Desktop application penetration testing

A security evaluation of your Windows, macOS, or UNIX program verifies that it was created safely and that it is free of flaws that could compromise the application’s or data’s safety.

If not properly built and secured, desktop apps can represent a unique set of security and data protection threats. Sensitive information may be stored (temporarily) on a desktop computer, which is less safe than the back-end database systems and could be exposed if an end user’s desktop is viewed or hijacked. In most workplace situations, physical access to desktop PCs is easy to obtain, and if the computer is left unlocked or unsupervised, an unauthorised person could view or edit the data within the app.

Methodology

The desktop software will be reviewed using a variety of specialized technologies and manual testing. The goal of this evaluation is to find ways for a malicious attacker with access to the app to negotiate sensitive data by compromising important points of the app. During the application’s execution, an evaluation will be done to see if any of the application’s capabilities can be used to elevate permissions within the operational platform of the desktop on which it has been loaded.

The following parts of the app will be evaluated as part of the overall testing method:

Decomplication of binary executables
During the evaluation, an effort will be undertaken to deconstruct all accessible documents with the goal of detecting ways to bypass the source code or confidential material that could be difficult.

Confidential material that could be difficult in the app source code will be checked. Passcodes, database connection credentials, and PKI certificates are examples of confidential hard-coded information that could be helpful to an intruder.

Authentication
The application’s security elements will be examined to see if there are any vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker. Automated testing, such as brute-force credential guessing attempts, will be used against the login display, while manual remote code execution testing will be used to find ways to bypass authentication entirely by tampering with parameters and inserting malicious software into the program.

Access Control by Role (RBAC)
If the application has numerous user roles, testing will be done to guarantee that users cannot increase their rights either “horizontally” or “vertically.” Vertical privilege escalation flaws could enable a lower-privileged authorized user to access capabilities that should only be available to an admin, whereas horizontal privilege escalation flaws could let a person to view the information of other accounts.

In-Memory Analysis is a technique for analysing data in real time.
An in-memory debugging software would be used to investigate the memory process-space used by the program in order to uncover flaws that may only be visible during the app’s run-time. This is critical in detecting attack vectors that could allow an attacker to insert malicious software into the Windows program as part of a larger attack using hacking tools.
 

Injection of code
To uncover methods in which an attacker could inject malicious code, code injection testing will be done on all entry points to the application. Depending on the application design, these include SQL injection testing if the program uses a back-end database, or session hijacking testing if the application runs on an application server that runs operating commands.

Permissions for a File
All files linked with the app will have their file permissions reviewed. The goal of this investigation is to see if an attacker might interfere with the app executable, log files, or library files, allowing them to change the application’s behaviour.

Permissions for Applications and Services
The program and any services provided will be checked to see which operating system rights they have. If a hacker is able to find common ground the application, particular inspections will be performed to determine the level of access a threat actor would have to the operating system.

Signing Digital Codes
The application binary, as well as all associated modules and Dynamically Linked Libraries (DLL) files, will be inspected to guarantee that they have been recorded and stored and cannot be modified by a malicious attacker.

Management of certificates and keys
Particular checks will be done around how the secret key and certifications are maintained and handled by the app if it uses encryption for information or network traffic. This is done to make sure that the keys or certifications cannot be taken or fabricated by a hostile user and subsequently used to bypass the application’s encryption.

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