The safety of sensitive information is very important in any business. Penetration tests are run to ensure the security of your confidential data.
Penetration testing is the process of using an authorized threat to test a computer infrastructure by an expert. The test is in the form of a cyber-attack and is used to check for vulnerabilities in a network or computer system. It is also colloquially referred to as, pen test or ethical hacking.
In this article, we will educate you on all you need to know about penetration testing and why you need it for your business.
The Penetration Test Process
The process involves, defining the aim of the test and defining the systems to be tested. Information about the system is gathered to better understand how the system works and the areas with the highest rate of the vulnerability of security. The vulnerabilities are then identified and exploited. Afterwards, reporting is done and resolutions are made on how to make the system stronger. A retest is then done to ensure the measures taken were successful.
The main objective of the pen test is to assess for cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your system or network provided. It also checks what a successful hacker who manages to exploit your system might gain. Pen tests are beneficial because they ensure that your system, network, or software in question is secure and all the information is safe and confidential.
Manual and Automatic Pen Tests
Pen tests can be manual or automatic. In an automatic test, we install a device on the network or system so it can gather information. After some time, the device is checked and shows all the security weaknesses available.
Manual testing involves an expert who scans the system and uses different software tools to test the system’s vulnerability.
The report given after the test should be very comprehensive. Therefore, the report we give involves an executive summary for strategic direction, a walkthrough of the accurate technical risks discovered, a potential impact in case of a breach in the security, and in the end, we give solutions to solve the vulnerabilities.
Areas Engaged in Pen Tests
There are different penetration types based on your needs. We have discussed them below:
- Network services
This test involves assessing for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the network of your organization.
- Web application
It analyses for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in all web-based applications. Since it is more detailed and thorough it may require longer periods for the test to be correctly done.
- Client side
This test is suitable for your employee’s computer. It is done on software that can be manipulated easily and is frequently used by the client.
This test involves testing wireless devices such as phones and tablets. The device used for this testing has to be close to the items being tested and therefore the tester has to be within your organization.
- Social engineering
This involves trying to acquire sensitive information by tricking the employee of the corporation. It can be done through remote testing which involves using electronics by sending links and campaigns or physically through dumpster diving, impersonation, or phone calls.
Using the above-discussed techniques, professionals can assess threats in all areas to ensure the total safety of sensitive data in your organization.
Types of penetration tests
Discussed below are the penetration test you can use to effectively conduct pen tests:
Black box test
This is where the penetration tester is not given any information about the system or its structure, they, therefore, go all out by trying any possible way an attack can be conducted. This process usually takes longer periods since it mostly relies on guesswork. Hence it is also known as the “trial and error” approach.
White box test
This is the opposite of the black box test. Here the penetration tester knows everything about the IT infrastructure involved. It, therefore, makes it easier and quicker to analyze for vulnerabilities. Since all the information about the structure is available the process is more thorough. However, it may take may need more sophisticated tools since the tests have to be specified to a specific area.
Gray box test
This is a combination of the black box test and the white box test. Here the penetration tester has partial information regarding the system. Usually, all they have is the software code and the system architecture diagrams. The tester can apply both automatic and manual methods to conduct this test. They, therefore, start by focusing on the areas they know about as they exploit for weaknesses. From there they can move to the other areas where they know less and therefore making it easier to find the ‘security holes’.
Assessing vulnerabilities in a pen test is not an individual’s task. There are set teams that perform these tasks e.g., the red team. The red team tries to imitate an attacker’s mind and the strategies they might use in the penetration of the system. They conduct an authorized attack to assess and analyze the weaknesses of the system in your organization.
Penetration tests ensure the safety of the company’s sensitive data and eliminate all risks and threats that may arise from malicious hackers. The tests should be conducted at least annually to ensure the security management of your data. Computer security requires an expert since it is a broad field however you can always check on this website for expert advice on all things concerning computer security.