Have you ever heard of pen testing? It’s a type of cyber-security testing that is used to test a computer network for vulnerabilities. It looks for things like weak passwords, outdated software, and other flaws that can allow attackers to gain access to your network.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can perform a pen test of your network today, and what you can do to make sure your network is secure.

So, if you’re wondering what pen testing is, read on.

What Is A Penetration Test?

In the case of pen testing, an authorized cyberattack is carried out on a computer network with the purpose of evaluating the security of the network in question, in contrast to vulnerability assessments, which evaluate vulnerabilities.

Depending on the type of activity approved, a pen test may have different goals. The strategy to mitigate exploitable vulnerabilities is to try to find them and tell the client, as this is the best way to identify weak spots.

Testing by penetration is an intensive and invasive procedure. To get as much actionable information as possible, you need to test the entirety of your perimeter. 

Physical and technical security controls may be applied during penetration testing on hardware, software, or firmware components. The process usually involves a preliminary assessment based on the target system, followed by a pretest for identification of potential vulnerabilities. An analysis of the identified vulnerabilities may help determine which vulnerabilities are exploited and which are not.

A set of rules must be agreed upon by both parties before tests may begin. Then, the network needs to be tested.

What Are The Types Of Penetration Testing?

Different penetration tests come in different shapes and forms. They are not all the same and cannot be compared. 

Web application pen tests, cloud penetration tests, physical penetration tests, external networks pen tests, online websites pen tests, network security penetration tests and internal networks pen tests are just a few of the types of penetration tests. 

A penetration test can give you a better understanding of how secure your organization is. 

During a network security assessment, you can determine the level of security your network’s access points provide as well as how easily hackers could access your sensitive information and systems.

Network Service Penetration Testing 

The objective of a network penetration test is to identify potential vulnerabilities within your entire network.

Testing entails identifying any loose strings that can be exploited by hackers and then closing them.

By creating a simulation that mimics the real-world reality of a hacking attack, you can demonstrate real-world vulnerabilities through which hackers may be able to gain access to data or take control of your system. Your team can use the discovery process to find better ways of protecting private data and preventing system attacks.

Web Application Penetration Testing

Developing software for web applications and configuring them properly requires a greater amount of internet resources due to their expansion. In addition, this also presents a significant new attack vector for hackers, especially since some web applications can contain sensitive information.

Penetrating web applications involves gathering information about the target system, finding vulnerabilities, and exploiting them. This web application will be compromised to the fullest extent possible.

Social Engineering Penetration Testing 

No matter how you slice it, your employees are the single biggest security risk to your organization. According to Security Magazine:

It is easier and far more profitable for cybercriminals to send fraudulent emails, steal credentials, and upload malicious attachments to cloud applications than to create an expensive exploit that has a very high probability of failing. Cyberattacks rely heavily on human interaction to succeed, making end users the last line of defense.

All of your efforts will be in vain if you do not involve your employees in improving your security. 

Physical Penetration Testing 

Penetration tests are physical simulations of old-style ways to breach security.

Pen testers try to breach physical security barriers and gain access to your organization’s security systems, infrastructure, or buildings. During this test, you’ll be tested on your various physical controls.

In spite of the fact that this is often overlooked, a hacker could easily access your network if they can get past your security and access your server room. As such, it’s important that you protect the physical perimeter of your company the same way you protect the cybersecurity perimeter.

Wireless Penetration Testing

During a WiFi pen test, your network is examined for any and all security vulnerabilities. During this course, you’ll learn what networks exist, what devices are connected to them, and how robust their security is.

What Are The Advantages Of Penetration Testing?

There are many different advantages to performing a penetration test, while these aren’t entirely inclusive and there are a lot not covered here, these are among some of our favourite benefits.

Discover vulnerabilities

System or application penetration testing examines the weaknesses in your system or application’s configuration and network infrastructure. During penetration testing, you can even learn about a staff member’s habits and actions that can make data breaches or malicious intrusions more likely. 

The final report is meant to let you know what vulnerabilities your company has so you can consider what improvements you should make in your software and hardware, or what policies and procedures could help increase security.

Show real risks

A penetration tester attempts to exploit vulnerabilities found in a system. You can therefore explore what an attacker might do in reality. Operation system commands might also be executed and sensitive data might be accessed. 

It’s also possible they will tell you that a vulnerability that appears to be very high on the list of potential risks might not actually be that much of a risk because it is so hard to exploit. That type of analysis can only be performed by a specialist.

Test your cyber-defence capability

In order to defend against attacks, you should be able to detect them quickly and react appropriately. Whenever you notice an intrusion, you need to start investigating, locate and block the intruders. 

Your protection strategy is being tested by malicious parties or experts. You’ll learn what you’ll need to do to improve your defence based on the feedback you receive from the test.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Penetration Testing?

While there’s plenty of advantages to performing a penetration test, there are also some disadvantages which may or may not affect your business or the reporting being provided for the test, some of these are as follows.

If performed incorrectly they can cause damage

Tests that are not done properly can crash servers, expose sensitive data, corrupt crucial production data, or cause a host of other adverse effects associated with mimicking a criminal hack.

You need to be able to trust who is performing the tests

The purpose of penetration testing is to invite someone to break into your system, so you must trust that they will not abuse their skill set and knowledge.

In the event that they are not hired by someone you trust, your security attempts may backfire spectacularly.

Results can be misleading if test conditions not set realistically

The organisation appears stronger than it really is since employees are likely to prepare for a test they know is going to happen.

There is no warning ahead of a genuine attack, and attackers are notoriously creative and hard to plan for.

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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