Intorduction to Pen Testing
Pen testers, popularly known as penetration tester or Ethical Hackers, are usually hired to expose your security, recognise risks and vulnerabilities, and give recommendations for improving your security. An important step in penetration testing is Intelligence Gathering. Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) gathering starts out by the white hat hacker learning all the ins and outs of the environment and finding out more information before commencing with the penetrations tests. This is when the tester discovers any weak links and entry points within the security structure, encompassing the entire network, web applications, websites, hardware, cloud-based, workers, and any other vulnerabilities.
The main aim of pen testing is to identify exploitable areas in an organisation’s network, and all the steps that have been taken to protect them against breach of security. It’s also aimed at testing the organisation’s security awareness and compliance, and teaching the organisation how they will be vulnerable to perpetrators.
Used correctly, it will help an organisation understand their weaknesses and then put in place a remediation plan to address them.
Which Are the Penetration Testing Strategies?
There are a couple of important aspects of penetration testing strategies. Each depends on the scope with which the pen testers should operate. The scope outlines the plan, locations, methods and tools that can be used in the penetration test. Limiting the scope of the penetration test helps the members get focused on the system that should be taken into consideration. The pen testing strategies include;
- Target Testing
This is performed together by the IT team and pen testers in the organisation. There is a clear outline of the activities that should be carried out and all the information concerning the target and network design. It’s more efficient and cost-effective as the object being tested is focused on. The technical setting or design of the network is easy to manage than having other operational procedures to look into. It is executed in less time and effort but the main difference with the others is that it may not provide the complete picture of vulnerabilities and response capabilities.
- External Testing
This refers to the procedures used to determine attacks from outside the organisation. It involves the internet/extranet and is performed with non, or full disclosure of the area in question. The test begins with public information about the client, and the network targeting the company’s external servers or devices e.g. Domain Name Server (DNS), e-mail server, firewall or the main web server.
- Internal Strategy
As the name suggests, it’s basically performed from within the organisation. The tests imitates an attack on the internal network by a bad employee or an unauthorised visitor getting access. Its main focus is to get an understanding of the expectation when the organisation’s network was breached.
- Blind Testing Strategy
A blind testing strategy looks into what procedures a real hacker could use. Hackers are provided little information about the organisation’s security and are given the task of hacking as far as they can go. They use public-given information such as the corporate web site, domain name registry, Internet discussion board, etc. It is only logical for pen testers to use the same methods as black hat hackers do. Blind testing provides a lot of information about the organisation such as hidden access point and publicly available confidential information.
- Double Blind Testing Strategy
It is an extension of the blind testing strategy where the organisation’s IT team and security team is not notified before anything that they are planning on testing the network for vulnerabilities. It is more important to carry out this test as it can genuinely show how ready for a threat the organisation is. It’s only a few people who know what is going on.
- Brute Force Attack
This involves trying out a huge number of exhaustive trial and error methods so as to find legitimate authentication credentials. This is done so as to gain access to the target system. It can overload the system and stop it from responding to legit inquiries.