Today, however big or small, every business has a digital presence. And as we continue to embrace this digital transformation, a lurking threat often befalls those unprepared – cyber-attacks.
You will likely not find any business that does not use computers or other electronic devices connected to some network. And this means your business can be hacked. Trust us; you never want that conversation after a data breach.
Criminals are taking advantage of the daily technological advancements and are honing their skills day in and day out. For this reason, businesses also need to be ahead of the game. But how do you do that? Well, that is where penetration testing comes in! Read on to learn about the pentesting services available.
What Is Penetration Testing?
Penetration system is a common practice in the cybersecurity world, and tech companies and financial organizations spend millions on them. But what is penetration testing, and how does it contribute to a system’s security?
A penetration test, or pen test, is a cyber-security method by which organizations test their systems to find vulnerabilities in their security technology. Ethical hackers and freelancers carry these out.
Ethical hackers are experts who mimic the actions of a malicious hacker and try to breach the system. They use their skills to find and exploit any weaknesses in the system’s security and then alert the organization to close the loophole.
Organizations can also use penetration testing to see how well their employees and systems adhere to compliance regulations. Cybercrime has become a big concern, so companies have stepped up their pen testing and security systems.
Pen testing is a proactive cyber security measure that involves consistent internal improvements to make the network more secure. This prevents issues rather than nonproactive approaches that might not prevent problems; only correct them after they are an issue.
An example of a nonproactive approach is a company updating its security after a data breach. Proactive measures like pen testing will minimize the number of upgrades while maximizing security.
What Are The Stages Of Pen Testing?
Pen testing is a complicated procedure since there might be tests for different aspects of the system. It could be hardware, software, and sometimes the human element. Regardless of what the testing targets, you can look at it in the following six stages;
1. Planning and system mapping
Ethical hackers will gather information about the system from public and private sources, just like a hacker would. They might use social engineering, incognito searches, nonintrusive vulnerability, and network scanning.
A hacker might get information on the network’s domain and employees to understand the company. This information is essential to the tester as it gives them an outline of an organization’s security to find potential weaknesses.
They can spot issues in the Operating System details, open access points and ports, faulty network components, or reckless employees. They will then find the best ways to exploit these weaknesses and potentially get into the system.
Testers will use the initial test results to buckle down and further explore the potential vulnerabilities they found when planning. They will use port scanners, war dialers, network mappers, and security vulnerability scanners to find loopholes.
They will find all the potential loopholes and shortlist them so they have the best attack plan for each one.
3. Breaching the System
Testers will go through their list of vulnerabilities and throw everything at it to breach the system. They will attempt various attacks, including SQL injections, denial of service attacks, session hijacking, or cross-site scripting.
They will also look for vulnerabilities and backdoors that give them internal system controls. Some of the attacks will work, and they will gain access to the system and its data. If they can’t find it, another group will try and see if they can get vulnerabilities.
4. Damage Estimation
In this stage, the tester tries to stay in the target system for as long as possible and cause as much damage as possible. They will download data, exploit other systems, compromise data, and show internal weaknesses.
This imitates a persistent threat that can stay in a system for a long time and steal data. It helps an organization create ways of shutting the attack down and keeping data from leaking.
5. Vulnerability Analysis
The hackers will analyze everything they gathered in their pen test and compile it in a report. The report will outline each step of the system and the vulnerabilities the tester used to gain access. It will also show the data they got from the system and how long they stayed there.
6. Cleaning and Upgrading
After the testing, hackers will remove all the tools and processes they used in their tests. This will keep a real-world threat from using them to gain access. The organization will start mediating any issues it finds in its security infrastructure to prevent attacks.
Why Is Penetration Testing Important In Modern Technology Security?
Penetration testing is tedious and expensive, so you might wonder why companies go through it. Cyber security is becoming more critical, and pen testing has a huge role. Here are the most important reasons for pen testing;
It Helps Organizations Prepare For Attacks
Pen testing allows the employees at an organization to learn how to handle any hacks or malicious software.
Pen tests will assess an organization’s security policies to determine their effectiveness against real threats. This makes it easier to find solutions that will prevent real attacks.
It Helps Identify Risks In The Organization
Penetration checks for and exploits all the possible points an organization can be hacked. This shows the most at-risk parts of the system, and the organization can vamp up its security measures.
Pen Testing Helps Developers Make Fewer Errors
Developers will learn how malicious entities compromise their code and their work’s weaknesses. This will make them know a bit more about security, and they will not make similar mistakes in the future.
Pen testing is an essential cyber security practice that helps organizations prevent malicious attacks. It has a dynamic role in modern technology, and as more of our lives move online, there is an increasing need for good cyber security.
Pen testing is like a fire drill that teaches organizations to handle breaches and limit their effects. This ensures data safety and helps the programmers improve their skills for future projects.