A pen test or penetration test is a model security breach on a software program that is designed to detect vulnerable flaws. It is used to complement a firewall of online security measures.
Pen testing is the infiltration of systems and applications, such APIs and backend servers, to find loopholes. This includes anonymized inputs that could be used to launch code injection attacks. Pen tests are used for determining whether safety protocols in an organization are effective.
Penetration testing may also be a solution to organizations’ problems in detecting and removing hackers.
The Stages of Testing for Penetration
The pen testing process can be divided into five stages.
Planning and reconnaissance
To acquire data about the system, the first step is to create an attack simulation. This is the longest step because cybersecurity professionals assess the system and identify flaws. They also evaluate how the organization’s coding standards react to software attacks.
The scanners are used by penetration testers to examine centralized network vulnerabilities. This phase identifies system flaws that could lead to cyberattacks.
After identifying security flaws in the program, pen testers attack it. They want to manipulate the system further by increasing privileges to ensure they are able to access the intended environments.
This pen test stage uses access permissions to determine the potential effects of vulnerabilities. To reproduce the malicious intruders’ goal, penetration testers must have access to the simulated attack once they are inside the network.
The results of the penetration test are then recorded in a document that details the flaws found, sensitive information that was available, and the time the penetration tester was able not to be noticed by the system. This data is used by security experts to help tune an enterprise’s WAF parameters, as well as other network security measures, to fix holes and protect against future attacks.
Types of penetration tests
These are the most commonly used penetration testing methods based on the organization’s goals.
To retrieve and obtain useful information, external penetration tests are performed on the digital assets of an organization, such as its software system, official websites and emails.
An internal penetration test involves having access to software within the firewall of an organization, often replicating a hostile insider attack. An example of this is an operator whose passwords were stolen by phishing.
Blind penetration tests are when the tester is only given the identity of the chosen organization. This gives you a realistic picture of what might happen in the event of a software invasion.
In a double-blind penetration testing, security specialists have no or little foreknowledge about the possible attack. They won’t have the time to strengthen their fortifications in time for an actual breach.
Targeted penetration testing involves security personnel and testers working together to coordinate and keep each other informed about their actions. This allows hackers to get real-time information.
Skills for a Penetration Tester
As a penetration tester, your responsibility is to attack an organization’s digital systems. This position requires creativity, problem-solving skills, analytical skills, and a good understanding of technical systems and terminology. You should also be proficient in scripting languages.
NetCom Learning makes PenTest+ certification
TheCompTIA PenTest+ certification from NetCom Learning is a valuable credential to penetration testers. You can refer to the CompTIA CySA+ training for advanced knowledge in penetration testing and learning cybersecurity incident response.