Penetration testing is a form of ethical hacking, cybersecurity technique used to identify vulnerabilities in their security posture, basically, it is a pre-cyber-attack on a computer system to check for the exploitable vulnerabilities in a system, a mimic of the strategies and action done by an attacker to evaluate the hackability of an organization’s network, servers, and computer systems.
Vulnerability reckoning and Penetration testing are not the same
Penetration testing is not the same as Vulnerability reckoning, which gives us a list of weaknesses in the system and helps us in dealing with them. Penetration testing and Vulnerability reckoning are performed simultaneously but penetration testing is performed with the aim like:
- Trying to hack a particular system.
- Identify the hackable systems,servers.
- To carry out complete data rupture.
- Insertion of malware(viruses).
Ethical hackers are the experts who use their knowledge to help companies to find entry points in their infrastructure, by applying different tools, methods, and approaches to perform a cyber attack in a company’s systems to test the weakness and strength of their existing security systems.
Penetration in this case means how hackers can penetrate an organization’s cybersecurity measure and protocol.
Why do we have to do Penetration Testing?
Since cyber-attacks are increasing day by day which is a great threat to all internet-based companies. If such a cyber-attack happens on a company then the company could not be able to access data, networks, servers, devices which are needed to conduct the business which would definitely result in a huge loss, another consequence of such type of attack is that customers valuable data(bank details, passwords, etc) is also at risk and with evolving technologies attackers are also changing their methodologies so organizations also need to perform such penetration testing to protect their servers and data from such attackers and protect themselves from the losses.
How Penetration Testing is done?
For fruitful compliance of penetration testing, one needs to follow some steps
- We need to define the aim of the test and decide what kind of methods and technologies are needed to run the tests.
- Gathering information about the network,domain names and mail server to have a better understanding of how the target works and what are its potential weaknesses
Now we have to see how does the target respond to our intrusion attacks
- Static analysis: In this method of analysis we try to figure out how the application code works while running.
- Dynamic Analysis: In this method we analyse the applications code in real-time and try to inspect the applications performance in real time .
3. Acquiring Control over the system:
- Here we try to get information about the targets vulnerabilities with help or web application attacks like SQL-injection, Cross-site scripting,when vulnerabilities are found,these testers try to exploit them by stealing data,blocking use access this actually helps experts to find out how much damage an attacker can give if they have control over such vulnerabilities.
- Another aim is to have a constant access of the system to gain in depth access of the system and to imitate the advanced persistent hazards which could later provide the attacker with the sensitive data of the org.
4. Integrating the results:
Results of the Penetration test are then compiled together into a detailed report to see
- What kind of specific vulnerabilities were exploited.
- To see how much time did pen tester spend undetected in the system and how much of the sensitive data was exploited by the tester.
- A proper detailed report is needed so that org can act accordingly on their systems and secure their servers,userdata ,etc.
5. Different Methods for Penetration Testing:
- Internal testing
- Blind testing
- Double blind testing
- Targeted testing
- External testing
An organization should regularly conduct penetration testing to recognize recently discovered and previously unknown vulnerabilities, pentesting should be done after major changes on infrastructure and applications or when new infrastructure or application is deployed.
More information on penetration testing packages are available here: https://www.itgovernance.co.uk/penetration-testing-services
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