Penetration testing (also known as pen testing) is a safety exercise in which a cyber-security professional tries to uncover and exploit flaws in a computing device. The goal of a simulated attack is to find any vulnerabilities in a system’s defences that attackers could exploit.

It’s the equivalent of a bank hiring a burglar to sneak into their premises and gain entry to the vault. If the ‘burglar’ succeeds in breaking further into the bank or vault. The bank may learn crucial information about how to improve security.

Who does pen tests?

It’s better to have a pen testing conducted by someone who has little to no foreknowledge of how the network is guarded since they may be able to reveal security flaws that the system’s engineers missed. As a result, outside contractors are frequently hired to conduct the tests. Because they are employed to breach a database with authorization and for the goal of strengthening security, these contractors are commonly referred to as “ethical hackers.”

Several ethical hackers are seasoned programmers with graduate degrees and pen testing certifications. Some of the top ethical hackers, on the other hand, are self-taught. Some are even repentant illegal hackers who now utilise their skills to assist address security weaknesses rather than exploiting them. Depending on a particular organisation and the style of penetration test they want to conduct, the strongest candidate to conduct a pen test can differ substantially.

pen testing

What are the types of pen tests?

  • Open box pen test- In an open-box test, hackers will be given certain security knowledge about the target organisation ahead of time.
  • Closed-box pen test – Also known as a “single-blind” test, this is one in which the hacker is only provided the target company’s name as background information.
  • Covert pen test – Also known as a ‘double-blind’ pen test, this is a circumstance in which nearly no one in the firm, along with the IT and security experts who will be answering to the attack, is informed that the pen test is taking place. To avoid any complications with law enforcement, covert testers need to have the range and other information of the test written down ahead of time.
  • External pen test – The ethical hacker takes on the company’s external-facing technologies, such as its website and wireless router servers, in an external test. The hacker might not be permitted to enter the company’s building in some situations. This could entail launching the strike from a faraway area or executing the testing from a nearby truck or van.
  • Internal pen test – An ethical hacker conducts an inside test using the company’s internal network. This type of test can help you figure out how much damage a dissatisfied employee can do from behind the company’s firewall.

An ethical hacker will communicate their discoveries with the target company’s security team after conducting a pen test. This data can later be utilised to deploy security upgrades to address any flaws detected during the test. Rate limitation, new WAF rules, DDoS mitigation, and strict form validations and sanitization, are all possible improvements.

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