What do you know about penetration testing? Is it also called ethical hacking? It refers to the security process of evaluating computer system applications for vulnerability and susceptibility to cyber threats. The main reason penetration tests are essential is that they help employees learn how to deal with any attack by an intruder. Penetration testing is a way to test whether an organization’s security strategy is working. They act as a kind of firefighting training for the organization.
Penetration Testing Cost depends on many factors, which include the size of the company, the scope and complexity of the test, the methods used, the experience of the pen testers, and the cost of fixing bugs and vulnerabilities. In any case, all prices will pay off. It will secure the business as much as possible. Let’s learn more about pen testing.
Pen Testing: Definition & Main Benefits
Penetration testing is a permitted simulated attack conducted on a computer system to gain access to its safety. Penetration testers operate the same tools, techniques, and methods as attackers to determine and present the business impact of security flaws.
Pen tests Can Help the Security Team to:
- Find security weaknesses in the computer systems;
- Support for data privacy and security compliance;
- Provide management with qualitative and quantitative models of the existing state of safety and budgetary prerogatives.
Thus, security testing usually simulates different attacks that can threaten a company. They can test whether systems are robust enough to withstand attacks from authenticated and non-authenticated spots and a range of system roles. Security professionals can deeply penetrate any system element within the vital scope.
Pen Testing Types to Find Vulnerabilities
It is customary to distinguish two main methods of vulnerability assessment:
- Automated testing produces results faster and with fewer experts than a fully manual penetration testing procedure. Automated tools follow developments automatically and can export them to a centralized reporting platform. In addition, the results of manual penetration tests may differ from test to test, while repeated runs of automated scanning on the same system will deliver the same results.
- Manual pen testing detects vulnerabilities not on widespread lists and reviews business logic that automated pen test might miss. This pen testing can also help determine false positives alerted by an automated pen test.
But as practice shows, it is the automatic method of finding more effective security risks. Therefore, we will consider automatic pen testing tools in the next section.
Main Automated Testing Tools to Search Security Vulnerabilities
We have selected the three most popular penetration testing tools that can be useful when searching for security gaps and data breaches.
- NMAP permits mapping the network penetration testing by scanning ports, discovering operating systems, and creating a list of devices and their services. It allows pen testers to create an inventory of all instruments, using techniques and applications connected to a network, allowing them to detect potential vulnerabilities accurately.
- Metasploit also contains some phasing, anti-forensics, and evasion tools. It is easy to install, works on many platforms, and is quite popular among ethical hackers.
- WireShark is an open-source pen-testing tool that is primarily used for protocol analysis. It can be used to monitor network infrastructure at the micro level.
With these tools, the testing team will check whether employees will be given access to their website, web applications, or personal company data.
Pen Testing Process: Step-by-Step Guide
The testing process can be divided into five stages.
- Planning and exploration is the first stage that helps determine the test’s scope and objectives and uncover vulnerabilities.
- Scanning is the next step. It helps to understand how the target web apps will respond to different intrusion attempts.
- Gaining access is a stage when web-based applications attack: cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and backdoors to discover the target’s vulnerabilities.
- Maintaining access helps to mimic advanced persistent threats that typically stay on systems for months to steal an organization’s most sensitive data.
- Analysis of a penetration test and prepare security measures for any detected vulnerabilities.
After all these stages, your pen test is finished.
Each ethical hacker tries to check a system’s defenses through manual or automated methods. It helps to determine any problematic security issues and propose solutions. So, providing a pen test is important.
It helps to identify vulnerabilities in security best practices and can attack any system, imitating the behavior of most malicious hackers and replicating a real enemy as accurately as possible.
Pen tester can initiate web and mobile apps, networks, clouds, containers, embedded and mobile devices, APIs, and CI/CD pipeline testing.
The experts unanimously decided that external and internal testing, blind testing, double-blind testing, and targeted testing are the most effective.