The Philosophy of Penetration Testing - What, Why, and How?

If you are following cybersecurity trends, you’ve heard of penetration testing. Here, we’ll clarify what it includes, why it’s important, and what the best methods of testing are.

Penetration Testing

What's Penetration Testing?

Let’s start with a penetration testing definition. Penetration testing, or pen testing, or ethical hacking is the activity of testing a computer network, a system, or an application to find out security vulnerabilities that can lead to hackers’ attacks. By scrutinizing the network’s traffic, system activities, and application processes, pen testing provides an in-depth insight into the security vulnerabilities as attackers can see them.

Why Do Penetration Testing?

The primary purpose of pen testing is to detect security weaknesses. Additionally, this technique can check the enterprise’s security policy, and even employees’ safety awareness and the company’s ability to respond to security attacks. Pen testing is becoming popular with businesses and other enterprises who store sensitive data, as it helps them prevent data leakage.

How To Do Pen Testing?

When performing this checking, you have to identify what exactly will be tested - network, system, servers, endpoints, software, etc. Afterwards, you can choose the most appropriate tools and software. The testing process includes several stages.

1. Reconnaissance, or Planning

This step includes getting essential information on a target system. You have to define the test’s aims, the systems and processes that require testing, and the tools or methods for conducting the analysis.

2. Scanning

The purpose of this stage is to identify entry points with the use of special tools to get additional knowledge of the system. In other words, you learn how the target system responds to intrusions.

3. Getting Access

The tester applies the gained information to exploit the network. The breaking in can be achieved with intercepting traffic, escalating privileges, etc. to evaluate the possible damage.

4. Maintaining Access and Hiding Tracks

This step checks whether an attacker can stay within the system and gather information as long as possible. Testers clear any signs of compromising or damaging the network to remain anonymous and imitate persistent threats because attackers can repeat the process and attempt to gain access to data numerous times.

How Often Should Full Penetration Testing Be Performed?

Penetration testing should become a habit for you. Compulsory pen testing once a year will help you guarantee more consistent network security and improve IT management. Besides routine checks, it’s advisable to perform this testing in case of:

  • infrastructure changes;
  • significant modifications or updates in software;
  • connecting new locations;
  • adjustments in users’ access to data.

Additionally, you should remember that the more time an enterprise spends online, i.e., the larger online presence is, the more vulnerable it becomes due to the increasing number of attacks. Thus, pen testing can be performed more often.

What Are Penetration Testing Tools?

Mostly, pen testing is an automated process that uses specialized software that identifies network and system vulnerabilities. The main principle of such checking is code scanning that uncovers the coding that can lead to security breaches. Moreover, pet testing tools assess data encryption techniques and identity configurations.
Some of the most popular penetration testing software and tools are Netsparker Security Scanner, Wireshark, Metasploit, John The Ripper Password Cracker, etc.

Mostly, pen testing is an automated process that uses specialized software that identifies network and system vulnerabilities. The main principle of such checking is code scanning that uncovers the coding that can lead to security breaches. Moreover, pet testing tools assess data encryption techniques and identity configurations.
Some of the most popular penetration testing software and tools are Netsparker Security Scanner, Wireshark, Metasploit, John The Ripper Password Cracker, etc.

Is Penetration Testing Difficult?

To begin the testing, you should get specific knowledge of your network, system processes, connections, devices, environment, etc. In other words, you should understand all the processes that are happening when users are trying to access their accounts, data, programs, etc. to perform their work. Also, you should know how software and tools for penetration testing work.
Likewise, you should carefully plan pen testing. If it’s performed at the wrong time or misses important components, the result can be misleading and harmful for the enterprise's continuity and operations.

Why Choose Professional Penetration Testing?

Experienced testers can modify the testing software according to the company’s peculiarities and needs. Moreover, they will provide a series of detailed reports that not only state security issues but also offer suggestions on how to fix them. The result of professional penetration testing is usually a report that: 

  • lists uncovered security issues (if there are any);
  • categorizes and prioritizes any found vulnerabilities;
  • evaluates potential impacts for the company;
  • offers countermeasures to minimize the risks;
  • prioritizes enterprise’s investments in the security system;
  • helps developers create more secure software.

You’ll know for sure what is essential to fix immediately and what steps to take further. Take advantage of penetration tests today to guarantee your security in advance!

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