Penetration testing is the process of testing the security of computer systems to identify vulnerabilities. It’s used to find the weak spots in a computer system and improve its security.

If you’re new to the topic, you’re probably wondering: What exactly is a penetration test?

To help you understand what penetration testing is, we’ve broken it down into three parts: the process, the tools, and the skills.

In this post, we’ll go over each of these parts. We’ll also share the steps to start learning penetration testing and the best resources for learning the topic.

What Is Penetration Testing?

During a penetration test, a computer system is subjected to a comprehensive simulated attack so that its security can be evaluated. The same tools, techniques, and processes that attackers use to discover and demonstrate the business impacts of weaknesses in your systems are used by penetration testers.

During penetration tests, a variety of different attacks that could threaten your business are simulated. During a pen test, a system may be examined to see if it is robust enough to withstand attacks from authenticated and unauthenticated positions. Depending on the scope of the pen test, you can probe every aspect of a system that you need to assess.

What Is Ethical Hacking?

A computer system, application, or data can be hacked ethically by gaining unauthorized access to it. The goal of ethical hacking is to imitate an attacker’s attack strategy and tactics. Security vulnerabilities are identified in this way, so they can be addressed before they can be exploited by a malicious attacker.

These assessments are conducted by ethical hackers, also called “white hats.” As part of their proactive work, they help organizations improve their security posture. A mission of ethical hacking is different from malicious hacking, since it requires the approval of the organization or owner of the IT asset.

What Are The Types Of Penetration Testing?

The goal of penetration testing is to compromise your security, identify vulnerabilities, and provide solid advice on hardening your security measures. But how well do you know about the different types of pentests?

The following are the three of the most common types of penetration tests.

Exploiting network vulnerabilities through network penetration testing

In addition to gathering intelligence, the penetration tester runs network tests. The most common penetration testing method is network testing. Hackers eliminate 90% of threat actors’ obstacles as soon as they gain access to the network.

It is possible for pentesters to exploit networks both internally and externally. Thus, they can simulate the actions of an experienced hacker who has penetrated a network defense. In this way, they can gain a more comprehensive understanding of an organization’s security posture.

Testing web applications

The majority of the top penetration testing companies all test web applications. This type of test is more intense and detailed, as well as more targeted. The scope of this type of pen testing includes web applications, browsers, and their components such as ActiveX, Applets, Plug-ins, Scriptlets.

It is important to plan this test carefully and properly invest time and effort, since this test examines the components of each web application with which a user will have to interact on a regular basis.

As web applications are becoming increasingly dangerous, the ways to test them are constantly evolving.

Tests on the client side

Tests like these are designed to detect emerging threats in the local network. It is possible, for instance, that a software application running on the user’s system has a vulnerability that can easily be exploited by hackers.

There are a variety of programs or applications such as Putty, Git clients, Sniffers and browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera), as well as content creation packages such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, and media players.

Furthermore, homegrown threats could exist as well as software from third parties. It is dangerous to use uncertified OSS (open source software) to create or extend a home-made application for a variety of reasons. The penetration testing of these locally developed tools should also include this step.

Why Do We Need Penetration Testing?

A penetration test verifies whether a system can protect its networks, applications, endpoints, and users from external or internal threats. In addition, a secure system thwarts any attempt for unauthorized access.

Several points need to be emphasized regarding penetration testing.

For example, you can use penetration testing to identify the environment in which an attacker might be able to attack a system, we can identify the weak spots in security. During penetration testing, testers can learn which parts of the application are vulnerable. It protects original data and prevents black hat attacks. 

Malicious attacks can damage critical data and lead to revenue losses as a result. Thus, it is beneficial if you can predict the potential loss of the business, which is one of the rewards you’ll receive.  Penetration testing results contribute to the improvement of existing security standards by driving investment decisions.

Should You Study Penetration Testing?

If you are considering working in security or with networking, it’s essential you study penetration testing at least a little bit.

It is widely believed that penetration testing is essential for network security, and unless you do it regularly, you will not be secure. Furthermore, you can find security experts who say penetration testing is useless; throwing your money away is a better option. It is wrong to hold either of these views. Penetrating systems are more nuanced and complicated than they appear.

Connie Cole
Connie Cole

Connie has been working within the cyber security industry for almost 10 years now, specialising in penetration testing or more specifically web application pen testing. She believes that everyone online should have access to this information and strives to provide people with the knowledge they need to begin within the industry and for others to stay safe online.

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