for enhancing this process. 

2. Strategies for Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)

The organizations can employ the below-mentioned strategies to get over the attack from XSS attacks.

  • Implementing Content Security Policy (CSP) 

CSP is an effective tool that helps eliminate XSS attacks by specifying which dynamic resources are potentially loaded. Thai helps efficiently block malicious scripts. 

  • Encoding Data 

Always ensure that any data dynamically input to web pages is correctly encoded. This implies converting special characters into a format that is non-executable by the browser, which prevents XSS attacks.

  • Using Xss Prevention Libraries

It uses libraries and frameworks that automatically monitor the encoding and verification of the input data. These tools act as an additional security barrier against XSS attacks. 

3. Strategies for Security Misconfigurations

  • Regular Security Audits

Perform strict and extensive security audits to discover and eliminate any misconfiguration within your system, network, or applications. This must be considered a significant and core part of your routine.  

  • Adherence to Security Best Practices

Design and follow a solid set of security best practices that align with your business requirements. This includes principles for safe coding, system setup, and network configuration. 

  • Automated Tools for Detection

Always use automated tools to check and identify potential security misconfigurations regularly. These tools can provide real-time notifications, helping to take immediate action regarding the discovered threat. 

The findings from our most recent penetration testing insights highlighted a critical aspect that is important to follow in this complex digital landscape of 2024. Cybersecurity is constantly changing, with new security vulnerabilities and cybersecurity weaknesses emerging as rapidly as technological advancement takes over. These evolving threats require cybersecurity experts, IT managers, and corporate leaders to take proactive action to protect digital assets. Thus, you must partner with the right and best penetration testing company to keep your data safe. 

At Wattlecorp, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the best state-of-the-art penetrating testing services to overcome security vulnerabilities. Always be informed, conduct regular penetration tests, and leverage expert partnerships to not only address the present cyber security weakness but also to foresee and prepare for potential future threats.

So, if you are looking for the best penetration testing company, 

Connect with us right now! 

We can discuss the possible scenarios for your future development. 

Q1: What are the most frequently discovered vulnerabilities during penetration tests?

The most frequently discovered vulnerabilities during penetration testing are:
1. SQL Injections
2. Cross-site Scripting (XSS) Attacks
3. Security Misconfigurations

Q2: How can businesses protect against SQL injections and XSS attacks?

The business can protect against SQL injections and XSS attacks by following the below-mentioned strategies:
1. Strategies For SQL Injections
Rigorous Input Validation
Parameterized Queries
Regular Code Reviews 
2. Strategies for Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
Implementing Content Security Policy (CSP) 
Encoding Data 
Using Xss Prevention Libraries

Q3: What steps should be taken immediately after discovering a vulnerability?

Immediate steps after discovering a vulnerability:
Containment and Isolation
Assessment and Analysis
Remediation Planning
Implementation of Fixes
Verification and Testing
Documentation and Review

Picture of Ammar Bin Vahab

Ammar Bin Vahab

Ammar Bin Vahab is a Penetration Testing Professional with 3+ years of experience. He is also an expert cybersecurity consultant with a proven track record of success in the information technology and services industries. Competent in information gathering, vulnerability assessment, Incident Response, Investigation, and product management, He's presently ranked as a ProHacker in Hack The Box CTF platform.


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