When hackers seek access to your system, they’re less likely to find entrance through obviously secured points. But they’re more likely to look for weak, vulnerable points in your information system through which they can gain access. One guaranteed way of eliminating the risk of an attack from vulnerable points in your order is to employ penetration testing services.
What is a Penetration Testing Service?
Penetration testing, also known as Pentest, is the process of simulation a cyber-attack on your digital system to scan for vulnerabilities within the system.
A Pentest can include an attempt to breach the security protocols of your application system to fish out weak points in them.
The simulated attack can be against application protocol interfaces. It can also be against your frontend and backend network servers. And the vulnerabilities that are uncovered during the test are usually attack-prone, unsanitized inputs.
After a penetration test, your system’s WAF security policies can then be adjusted, and the revealed vulnerabilities patched up. Besides revealing weaknesses in your network system, a valid pentest should be able to validate your current security framework, and also provide a sufficient remedy to lapses.
When Does a System Need Penetration Testing?
A penetration test can become necessary under one or all of the following circumstances:
- When you modify your user policies
- If there was an inclusion of new applications or network infrastructure
- When you have a new corporate IT
- When an upgrade is done on existing applications and infrastructure.
- When there is a change in your business location.
- When your system is required to run any mandatory assessment and analysis.
Penetration Testing Methods
Black Box Pentest
This method of penetration testing is usually done when there is limited information about the system being tested. This means that little or no information on network frameworks, security policies, and software protection in use will be made available.
Gray Box Pentest
Gray box pentest is usually carried out with just enough information about the system’s network. Details like user login and system overview are generally available for the test process.
White Box Pentest
This method of penetration testing discovers system vulnerabilities by harnessing information like administrative rights, access to database encryption, source codes, as well as system framework and configuration.
Stages of Penetration Testing
For penetration testing to be carried out successfully, there are three major test stages a system must undergo. They are the planning stage, the attack stage, and the post-attack or analysis stage.
Pentest Planning Stage
This Pentest stage is significantly characterized by:
- Identifying the likely attack
- Understanding the aim of the test, as well as the database and system to be tested
- Checking out the system environment to be tested
- Selecting the ideal pentest method
- Setting up communication and interaction channels
Pentest Attack Stage
- Service detection and commencement of the actual test.
- Development of vulnerability detection tools – as necessary
- Scanning and identification of weak points, alongside the removal of non-existent positives
- Gaining access through discovered vulnerabilities
- Use of system weak point as a base for further simulated ‘unauthorized’ access.
- Pentest outcomes are analyzed, and recommendations are provided
- Illustration of possible damages that could be inflicted on the system by unauthorized access.
- Elimination of revealed vulnerabilities.
Penetration Testing Deliverables
- After a penetration test, the pentest service provider should be able to provide relevant reports and recommendations for security enhancement.
- A concise description of what was found during the test should also be provided.
- A comprehensive list of vulnerabilities that were discovered is also provided. These vulnerabilities are usually categorized according to the extent of damage they could cause the system if not properly eliminated
- The various test protocols utilized during the test
- Changes and modifications executed on the system during the test
- Feasible recommendations to tackle discovered security problems.
Possible Vulnerability Points
During the development cycle, and the adoption of IoT devices, hackers can quickly gain unauthorized access into your system. Hence, penetration testing is carried out on your connected devices.
There is a need to regularly review your network infrastructure because hackers can intrude on your network and stay undiscovered for a long time. When these hackers are not immediately discovered, they can easily lay hold of highly sensitive information in your systems.
Web applications often create direct interactions with your system’s internal database. It is, therefore, necessary that a Pentest is carried out on your web applications to keep intruders from gaining access to your database.
As mobile app developers are increasing in their numbers, so also are the attacks on these applications.
Undoubtedly, the information in your system’s database is of importance to your business. You’ll need to carry out a pentest on your database to ensure it is not prone to intruders.
Industrial Control Security
You need to guard your system against any possible threat that could be targeted at the ICS and CNI.
Running a Pentest on your security system confers numerous benefits to your business, and they are:
Validation of Security Measures
The outcome of a pentest will reveal whether or not your security measures need validation or not. And when validation is required, a pentest will also disclose the exact area where you need to beef up security.
Mitigation of Possible Attacks
A pentest will help your business identify areas that are prone to cyber-attack. The pentest analysis will also reveal the details of the weaknesses discovered.
Elimination of Downtime Related Costs
When you run a Pentest on your network and discover vulnerabilities in it, you’ll be saving your business the cost of network downtime that may be associated with those vulnerabilities.
Preserve Your Customers and Reputation
Before vulnerabilities can cause a lag in your services, a penetration test will be useful in handling them. The test will also prevent the loss of your clients, which could result from the downtime.
Keeps Your Business in Check
A regular pentest will help ensure that your business complies with requirements, standards, and regulations. A proper Pentest ensures that your business does not fall short of provisions like the PCI, NERC/CIP, SOX, and ISO.
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