Penetration testing, also known as “pen testing,” “security pen testing,” and “security testing,” is a form of ethical hacking. It describes the deliberate launching of simulated cyberattacks by “white hat” penetration testers who use strategies and tools to access or exploit computer systems, networks, websites, and applications. Penetration testing is important to determine the vulnerability of an organization’s network and the extent of damage that can occur if the network is attacked. It is important to be aware that, depending on an organization’s policies, testers may be prohibited from using certain tools or techniques, or may only be allowed to use them at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. Penetration testing also poses a high risk to the organization’s networks and systems because they use real attacks on production systems and data. Because of the high cost and potential impact, annual penetration testing of an organization’s network and systems may be sufficient.
When you outsource penetration testing, make sure that the consultants not only perform blind tests, but also knowledge tests. Knowledge testing is necessary to protect against insider threats and threats from former employees. This is a type of test where an individual is made to reveal sensitive information such as a password or potentially business-critical data, etc.
The most cost-effective way to reduce the risk of cyberattacks is through penetration testing. Losing your company’s protected data would be catastrophic, especially if that data is in the hands of your competitors. Even if your competitors don’t conduct cyberattacks against you, they could obtain that data indirectly. Cybercriminals like to publish their gains on public websites like Pastebin or sell this information on the dark web in the form of cryptocurrencies. This brings us back to the risk assessment to determine the threats to your sensitive data and their impact on your business.
This includes all networks, applications, devices and physical security components. Cybersecurity professionals use penetration testing to improve an organization’s security posture and eliminate vulnerabilities that leave it vulnerable to attack by. Manage risk by defending against vulnerabilities and preventing threats from becoming real events. This step must be addressed before cybercriminals have time to become familiar with your application and exploit its vulnerabilities. When using third-party applications, outsourced services or cloud-based services, performing penetration testing is imperative, not just a necessity. This service can help them identify and review potential security vulnerabilities in their IT systems before cybercriminals can exploit them and successfully launch new products.
The purpose of penetration testing is to help business and IT leaders identify vulnerabilities in their environment that could lead to an attacker gaining access to private networks, systems and sensitive business information. When vulnerabilities are discovered, penetration testers attempt to exploit them to gain access to information, elevate a user account’s privileges, or take control of the corporate network. In the black box variant of penetration testing, the tester plays a role similar to that of a hacker, without knowing the target system. This method can be used to discover vulnerabilities that can be exploited from outside the network.
This helps prepare for possible malicious attacks or prevent a potential data breach by a third party. For example, PCI DSS mandates that companies handling large volumes of transactions conduct annual risk management and periodic penetration tests. In addition, the detailed reports that result from penetration testing can help companies improve their security controls and educate auditors about due diligence.
A penetration testing expert will also provide you with a list of recommendations for timely remediation and help you develop a reliable information security system and prioritize your future cybersecurity investments. This testing practice helps testers perform static code analysis by improving familiarity with source code, debuggers, and tool usage. This method is a comprehensive test assessment method for identifying external and internal vulnerabilities. Penetration testing helps to verify the security of an organization’s systems, applications and networks.