In the standard versions, software plus systems are designed initially to aim eliminating dangerous security flaws. Penetration testing or a pen test provides an insight into how successful that went.
What actually is Penetration testing?
Penetration testing (also referred to as pen testing) is a security checkup where a cyber-security expert tries search for weaknesses in your computer system.
It is a deliberate attempt and a simulated attack to identify vulnerabilities in your defense system which the attackers may take advantage of.
Advantages of Penetration Testing
This artificial simulation is for the following reasons:
- Find drawbacks in defense systems.
- To know the strength of controls of your system.
- Provide aid to compliance and offer data privacy and security regulations.
- Give examples of current security and budget priorities for management.
Can you do a pen test?
No, have a pen test for your company by someone who does not possess prior knowledge of your system security.
There is a chance that they may be able to showcase blind spots missed by the developers. Therefore, contractors or ‘ethical hackers’ are hired to hack into the system with permission.
These contractors are experienced individuals that have tech degrees to their name with a certificate for pen testing.
However, there may be some best working ethical hackers that are self-taught. As a matter of fact, some are reformed criminal hackers who resort to help fix security flaws instead of exploiting them.
Types of pen tests
- Open-box pen test– In this type, the hacker is given information beforehand about the target company’s security info.
- Closed-box pen test– or ‘single-blind’ test, is where the hacker is not provided any sort of background information other than the name of the target company.
- Covert pen test– A ‘double-blind’ pen test in which no one in the company knows that the pen test is going to happen, this mainly includes your IT and security team who respond to the attack.
- External pen test– The ethical hacker fires up against the company’s external-facing technology, for example their website and external network servers.
- Internal pen test– In internal testing, ethical hackers test inside the company’s internal network. It is beneficial to understand the harm a disgruntled employee can cause from behind the company’s firewall.
Pen test Performance – Step Wise Guide
These tests are done stage wise. A pen test start off with reconnaissance stage. In this, a hired ethical hacker starts with gathering data and relevant information which will come in to plan their simulated attack.
Next up is the focus on gaining and keeping up with access to the target system. This step involves a set of tools.
The set comprises of the following:
- A software to producebrute-force attacksorSQL injections.
- A hardware custom made for penetration testing. Examples include small inconspicuous boxes that to plug into the computer on the network. This is done to give the hacker remote access to that network.
- The ethical hacker will use social engineering techniquesto find weaknesses.
The final step is covering their trail. The last stage is removing any attached hardware and take necessary measures to avoid getting caught and leave the targeted system exactly how they started with.