When building a company’s cyber defense system, a business must be sure of its high efficiency and ability to repel sudden attacks. Simulating a real threat is one of the most effective ways to check it. This penetration testing can assume different forms depending on its main aims. Pen testing style can influence:
- How much information you will get;
- To what extent it will be exhaustive and take into account all cyber threats;
- How long the test will take;
- What the costs of checking the company’s security system will be.
By choosing certified penetration testing, companies get effective tools for assessing the reliability of their protection systems. You can trust such results, which means you can work without fear of becoming a victim of various types of hackers.
General Purpose of Penetration Testing
An experimental method for assessing the reliability of a company’s digital infrastructure security system is called penetration testing. It is carried out by simulating internal or external penetration. The aim of fake invaders is to find vulnerabilities in the system and hack it. Such testing is suitable for evaluating the security of a computer system, app, or network.
Types of Penetration Testing You May Require
Internal/External Infrastructure Penetration Testing
Hackers aiming to break into a security system will not necessarily be external villains. Employees of the company may also act in collusion with attackers. The higher the degree of their access to the management of the security system, the more dangerous such hidden agents are. Therefore, a penetration test should ideally be carried out from two sides:
- From the outside, through Internet resources, e-mail, and FTP servers
- From within, through an employee account with different access levels
Wireless Penetration Testing
Weak security protocols or somehow misconfigured wireless LAN access points can become entry points for scammers. To detect these vulnerabilities, reconfigure, or create additional protection around them, wireless penetration testing is used.
Web Application Testing
This type of search for weaknesses through which attackers can try to access confidential data does not analyze the entire information network of the company. Web application penetration testing focuses solely on the vulnerability of web apps. The level of reliability of apps protection is assessed on the basis of studying:
- Back-end network or administrative zone of the website
- Source code
Web applications are available to all users interacting with the company’s services. Therefore, they are a common entry point for cyberattacks. Since confidential data are transmitted through the application, taking care of their security is one of the priorities for the business.
Mobile Application Testing
The operation of mobile applications that are actively installed by users involves the processing of sensitive user data. Hunting for this valuable information, attackers are trying to hack the apps’ protection systems and steal data. To prevent such hacking, companies that release or use mobile applications in their work must conduct mobile application penetration testing.
Build and Configuration Review
The information infrastructure of a company consists of many elements that constantly interact, including:
- Network devices
- Switches and routers
- Software through which customers contact the company
The configuration of each of these elements is important for the overall security of the circulation of confidential information. Failures in the operation of any of the components can lead to data leakage and damage the company’s reputation. To prevent this from happening, various pen testing tools are used to evaluate the configuration of the components of the information environment.
Vital company data can also be accessed through employees thanks to well-designed social engineering. This type of testing allows you to find out:
- How vulnerable your employees are to attempts to persuade them to share sensitive company data.
- How they comply with security measures when working on computers.
- Whether the staff of the organization can detect phishing attacks in a timely manner and properly react to them.
Pen Testing Styles
Three main pen testing methods are used in the practice of searching for security vulnerabilities. They are distinguished based on the direction of the threat and the level of access the attacker has to sensitive company data. A cyber attack can occur from any direction, and therefore, the system must respond adequately to any intrusion vector.
This type of testing involves the maximum provision of pen testers with all the information about the operation of the company’s information network. They get detailed network maps, source codes, IP addresses, user accounts, and more. Having all the complete information, they can take into account all potential weak areas and check all possible invasion vectors. White box testing is the most thorough network vulnerability check that allows you to save money and time on pen testing.
If you need to simulate a threat from an ordinary employee of the company, grey box testing is a perfect choice. In this case, opportunities to get protected information are being studied. Pentesters work with the accounts of employees with different levels of access. If the latter ones enter into an agreement with intruders, they can cause great damage to the company. Moreover, access to accounts can be stolen by intruders and not be the result of the criminal activity of the staff. In this case, it is important to know how far they can penetrate the company’s network infrastructure.
This method allows you to try to penetrate the system from the outside. Pentesters simulate an attacker who initially does not have the slightest access to the company’s internal information. To make black box testing as objective as possible, the pentester does not receive any data on the target network or the entire system. They must independently obtain all these data to maximize the effectiveness of their attack.
Both the work of the company and the well-being of its customers depend on the thoroughness of penetration testing. If vulnerabilities are detected and corrected in a timely manner, this prevents the loss of reputation and assets that can result from a cyber attack. Having simulated the behavior of intruders, you will see where you need to wait for them. And therefore, you will find out where it is necessary to strengthen security measures.