xone 2 months ago

What is penetration testing?


Penetration testing is part of security testing and is used to determine the vulnerability of a system or application. The purpose of this test is to get everyone on the system to find any security vulnerabilities present. Vulnerability means: The risk of an attacker disrupting or gaining authorized access to the system or the data contained therein. It is also called pen testing or pen testing.

Vulnerabilities are usually introduced accidentally. Common vulnerabilities are design errors, configuration errors, software errors, etc. Moments of vulnerability are:

  • Software development.
  • Software implementation.
  • Configuring the software.
  • The introduction of new infrastructure.
  • Configuring network components.

What Is Penetration Testing?

A penetration test involves a team of security professionals who actively attempt to break into your company's network by exploiting weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your systems. Penetration testing may include any of the following methods. Using social engineering techniques to access systems and related databases. Sending a phishing emails to access critical accounts, or using encrypted passwords shared on the network to access sensitive databases. These attempts can be far more intrusive than a vulnerability scan and may cause a denial of service, increased system utilization, which may reduce productivity and corrupt the machines. In some cases, you may schedule penetration tests and inform staff in advance of the exercise. However, this wouldn't be applicable if you want to test how your internet security

Why Penetration Testing?

To prevent or at least limit damage from intruders, penetration testing is essential for an organization:

  • Financial sectors such as banks, insurance companies and benefits agencies want their data to be protected. Penetration testing is essential to ensure security.
  • If a system has already been hacked, the same measures are taken to prevent a second time. The organization wants to determine whether this measure is effective and whether there are still vulnerabilities in the system. The goal is to prevent future hacks.
  • Proactive penetration testing. Performing a pen test regularly is the best protection against hackers.

Types of Penetration Testing

The type of penetration testing performed generally depends on the scope and attack the organization wants to simulate. These could be an attack by an employee, network administrator (internal sources) or external sources. 

There are three types of testing:

Penetration Testing Process:

Following are the activities that must be carried out to carry out penetration testing −

Planning phase

  • Scope and Strategy of the assignment is determined.
  • The existing security policy and standard are used to define the scope.

Research phase

  • Collect as much information as possible about the system, including data on the system, usernames, and even passwords.
  • Scan and probe at ports.
  • Check system vulnerabilities.

Attack phase

  • Find exploits for different vulnerabilities. You must have the necessary privileges to operate the system.

Reporting phase

  • The report must contain detailed findings.
  • Risks of vulnerabilities found and their impact on the organization.
  • Recommendations and solutions.

The main task in penetration testing is to collect system information. There are two ways to collect information −

One-to-one or one-to-many model against the host. A tester performs techniques in a linear fashion on a single target host or a logical group of target hosts (for example, a subnet).

'Many-in-one' or 'many-in-many' model. The tester uses multiple hosts to perform information collection techniques in an arbitrary, speed-limited and non-linear manner.

Penetration Testing Tools:

There is a wide range of tools used in penetration testing. Important tools are:

  1. NMap – This tool is used for port scans, operating system identification, route tracking and vulnerability scanning.
  2. Nessus - This is a traditional network-based vulnerability tool.
  3. Pass-The-Hash - This tool is mainly used to crack passwords.
  4. Cain and Abel – This tool is mainly used for password recovery, network detection, wireless scanning and VoIP.

Role and Responsibilities of Penetration Testers:

The tasks of penetration testers are:

  • To collect the necessary information from the organization to enable penetration testing.
  • Looking for errors that allow hackers to attack a target system.
  • Think and act like real hackers, but act ethically.
  • Penetration testers' findings must be reproducible so that developers can easily fix it.
  • The start date and end date for taking the test must be specified in advance.
  • Testers are responsible for damage to the system or information resulting from testing.
  • Testers must treat data and information confidentially.

Manual penetration versus automated penetration testing

Manual Penetration Testing

  • Manual testing requires qualified professionals to perform the tests.
  • Manual testing requires Excel and other discovery capture tools.
  • In the case of manual testing, results vary from test to test.

Automated Penetration Testing

  • Automated testing tools provide clear reports, even with less experienced professionals.
  • Automated tests use centralized standard tools.
  • In automated testing, results do not vary from test to test.

Limitations of Penetration Testing

Penetration tests cannot find all system vulnerabilities. There are limitations on time, budget, scope, and penetration tester skills.

Penetration testing can have serious consequences, such as:

  • Data loss or data mutilation.
  • Down Time.
  • Rising costs


Penetration testers must:

  • He acted like a real hacker .
  • Test the application or system for vulnerabilities.
  • Make sure the code is written securely.
  • Check that the system settings are correct.
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