Penetration Testing – What companies should know?

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What is penetration testing?

Hacking has been and will be one of the most sought-after security concerns for any organization. Advancement in technologies, evolving digital trends and unsafe business integrations have fuelled the process in the current clock. If you take 10 business enterprises, 9 out of them will be susceptible to hacking. A single vulnerable point is more than enough for an attacker to drill through and deliver the damage.

Isn’t that a disturbing fact? Here is the very significance of penetration testing services in the cyber security domain. Penetration testing is an authorized attack deployed on a system, network, devices, or any access that can probably be the very gateway of an attacker. It mimics or paints the same actions of a malicious actor that uses efficient tools, techniques, and methodologies to detect security weaknesses.

Expert cyber security consultants perform penetration testing to dig the system vulnerabilities and helps in screwing the open loops. Penetration testing is also devised as a method to check your system robustness against attacks that might probably touch your surface. It helps to uncover all system vulnerable points that may be susceptible to attacks in the future if not timely patched.

Stages of penetration testing

Planning & scope

  • Defining the scope and objective of the test, system information and tools required for testing.

Scanning phase

  • The pen tester audits the target manually and via automated tools the to detect open weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and application security risks.
  • A pen tester uses several tools in correspondence to the finding marked in the information-gathering phase.

Penetrating access

  • Once the authentication weakness is identified and spotted, the pen tester imitates the attacker’s process to penetrate the access. They bridge the best tools and technologies to gain access.
  • A pen tester then tries to exploit the weakness by traffic interceptions, theft, and misuse to identify the potential impact.

Maintaining access

  • Here, the pen tester tries to maintain the access and see if the vulnerability can promise a long haul stay or provide in-depth access.
  • The main motive of this stage lies in identifying advanced threats that can lurk in the system or network unknowingly for a long time.

Analysis phase

  • In the analysis stage, a penetration testing report gets furnished those entails,

Specifically identified vulnerabilities

Accessed sensitive information

Time hung in the system unknowingly

Vulnerability action plans and mitigation

Varied Approaches of pen testing

Black box

The specific testing approach is otherwise known as external testing, where pen testers will have zero information on the target. The approach is like a trial-and-error path, simulating a real-world cyber-attack. The goal is to identify possible vulnerabilities and get valuable data by exploiting the assets of the company that are publicly visible.

White box

The approach is popularly known as internal penetration testing, where pen testers will have full target knowledge and provided access. The objective is to conduct in-depth security audits and assessments, providing a detailed report on the findings. White box tests contain high-level details compared to the black box testing approach.

Gray box

In this approach, the pen testers will have partial knowledge or access to the target. They are much faster than the trial-and-error method and provides an efficient assessment traversing the network levels and privileges. Timely patching measures tails the layered approach, and risks get well-focused and identified.

Penetration testing tools

The penetration testing process can vary from one company to another based on the scope, requirements, goals, and the current security system. Like the process difference, the used tools are also dynamic. However, there are some generalized tools ready to hook your penetration testing procedures.

Gathering tools for identifying network hosts and open scope.

Vulnerability scanners for detecting probable threats and issues.

Exploitation tools that can penetrate higher accesses.

Proxy tools and post-exploitation tools to interact, maintain and expand access.

Types of penetration testing

We are clear that penetrating testing can vary in its approach. It can adjoin different tools, methodologies and processes aligning to business goals. Penetration testing companies deeply analyses the organizational objectives while performing tests. The objectives could be regulatory or compliance obligations, code flaw detection or else tied to the way of improving awareness. In the very perspective, penetration testing takes up the following types.

Network security penetration testing

Network penetration tests simulate the intent and actions of malicious intruders that would attack your business system network, devices, and host. They keep their hawk eyes just like the attackers to gain access, penetrate and perform malicious activities. These actions are a part of determining security flaws that exist in your networks before they reach the eye of an attacker. Network penetration testing detects misconfigurations, network vulnerabilities, product-oriented vulnerabilities, open service ports, weak password policies and protocols.

Web application penetration testing

Web Applications are an integral part of digital transformation, and at the same time, hosts various threats if proper security measures are not in the game. Injection flaws, cross-site scripting, authentication and access control misconfigurations, weak session management are some of the web application vulnerabilities. A web application penetration test searches application security weaknesses that can be the gateway for malicious intrusions. Web application pen test produces a report on prioritized vulnerabilities that are subject to effective patching efforts.

Wireless penetration testing

Wireless security breaches are common to organizations that pay little attention to wireless communication and security. A single loophole is enough for an attacker to eavesdrop on your wireless traffic, expanding and exploiting the vulnerable point. Wireless pen tests detect these flaws and help organizations shield wireless devices and protocols with stiff security controls. They examine each wireless device connected to your Wi-Fi and access ports, helping organizations to detect their real posture with wireless networks.

Physical penetration testing

Is every attack digital? No, physical attacks do exist, and organizations need to put that thought chained. Physical penetration tests copy the actions of potential intruders that can cause a physical breach. It detects the path of an intruder who tries to sneak in or gain access to your physical assets. Physical pen tests are also a way of determining whether your physical security controls alert to or shield unauthorized accesses. The penetration testing can go deeper, identifying vulnerable points before it surfaces the malicious eyes.

Cloud security penetration testing

Cloud services have been a pivot element in the digital transformation phase. Even though it sprouts up with huge benefits and feature aids, security is something organizations need to keep an eye on. Cloud security pen tests are the processes simulating a cyber-attack against a system hosted on a cloud provider to protect its valuable assets. Cloud security testers search for potential openness or vulnerabilities present in a business cloud setup which could be fatal for company credentials, sensitive data, and internal systems. Gaps are detected, identified, and patched through the expert advice of cloud security practitioners.

Benefits of penetration testing

In the modern digital transformation era, penetration testing has become a security demand while looking for effective compliance to regulations and privacy standards. Penetration testing reflects many healthy benefits for an organization looking to attain a solid security posture. Below mentioned are the top benefits that stick to the path of penetration testing services;

  • Uncovering vulnerabilities

Penetration testing aids companies to unfold existing weaknesses in their system, application, or network infrastructure. Early vulnerability detections follow efficient patching on the other side.

  • Identifying real risks and threat factors

Penetration testers identify risks by imitating the action of an intruder and unfolding the impacts in a real-world scenario. The intrinsic path of an attacker gets exploited here.

  • Examining your cyber defence

The end-product of the penetration testing process clearly determines an organization’s defence capability or security resilience in dealing with potential cyber-attacks.

  • Aiding regulatory compliance

In the modern era, digital transformations keep ticking, and newer regulations keep sprouting. Penetration testing has become one of the prior requirements for regulatory compliance and certification.

  • Ensuring business continuity

Business continuity is an essential element for any organization and cyberattacks can disrupt the very flow. Penetration testing helps to cease these unexpected shutdowns and ensure continuity stays in line.

  • Promoting trust and reliability

Penetration testing is a process and proof that guarantees maximum coverage of risks and flaws present in the existing environment. As a part of patching gaps and tightening security controls, the organization earns the very trust with its customers and stakeholders.

Summing Up

Penetration testing is an irresistible force that keeps your security belt tightened in the digital business book. Vulnerability identification is the base requirement for correcting any security posture adjoining the action plans and mitigation efforts. Testing practices have kept businesses upstream by detecting the known and unknown parts of your security architecture. Early detection means early patching, and early patching corresponds to a better security posture.

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