Network Penetration Testing – All You Need to Know!

Network penetration testing which is also called ‘pen testing’ is an important process related to finding weaknesses in networks and protecting them from hackers.
It is basically a kind of practice of testing a computer system, network or web application in order to find weaknesses as well as security vulnerabilities.
Overview of Network Penetration testing
When it comes to a network system, Many hardware and software system has to work harmoniously to make sure that data transfer is happening with no trouble. Owing to the same, there is a huge chance of vulnerabilities being exploited by hackers. To make sure that there is no loose end in a network system, penetration testing can be performed.

  • Performance testing  can reveal a security flaw in any particular network environment
  • Helps in understanding the risk
  • Can be used to fix network flaws

Methods of Network Penetration Testing:
In order to execute network penetration testing, two distinctly different methods are generally applied.
They are,

  • Internal network penetration testing
  • External network penetration testing

It is very important to know the differences between these two different kinds of network penetration testing for executing these effectively.
Why Should I Conduct A Network Penetration Testing?

  • All the vulnerabilities that can be used by hackers against you can be found out.
  • Recovery costs after hacking is

Internal Network Penetration Testing
Internal network penetration testing is a kind of test that is used to find out issues from the inside.
Here, a consultant is placed within the corporate environment and connected to the internal network.
Internal network penetration testing is more important than the external.
It is because the attack from the inside can do greater damage compared to an external attack.
In the case of an internal attack, some of the protection systems have already been bypassed and the person on the inside understands where the network is located and the person knows very well what to do right from the beginning.
The threat is more intensive in the case of an internal attack and that makes it different from the external network penetration testing.
External Network Penetration Testing
An external penetration test is completely different from the internal network penetration test as here the consultant is not connected to the internal network.
In this case, a consultant is placed in order to look for the security issues from the outside of the network over the public internet.
External penetration testing has been being used for a long time and therefore it is also called the traditional form of penetration testing.
In order to make out the ability of an intruder to the internal network of a computer system, this kind of penetration testing is designed.
There are many different methods which are used in this form of testing. One of the important methods is to use a web app or application.
It may be vulnerable or it might trick a user of the system into providing their important information like their password.
It may also provide access to the VPN (Virtual Private Network) and consequently, someone from the outside can get the full access and the black hat hackers can do anything with the network staying outside.

Internal and External Penetration Testing Tools:

Generally, automated tools are used in internal as well as external penetration testing in order to identify malicious codes.
Basically, these penetration testing tools can identify hard-coded values like usernames and passwords and thus verify vulnerabilities in the system.
There are some characteristics of these tools which are mentioned below:

  • Tools should be easy to use and configure
  • It should scan a system without any issue
  • Tools should categorize the vulnerabilities depending upon its intensity
  • It should re-verify the previous vulnerabilities or exploits
  • It should generate detailed vulnerability reports and logs

There are many free penetration testing tools available on the internet and it enables the pen testers to adapt or modify the codes depending upon their own needs.
Some most widely used free pen-testing tools are mentioned below:

  • The Metasploit Project (an open-source project owned by Rapid7, a security company)
  • Nmap or Network Mapper
  • Wireshark

The interesting thing is that both white hats and black hats can use these tools as these are free.
But, these tools also help the pen testers to understand the functionality of these tools in a better way and they also make out how these tools can be driven against their organizations.
Internal and External Penetration testing strategies:
There are some strategies used by the pen testers mentioned below:

  •    External testing

External testing is executed to find out how far an outside attacker can get in after gaining full access.
Generally, a company’s external servers like domain name servers, email servers are tested through this testing.

  •   Internal testing

Internal testing simulates an inside attack that is performed by an authorized user and this kind of test is executed to find out how far an intruder can damage a system if he or she is connected to the internal network.
However, there are many other strategies like blind testing, black-box testing, white-box testing but, among those the strategies mentioned above are commonly used.
In conclusion, it may be remarked the results of internal and external penetration testing can give a perfect picture of the security of a system.
These tests are very useful in order to get rid of the weaknesses as the reports related to these tests provide accurate suggestions. Though it is difficult to make a system invulnerable, these tests are still useful to cut down the threats.

Thoughts on Penetration Testing Must Die or Evolve

Penetration Testing, commonly called as Pen Test, is a testing strategy to evaluate the security of a system. The test is conducted to zero-in on the weaknesses (also called as vulnerabilities) and strengths of the security system that are already in place. It is a simulating test that is performed on the system to check the risk factors that will expose the system to an unauthorized breach of security.
app testing
There will be instances when unwarranted parties gain access to your system, trespassing your security levels. Penetration Testing, true to its name thus allows a complete assessment of risk factors that can cause malicious entities to infiltrate into your standard security borders.
The Significance of 2009
Security experts across the globe identify Pen Test as an essential tool offering an in-depth defense mechanism to systems and networks. However, in 2009, there was a notion amongst the technology spheres that Pen Test is heading to its natural death.
You will agree with the fact that every software version that is high-tech will soon be replaced by its successor version, paving the way for better and updated versions. So is the case with Pen Test that will prompt the release of updated versions; may be in principle than in practice.
But there’s good news, just around the corner.
And that is:
Pen Test will soon die but will come back as something better. So what is the fate of Pen Testers, you may ask. This phenomenon does not lead to the global unemployment of pen testers but will only make these testers less favorable to companies and businesses.
The Premise behind the Death of Pen Test
Investing in prevention is always better than spending on diagnosis. This principle can be applied to the concept of Pen Test. When businesses begin to invest more in trying to prevent the occurrence of security breaches, they will save monies spent on diagnosing problems.  Hence, businesses are on the lookout for tools that can prevent security breaches than to invest in tools that are exclusively ordained to identify weaknesses that are already existing in the system.
Voicing the Thoughts of Experts Concerning the Evolution or the Obliteration of Penetration Testing
Brian Chess, the SVP of Infrastructure and Security Engineering attached to cloud operations at NetSuite came up with three thoughts that throw light on the controversial topic whether Pen Test is on the brink of evolution or is all set to face extinction.
Enlisting three opinions in verbatim that were expressed by him, every thought comes with an interpretation that explains the thought in a manner that is significant to you and your business.
Thought 1:
“People are now spending more money on getting code right in the first place than they are on proving it is wrong. However, this does not signal the end of the road for penetration testing, nor should it, but it does change things. Rather than being a standalone product, it is going to be more like a product feature. Penetration testing is going to cease being an end unto itself and re-emerge as part of a more comprehensive security solution.”
An Interpretation of the Thought
A noticeable tendency amongst businesses and technology decision makers is that investments are being made in the direction of acquiring error-free code rather than to unveil its weaknesses and errors. While this change does not sound the death knell for penetration testing, an imminent change is just around the corner. These variations can be witnessed in the form of a re-emerging technology that will lead to the implementation of an “all-inclusive” security solution.
Thought 2:
“2009 will be the year this strategy comes together, and when we look back, it will be the year when most of the world began thinking about penetration testing as part of a larger offering.”
An Interpretation of the Thought
The year 2009 will become an observer to this transformation and when businesses look back, this will be the time when penetration testing will become a significant part of a bigger picture. This concept of testing will emerge as a novel means to secure your business operations; as the days pass.
Thought 3:
“More than ever before, people understand the software security challenge, and penetration testing deserves credit for helping spread the word. But knowing a security problem exists is not the same as knowing how to fix it. In other words, penetration testing is good for finding the problem but does not help in finding the solution – and that is why it must take a long hard look at itself and then make a change. Just like the venerable spell-checker, it is going to die and come back in a less distinct but more pervasive form and I, for one, cannot wait.”
An Interpretation of the Thought
Earlier, people and businesses were of the opinion that challenges in software security and penetration testing were the two parameters that have made the most noise for the world to acknowledge and react to. However, getting to know the existence of a security problem cannot be seen in the same light as knowing how to resolve it.
That means, Pen Test is a good tool to identify the problem but fails to resolve it. This basic premise of Pen Test is what makes it vulnerable to change. And the change here does not mean its complete extinction but a chance to bounce back as a better and pervasive version that everyone concerned is looking forward to.
What’s In Store for Penetration Testers?
With so many changes prompting the evolution of Pen Test, it pays to spare a thought about the future of Penetration Testers; the human resources that are ordained to secure your systems.
Penetration Testers are professionals who should handhold companies by suggesting ways to address security issues. They will have to work in tandem with the recommendations of customers and offer ways to fix security lapses or issues that may jeopardize the safety of your systems and networks.
This having said, Penetration Testers will scrutinize the code and may demand a “recoding”, asking the developers to come up with a code that will not only identify an issue but also address it. This evolution with regard to Penetration Testing will call for a paradigm shift in how businesses will operate.
A multi-faceted approach will come to light when organizations will be prompted to consider various parameters to finally tread the path of least resistance. This practice will be in contrast to relying on pen testing to test one part of the network, another part of the web application and some other segment of the physical security.
There will come a time when businesses will pay attention to all those factors that influence their revenues. In that context, they will look out for ways and means to test all those parameters simultaneously, creating a situation of “full scope Pen Testing”. This should be the most objective way of looking at things as far as Penetration Testing is concerned.
As Things Stand Now, What Is In store for Pen Testing?
Keeping in mind the constantly changing methods of penetration testing, it is important to be notified of its latest trends. Hackers who exploit the loop holes in testing practices will find novel ways of hacking your data. It is hence the need of the hour for organizations to perform penetration tests, through pen testers who will be directed to actually think the way the hackers think; especially when you are updating your software.
When this practice is followed, you will be able to detect any vulnerability that might cause a security breach.
The three pointers that determine penetration testing are concerned about:

  1. Protection
  2. Detection
  3. Response

For your system to demonstrate a high level of data security, it is essential that you have all the above mentioned pointers in place.
Currently, most of the organizations are incorporating pen testing as a significant part of their business maintenance plan with the IT heads banking on the suggestions offered by Information Security Experts. This has led to performing regular pen tests as part of compliance audits with pen testers making the most of automated and manual techniques teamed with testing tools that will be able to detect weak links in IT infrastructure.
And when all the loopholes are plugged with pen testing practices, you will be able to secure your data effectively, thus nipping the chances of a security breach in its bud itself. Without getting bogged down by the thought that the concept of Pen Test is nearing extinction, it pays to look at this change as a positive transformation that will fuel the advancement of novel ways to secure your networks and systems.

What’s penetration testing? How’s it done?

If it is your dream to secure your systems and data from security breaches and data threats, you should look into the inclusion of  Penetration Testing as part of your information security program. A Pen Test can make this dream a reality provided you are well versed with the most frequently posed “How’s” and “What’s”.
app testing
What’s Penetration testing?
As you have already understood, Penetration Testing offers a complete analysis of threats and vulnerabilities that will adversely impact your systems. To move on with this testing procedure, you should be informed about what’s in store for you.
Let us now move on to the section which helps you understand the three variations of a Pen Test.
Why does your company need penetration testing?
You might have come across many news regarding cyberattacks that have happened all over the world. In most cases, exploitation of loose ends is the main cause behind such attacks.
The reason does not end there,

  • There is a financial and critical data transfer frequently
  • To secure user data
  • You have deployed a system and not aware if there is any vulnerability in it
  • To asses the business impact and to device risk mitigation
  • To check whether the company is complying with information security regulations.
  • To implement an effective security strategy

Types of pen testing 

  • External Pen Test

True to its name, an External Pen Test is a testing procedure that focuses on testing publicly exposed systems, by getting into the shoes of a hacker. Applying the mind of a hacker, an external pen tester will be able to uncover all those scenarios that will provide external entities to gain access to your internal systems by breaching security firewalls.

  • Internal Pen Test

As the name suggests, an Internal Pen Test focuses on all the systems that are internally connected. As an internal pen tester, you will be ordained to assess the security of internal systems that are remotely being operated by an external hacker or attacker. The internal pen test is conducted to check whether the security of your internal system is compromised when intruders can get past your internal perimeter barricades.

  • Hybrid Pen Test

The third variant is a mix of internal and external pen tests. Presenting a blended means to outsmart complex and modern data attacks, you can secure your systems in a novel way. All set to safeguard your internal and external systems, a Hybrid Pen Test helps you shield your systems from remote and local infiltrations.

  • Social Engineering Test

it’s a tricky kind of assessment where an individual will be subjected to elements that can make him reveal sensitive data. For instance, an employee will be sent a tempting email which will have a phishing link

  • Physical penetration testing

Physical devices such as USB sticks will be injected into the system to find out the reaction. It’s usually performed in top-secret facilities such as the military.

  • Network Services Test

It’s a kind of log that’s used to find out entry points and exit points in a network system.
The Span of Control of a Pen Test
Termed as a rigorous form of testing, a pen test analyses the security and stability of your entire infrastructure. Penetration Testers analyze each and every access layer, application, system, and network. These are professionals who are adept at reviewing the code of a front-end web application to bring out the possibilities of a cyber-attack on your network.
In a nutshell, a pen test helps you uncover the following vulnerabilities:

  • Checks how well your information infrastructure and networks are protected
  • The potential risks that your business is running into
  • The level of dependability of your current security solutions along with the provision that is in place to counter and prevent external intrusions
  • Ideation of measures to strengthen and improve your web protection and security systems to minimize risks

Who are Pen Testers? – Technical Experts Who Shield Your Systems from Cyber Attacks
It is interesting to note that pen testers possess the same level of knowledge and skill as that of a hacker. A pen tester is always simulating the real-world attack that has the power to throw your cyber-security norms to the winds. Such activity comes with an underlying disruption that can well be handled by a good pentester.
A pen tester with recognized technical knowledge and expertise can become an invaluable asset to organizations looking to protect their systems from cyber-attacks. He/she will not only record inferences in the form of vulnerabilities that are identified but will also handhold your customers to identify such instances. Ordained to provide you with a holistic security evaluation of your systems, a good pen tester helps you know your environment better.
How is Penetration Testing Carried Out?
There are two main types of testing approaches that are employed by Pen Testers. They are:

  1. Black Box Testing

External pen testers who do not have any knowledge of their target network will get to assess your system. True to its name, black box testing is like shooting an arrow into a dark room without being informed of its internal arrangement.  That means pen testers ordained to perform black-box testing don the hat of external hackers.
They operate as outsiders who are restricted to even get a peek into the internal technologies that are currently in use. This testing approach goes a long way to evaluate the response of your IT department team and the measures it will take to counter an infiltration or security breach.

  1. White Box Testing

As a sharp contrast to what happens in Black Box Testing, White Box Testing is conducted by pen testers and security auditors who are thoroughly informed about each and every facet of their target network. The comprehensive information is made available to pen testers in the form of IP addresses, the versions of the operating system and application source codes along with the network topology.
Allowing auditors to enjoy full visibility of your internal infrastructure supported by internal technologies, White Box Testing demands the coordination between the audit team and your internal security teams.

  1. Gray Box Testing

Balancing the extremes of White Box Testing and White Box Testing, Gray Box Testing is an approach that enables security auditors to work around some information and knowledge about your internal infrastructure. This is an approach that not only unveils vulnerabilities but also helps you identify weaknesses.
Is the Time Ripe for a Pen Test?
After assimilating information about the various facets of Penetration Testing, you have now come to the juncture of making a well-informed decision as to when to conduct a Pen Test. Scheduling a Pen Test at the right time is an important parameter that will go a long way in managing a security plan that is tightened with stringent counterattack mechanisms.
The biggest mistake committed by organizations is to conduct a pen test too early.
Hence you should now delve deep into the chronology of the testing process and perform a pen test at a time when you can powerfully test your security defenses.
Different Phases of the Security Assessment/ penetration testing process
1) Audit: Audit is the first step a security auditor takes as part of his security assessment responsibilities. He/she will start off by gathering basic details about the various processes and their implementations that are routinely practiced in your company.
Performing a system audit, auditors come up with a better understanding of the standards and quality of various technical measures that are undertaken along with uncovering situations that can be improved.
He/she will look into aspects concerning automated security patching, system hardening and checking the capabilities of your system to detect intrusions. All in all, a system audit focuses on checking whether the right procedures are implemented.
2) Vulnerability Management: This is the next phase of pen testing which looks into the effective management of vulnerabilities after ensuring that the right security measures are in place. Under this head, the system software is subjected to a number of vulnerability scans. This is done to plug the innumerable compromises that arise primarily because of coding issues. Checking into the type of software that is being used, vulnerability management is also concerned about uncovering the potent areas where software can be exploited.
3) Pen Testing:  Once you check whether the right procedures are in place along with an in-depth scan of your technical environment, it is time you move on to conducting Pen Testing. It is only when the above two steps are completed that you will derive the best out of a Pen Test.
The time is now ripe for pen testers to enter the testing field. Pen Testers will now take on the mantle of external auditors, performing real and simulated attacks on your environment. They will then be able to uncover the potent security leaks that will attract the attention of hackers who are eyeing to make good through security breaches.
4) Report of your Security Plan: The summary of all the inferences obtained by pen testers is presented in the form of a Penetration Test Report. The Penetration Test Report comes as a barometer to assess the prevailing situation of your security systems.
Accounting all the weaknesses that were discovered by pen testers, you can also lay hands on the comprehensive description of the various testing methodologies that are currently in vogue.
Top 15 Penetration testing tool

  1. IndusFace
  2. Spyse
  3. Metasploit
  4. Intruder
  5. W3af
  6. Kali Linux
  7. Nessus
  8. Cain and Abel
  9. Burpsuite
  10. Core Impact
  11. Netsparker
  12. Canvas
  13. SqlMap
  14. John the Ripper

Given the fact that security is a constant concern to meet your organizational goals, it pays to look into the various aspects of Penetration Testing to ensure the implementation of the basic security plan. Once this is done, pen testers step into the ground, unveiling flaws that were masked and missed out earlier.
This way, Pen Testing comes across as a potent security testing tool that guarantees uninterrupted management and improvement of your security measures. All in all, a Pen Test comes as a relevant tool to safeguard your system from malicious cyber-attacks.

Penetration Testing Tutorial: Stages, Types, Methods & Tools

Penetration testing or also known as pen testing is the process of simulating real attacks on systems or networks to access the risks associated with potential security breaches. During pen test, testers not only discover vulnerabilities but also exploit them.
app testing
Pen testing is mainly attempting to breach any application systems, protocol interface etc. to uncover vulnerabilities, such as codes that are susceptible to attacks. Penetration testing which is generally ethical hacking is a necessary in-demand skill for testing an organization’s defense systems.
Why do we need to perform Pen Testing:

  • To uncover the critical vulnerabilities within your network systems
  • It can provide an overview of an organization’s exploitable vulnerabilities and include recommendations on how you can optimize the protection levels
  • Reveal problems that were not known
  • Prevent business interruptions, loss and protect brand image
  • Find both known and unknown hardware/software flaws which can be identified and fixed using automated tools
  • Assess and validate the efficacy of an organization’s defensive mechanisms

Stages of Penetration Testing:
As penetration testing is very much technical and complicated, it needs to be split into different stages. Lets take a brief look:
1)  Planning & Setting your Goal: In this phase, you define the scope and goal of the test to be carried out including, addressing the system on which the test is performed and finalising the steps for the test. You need to also understand and gain knowledge about the network, domains and the server to identify how the target works on potential vulnerabilities.
mobile app
2) Scanning Phase: During this phase, it becomes clear to the tester that how the target app will respond to the intrusion attempts. This is basically done in 2 ways:

  1. Static Analysis: Inspect an app’s code to see how it performs in a running state
  2. Dynamic Analysis: Provides a real-time view of how an app performs

3) Selection of Proper Pen-testing tools: Choosing the right tool, requires mere intelligence, a little bit of luck and lot of patience. Rather than just going for quality and checking whether it fits to your job, its essential to note that it doesn’t contain any sort of malware or codes that could in-turn hack the tester.
There are plenty of tools available online for free but note to double check as most of them may contain malware and mostly undocumented back doors. But the best pen testers always go for their own written codes and tools as they don’t trust on free sources.
Eg: Nmap, Aircrack-ng, Wifiphisher, Burp Suite, OWASP ZAP etc.
4) Gaining Access: This stage is basically about using web apps like SQL injections, cross-site scripting, back doors etc. to uncover the target vulnerabilities. Once the vulnerabilities are found, testers try to solve them by intercepting traffic, escalating privileges or by stealing data.
5) Maintaining the Access: In this stage, the pen tester tests whether the vulnerability can be used to achieve a persistent presence in the exploited system. This is done to imitate the advanced persistent threats that remain for months or even years in a system to steal the most sensitive data from an organization.
6) Analysing the System: The results like the number of vulnerabilities exploited, the intensity of the sensitive data that could have been accessed and the total time the pen tester could spend within a network system without being detected is checked and documented.
Types of Penetration Testing
The type of penetration testing generally depends upon the scope of the goal to be attained or the testing is simulated against the employee, internal resources or external sources. On the basis of this, penetration testing is mainly of 3 types:

  • Black Box Testing: In this case, the tester needs to collect all information regarding the system before he/she starts working
  • White Box Testing: Here, the pen tester is provided with almost all details regarding the system such as IP addresses, source codes, OS details etc.
  • Grey Box Testing: In this, the tester is provided with partial knowledge about the system

Penetration Testing Methods
By analysing different methods of attacks that might affect an organization, there might be different methods of penetration testing:
1) External Testing: This targets the assets of an organization that is visible on the internet. So the main aim is to gain access and also extra valuable data.
2) Internal Testing: Here, the tester with the access to an app behind its firewall is simulated by an attack by the malicious insider.
3) Blind Testing: In this case, the pen tester is only given the name of the organization, so that the system security personal gets a real-time look at how actual app assault happens.
4) Double Blind Testing: In this type of attack, the security personal within the organization would have no idea regarding the assault same as like it happens in real attempted breaches.
5) Targeted Testing: In this testing, the pen tester and the security personal both work together regarding the vulnerabilities. This is quite a valuable method as it offers instant suggestions from the hackers point of view.
Penetration Testing Tools
Penetration testing is the process which is undertaken by testers to find vulnerabilities in your systems before the attackers intrude in. The different pen test tools can be broken down into major categories like:
1) Port Scanners: Tools in this category typically gather information and personal data about a specific target from a remote environment.
2) Vulnerability Scanner: These tools are used to find if there is any known vulnerabilities in the targeted system.  This is again subdivided to:

  • Host-based
  • Network based

3)  Application Scanner: These type of tools checks in for any type of weakness within the web-application (eg: Ecommerce apps)
Below we have listed a few tools that can be used for simple assessments or even complex tasks in which some are got for free and some require licence payments.
1) Aircrack-ng: This is a full suite of wireless assessment tool that covers attacking(cracking WAP & WEP) and packet capture.
2) SQLmap: This is an automated SQL injection and database tool common and widely used in platforms -MSSQL, MySQL, Access, PostgreSQL, SQLite etc.
3) THC-Hydra: It is generally known to be a network login cracker that supports several services and it isn’t very complex to handle.
4) Metaspoilt: One of the most popular and advanced framework that is based on the concept of ‘exploit’ that is you pass on a code that cause breaches and enter the system.
 5) Nessus vulnerability scanner: This is one of the most commonly used pen tool worldwide to identify vulnerabilities, malware that attackers use against your system and even policy violating configurations.
 6) WireShark: Also known as Ethereal, this is a network analysis tool that captures packet in real time and displays the results in human readable format codes.
automation testing
As high-profile data breaches continue to dominate the headlines, the attitude of enterprises towards cyber security have also started shifting. As a result, there is an increased focus on detection and remediation strategies today. But, sophisticated security strategies only work out if the process, technology and people put in their inputs together to test and identify whether there is any weaknesses left open.

How Important is Penetration Testing to Network Security

Penetration testing can create wonders for upcoming enterprises if they come up with the right solution according to the demands and blend them with the automated testing method for security expert analysis.
app testing
Penetration testing services is not just about jumping into the network security by running different steps at random, but it is about creating an organized, step by step plan that details on what, when, and how exactly are you going to do things.
How Important is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing is an essential process that needs to be performed on a regular basis in every organization to secure the network system. Penetration testing is of different types, which include:

  • Network Penetration Testing
  • Application Penetration Testing
  • Wireless Penetration Testing
  • Infrastructure Penetration Testing

But the main problem is that many of us will have a misconception that once penetration testing is done, their systems are safe forever. Such people will never get the real benefits of this process until they follow the method regularly and will practically have to face disappointing outcomes in the future.
The need for conducting a penetration test varies according to businesses as they all work in a different way. However, the question is, what are the main benefits that a company gets from penetration testing and here we have listed a few:

  1. Manage the Risk Factors

One of the most important benefits of pen testing or penetration testing is that it will provide you the baseline to work with the risk factors in a structured and optimal way. In this testing, the number of vulnerabilities is listed out, which is found in the target environment and also the risk factors associated with it. At first, the sequence with the highest risk is tackled and then followed to the lower ones.

  1. Increase the Business Continuity

Business continuity is the main aim for every organization and any hurdles to this can cause a huge loss to the entire company. A breakdown in business continuity can be due to many reasons and lack of security loopholes can be one of them.
If your systems are insecure, then it might suffer more breaches. It is always important to set a stronger encryption to avoid MITM (Man In The Middle) attacks. This is because, even hackers are hired today by the rivals to stop business continuity by exploiting the vulnerabilities of the competitors to gain access to their network and also create a denial of service condition, which causes a crash in the working of the company.
3. Evaluate Security Investment
Penetration testing provides an opportunity to know about the current situation of a company and analyse the existing potential breach points. It gives us a clear idea about the entire security system and helps us to ensure whether the configuration system management has been followed properly within the company.
Such type of testing methods helps to evaluate the security investments, that is the total investment required to secure the entire network systems, what is needed, what works properly, and what does not work properly.
4. Protect your Clients, Projects or Third Parties
A vulnerability that attacks a company not only causes problems to themselves, but also to their clients, third parties and even the projects a company is handling with. However, if a company performs penetration testing regularly and takes necessary actions for security, then it will help others to have trust and confidence in that organization.
automation testing
5. Guard Reputation of the Company and Maintain Public Relationships
A good public relationship and reputation are built by a company through years of struggle, regular hard work, and a large amount of investment. Even a small security issue or vulnerability attack can cause major damage to their reputation in public.
6. Help any sort of Financial Damage and avoid Fines
Simple unnoticed breaches can cause a great loss to the financial support of the company and systematic penetration testing can help you protect your organizations. Such testing keeps the major activities updated within the auditing system, which can avoid fines in the future.
7. Helps to keep a Check on Cyber Defence Capability
During the process of penetration testing, the target company should be able to identify multiple attacks and should be able to respond accordingly. The effectiveness of the protected devices like IDS, WAF or IPS can also be checked during penetration testing.
8. Performed after Deployment of New Infrastructure & Application
Pen testing should be certainly performed in companies after the deployment of a new infrastructure and application, like updating of the firmware, changes in the firewall rule, patches and upgrades to software. Because once changes happens in software performance testing, it’s easy for breaches to occur, so it is always better to keep the network secured.
9. Gap Analysis Maintenance
Pen testing/penetration testing is not a one time event, instead it should be a continual process that measures how well the entire security system performs. It also helps companies to gain awareness on gaps if any, in the system at a given point of time.
Penetration testing is necessary for any businesses that wants their network to be secure and operations to continue without any service disruption. With high-profile data vulnerabilities continuing to dominate, methods for enterprise cyber security have started to change. If you fail to test the network security and environment prior to use, it might be impossible to ensure complete security. And this is why penetration testing makes sense for organisations of all sizes.

3 Phases Involved in Testbytes Penetration Testing Process

Penetration testing is performed to determine vulnerabilities in network, computer systems and applications. Standard penetration testing process involves analysis of conventional vulnerabilities and either software testing or network security scanning. The Testbytes penetration testing approach is a bit different from the usual vulnerability assessment tests. We focus on catering to your needs with a testing process that reflects quality.
app testing
The Process
The penetration testing process involves three phases: pre-engagement, engagement and post-engagement.
Planning and preparation
A successful penetration testing process involves lots of preparations before the actual testing process begins. It is important for every party involved in the testing process to be informed about every new step taken. Therefore, holding a meeting between the testers and the clients is the best way to start.
Purpose of the penetration test
If there is no clear purpose for conducting the penetration test, the results won’t be great. Therefore, the objective of penetration testing is determined during the meeting.
It involves taking decisions regarding the machines, systems and network to be used, the operational requirements and the people involved.
The results
The form in which the end results will be presented is also discussed during the meeting.
Testbytes has different projects to handle at a time and therefore, it is necessary to allot the timing and duration for the penetration test so that the other works can also be done uninterrupted. Also, proper planning about the test duration will reduce risks of neglecting testing steps due to time constraints.
Most of the information finalized during the meeting must be documented so that testers can use it in future. It must include the important steps and the expected outcome that the testers can refer to perform effective penetration testing.
An effective penetration testing involves the testers trying out illegal ways to determine the vulnerabilities. Also, the information gathered during the process is confidential. Therefore, it is necessary for the testers to sign certain legal documents before they start, to avoid trouble.
Collecting information and analysis
After planning and preparation, the next step is to gather information regarding the systems or networks on which the testing is to be performed. The online website of the targeted system is the best place to start information gathering.  All these gathered information will be used during the later stages of penetration testing.
There are many tools available these days to perform penetration testing. However, the judgement regarding the approach, tools, vulnerabilities etc. is done manually.  A testing process is best done by using both automation and traditional testing process simultaneously.
Penetration testing must be performed in locations where there are no restrictions on ports or services by the Internet provider.
Application layer testing
The tester performs the testing process with regard to the different roles of the application.  This involves the tester checking if the users can access the data that they are actually not allowed to access. Also, the developers must ensure that all the functionalities and application security have been set up before sending it to the testers so that they can perform the testing process effectively. In case the application uses a backend API, it has to be separately tested.
Network layer testing
Network layer testing can be automated since most of the protocols have been clearly defined and have standard modes of interaction. The testing tools can be used to determine misconfigurations and vulnerabilities and to identify a service or a software version. Testing automation helps to perform the tasks faster than when done manually. However, it does not work for the entire testing process. The testing tools help to determine the potential attack; however, it is up to the tester to interpret the vulnerabilities and act accordingly.
Segmentation check
Segmentation check involves the same testing process performed during the initial stages of network layer testing. During this step, the tester must ensure that:

  • All isolated LANs do not have access into the CDE
  • Each network segment isolated from CDE does not really have any access into the CDE

In scenarios that involve large number of network segments that have been isolated from CDE, using a representative subset for testing can help reduce the number of segmentation checks. The tester performs test on individual segments to make sure that all security controls are working as expected. In case it has been found out that the LANs have access to the CDE, the testers must try to limit the access or perform a complete a network layer penetration test to keep check on the access.
automation testing
Access to cardholder data
In case the testers are able to access the cardholder data during the penetration testing process, the clients must be notified instantly. The testers must also document details of the data that was accessed and how it was accessed.
After performing penetration testing, there are certain things that both the testers and the clients must do.
Remedial practices
There may be some vulnerability that is left undetected even after performing effective penetration testing. They occur mainly due to weak development practices or ineffective security controls. The testers will investigate the whole application to determine the hidden vulnerabilities.
Retest detected risks
After correcting the vulnerabilities that have been detected, the application will be retested to check whether the enhancements made still have the risk. If the retest is performed long time after the original test, it is important to perform a new testing engagement. Whether it is required or not can be determined after analyzing the quantity of changes that have been made after the original test.
The testers document the changes that have been made during the test. This involves the new accounts created for testing and the tools installed by the testers to perform testing.  These details will later be removed so that nobody can use it against the client organization.