The purpose of this testing is to discover points of exploitation and secure entry points from outsiders who can have unauthorized system access. With consistent penetration testing, companies can gain unbiased expert third-party feedback on their security processes and avoid extremely expensive and harmful breaches in the future.
Phases of Penetration Testing
Before starting the testing, it’s necessary to discuss the scope of the test, estimated budget, and expected goals. The absence of these may result in a lot of wasted time and effort.
Before beginning the penetration test, the tester will try to obtain all publicly available data and information about the business. Security infrastructure and configurations are studied to help find a way to break into the system and understand how the target application will respond to potential intrusion attacks.
Once the weak points are found, testers simulate a break-in and attempt to escalate their access privileges. Pen testers analyse and assess the degree of harm that they could create by manipulating loopholes in the system.
Once the attackers get access to the system, they try to sustain it for further exploitation and threats. Testers install malware and other malicious programs to keep the system infected for months and detect whether stealing of the organization’s most sensitive data can be accomplished.
On test completion; a report is generated mentioning the steps and corrective actions to fix the security flaws. This highly sensitive document containing identified vulnerabilities is safely shared with authorized personnel to prepare to fix plans.
Methods of Penetration Testing
The testing team and the company’s IT personnel join hands to perform targeted testing. At all stages, security personnel and testers remain aware of each other’s activity. This approach is a valuable learning experience to gain real-time feedback since the test is transparent to all members.
External testing works on attacking externally visible company assets like servers or devices. Common targets for such testing include domain name servers (DNS), websites, email servers, etc. The goal is to discover if an external attacker can enter and gain access to your business processes.
Internal testing copies a dangerous insider threat coming from behind the company’s firewall. The initial point to do this testing is a worker with enough system access and rights. It is ideal for checking how much harm a spiteful employee can do to your systems and network.
Blind testing is the best way to simulate a real attack. Here, the security team remains aware of the test but the staff has inadequate information about the tester’s breach activity and strategy.
The security personnel within the company remain unaware of the upcoming test. This method provides a genuine response and peeks into the security team’s ability to respond to a real-life attempted breach.