What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing is a practice to test IT networks, software, systems, devices, and applications in order to uncover security gaps and vulnerabilities that could be exploited. Penetration testing is also referred to as Pen testing or ethical hacking and enables you to test your network against a real-world attack.
Cybersecurity approach these days is becoming increasingly proactive. Penetration testing does just that. Penetration testing involves an in-depth assessment that includes the use of a variety of testing tools to identify security gaps by simulating an attack. It’s good practice to adopt both, manual penetration as well as automated assessment techniques in order to identify false negatives and false positives.
Once identified, these gaps within your network, applications, systems, devices, and software can be remediated to intensify and strengthen your overall security. Regular testing is recommended in order to stay on top of potential attacks. Besides, Penetration testing should be conducted when new infrastructure is deployed as well as when revisions are made to existing infrastructure and applications.
Types of Penetration Tests
There are several types of penetration tests. We discuss some common types of tests below.
Social Engineering Tests – Social engineering entails manipulating users to give up confidential information. Some examples of social engineering include baiting, fishing, email hacking, scareware, pretexting, etc. Social engineering takes advantage of human error to gain access to sensitive information. Social engineering tests are designed to identify and protect human vulnerabilities.
Client-Side Tests – Some vulnerabilities are a result of flaws in a software application including third-party software. Client-side tests are conducted to pinpoint security threats that emerge from these applications.
Wireless Network Tests – Wireless network tests aim to analyze wireless devices such as laptops, Smartphones, tablets, etc. Apart from the physical device itself, wireless network tests should also be conducted on the protocols used for wireless networking and access points for wireless setups. These tests can help find weak areas and identify access points that are in violation and prone to attacks.
Web Application Tests – These tests target web applications and browsers including their components such as Scriptlets, Plug-ins, Applets, and ActiveX. With an increase in web application threats, these tests help examine endpoints of web applications that are frequent targets for cybercriminals.
Network Services Tests – This test is the most common test conducted by penetration testers. It seeks to discover gaps in network infrastructures. Networks can be both internal and external, hence running tests in both environments is highly recommended. Network testing typically includes router testing, bypassing firewalls, open port scanning and testing, network database testing, testing Exchange or SMTP mail servers, etc. to name a few.
Is Penetration Testing necessary?
So, is Penetration testing necessary? The answer to this would be a strong positive. Yes, Penetration testing is necessary and the sooner it is implemented, the higher the chances of a robust IT infrastructure. It’s just like you would schedule an annual medical check-up with your doctor. You may feel healthy, but the doctor will run tests on you to determine what your vulnerabilities are and maybe uncover issues that you are not even aware of. Testing can bring those issues to the surface and you can get a jumpstart on remedial measures preventing critical issues down the road.
In the same way, organizations should conduct regular Penetration testing of their infrastructure for the following reasons:
- To identify weaknesses in the entire infrastructure including hardware, software, and human flaws.
- To help organizations build resilience against cyber attacks by implementing effective controls.
- To test applications that are attacked the most and develop solutions for prevention from internal and external breaches.
- To discover new weaknesses in existing software that are acquired when patches and updates are run
At Cyber Chasse, we use a combination of software and manual techniques to ensure that you get the best and most comprehensive test of your network. We work with you to understand your requirements and provide you with the best solution for your security needs. Find and close security gaps in your IT infrastructure with our fast and cost-efficient penetration testing services. To learn more, contact us today.