Penetration Testing, also known as Pen test, is an authorized simulated attack performed on a computer system. It is done to evaluate its security. Penetration testers use several tools, techniques, and processes as attackers to demonstrate the business impact of a system. A physical penetration test is performed to identify any vulnerabilities and issues in physical assets, including locks, cameras, sensors, and barriers. Penetration testing is a security exercise where a cyber-security expert attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in an IT infrastructure.
This kind of testing is done to identify weak spots in a system that attackers could take advantage of. Usually, penetration tests simulate various attacks that could threaten and impact a business and examine whether a system is robust enough to prevent such attacks. Good penetration testing can dive into any aspect of a system.
Why Is Penetration Testing So Important?
Penetration tests are performed on IP address ranges, individual applications, and even based on an organization’s name. Data breaches can be very costly to an IT infra support company. As it identifies weak points in a system, it can help companies obtain information about ways hackers can gain unauthorized access to sensitive information that results in data breaches. The degree of access an attacker can access depends on what the organization is attempting to test.
Preparation for an Attack
Penetration tests are crucial to an organization’s security and safety. The reason is that they help personnel learn how to handle any break-in from malicious activity. They also examine whether an organization’s security policies and procedures are practical and efficient. Penetration tests also provide effective solutions that prevent and detect attackers and expel such an intruder from their system. It is imperative and also serves as a fire drill for organizations.
Penetration testing offers various insights into which applications in the organization are most at risk. It also helps identify new security tools an organization should invest in and guides in following up on necessary protocols. This testing helps uncover major system weaknesses, which is very beneficial and vital for an IT infra support company.
Reducing the Number of Errors
Penetration testing helps reduce and prevent the number of errors. This kind of testing also assists developers in making fewer errors. When developers understand how exactly a malicious entity launched an attack on the system’s software, they will learn more about the security and make sure it doesn’t occur again. They are less likely to make similar mistakes as they go further. Thus, it reduces the amount of risk, which is helpful to the organization.
Types of Penetration testing
- Internal/External Infrastructure Penetration Testing
An assessment of cloud network infrastructure includes firewalls, system hosts, and devices such as routers and switches. It can be framed as either an internal or external penetration test. Internal penetration focuses on assets inside the corporate network, whereas external penetration tests target the internet-facing infrastructure. An organization should know the number of internal and external IPs to be tested, network subnet size, and the number of sites.
- Wireless Penetration Testing
This testing targets an organization’s WLAN, i.e., wireless local area network. It also targets wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Z-Wave. It also helps to identify rogue access points, weaknesses in systems, and WPA vulnerabilities. The testers and developers need to know the number of wireless and guest networks to be assessed, and they also should keep in mind the locations and unique SSIDs to be assessed.
- Web Application Testing
An assessment of websites and custom applications delivered over the web is done in web application testing. It helps uncover coding, design, and development flaws that could be maliciously exploited. Before testing, it’s essential to ascertain the number of apps that need testing and the number of static pages. It also ascertains the number of static pages, dynamic pages, and input fields to be assessed. Therefore, web application testing is vital to keep the apps running effectively.
- Mobile Application Testing
Both web and mobile application testing are essential for businesses as most use both applications. Testing these mobile applications on Android and iOS to identify authentication, authorization, data leakage, and handling issues. To undergo a test, providers need to know the operating system versions on which they’d like an app to be tested. They must also remember the number of API calls and jailbreaking and root detection requirements.
- Build & Configuration Review
Businesses do a practical review of network builds and configurations. This is done to identify misconfigurations across the web, app servers, routers, and firewalls. The number of builds, operating systems, and application servers is reviewed during testing. These are reviewed as these are crucial information to businesses. It also helps to scope this engagement in the IT infrastructure and service management.
- Social Engineering
This is a kind of assessment to know the ability of the business’s systems and personnel. This is done to detect and respond to email phishing attacks. The developers gain various and precise insights into the potential risks through various attacks such as customized phishing, spear phishing, and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks.
Penetration testing is a form of an ethical cyber security assessment conducted to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities across the organization and IT environments. Pen tests should be customized to specific organizations based on their needs, goals, and the industry it belongs to. Vulnerability testing, as well as follow-up reports, should be conducted accordingly. A good report must clearly state the tested systems and match them to their vulnerability.