Know all about penetration testing
Penetration testing also called pen test, involves the simulated cyber-attack against the computer to detect any vulnerabilities. If we talk about web application security, penetration testing is more commonly used for augmenting a web application firewall.
Penetration testing methodology covers the attempted breaching of application systems in order to find out vulnerabilities, that are more susceptible to code injection attacks.
Why penetration testing?
Penetration testing is crucial for an enterprise due to the following reasons:
- Financial organisations like banks, stock trading exchanges, etc.; deal with confidential data in bulk which needs to be secured
- If the software testing is already hacked and the organisation is keen to know whether any threats are still present or not in the system to counter future hacks
- It is the best way to deal with hackers
Different stages of penetration testing
The entire penetration testing methodology can be divided under the following heads:
- Stage 1: It includes defining the goal of a test, including those systems which need to be addressed along with testing methods that will be used for the same. Further, intelligence with respect to network and domain names will be collected to have a clear understanding of how a target works and its vulnerabilities.
- Stage 2: Under this, it is essential to understand how the target application will respond to different intrusion attempts. Usually, it is done by either using static analysis or dynamic analysis. While static analysis inspects an application’s code to know how it behaves while running, the dynamic analysis inspects the application code in a running state. In both, dynamic analysis is more useful as it gives a real-time view of how the application is performing.
- Stage 3: This stage makes use of web application attacks to detect the target’s vulnerabilities. Once it is detected, testers try to exploit these vulnerabilities by stealing data, traffic intercepting, etc.; to know the causes of the damage.
- Stage 4: At this stage, it is checked whether the vulnerability can be used to accomplish a persistent presence in the exploited system or not.
- Stage 5: The analysis results of the penetration test are compiled in a report, covering exploited vulnerabilities, sensitive data that was assessed and the amount of time during which the pen tester was able to stay in the system without being getting detected.
The entire information is carefully scrutinised and analysed by security personnel while configuring various application security solutions of the enterprise to provide safety against future attacks.
Different penetration testing methods
- External Testing: Under this, the external penetration tests target the company’s assets that are there on the internet, like a web application, website, email, etc. Here, the objective is to get access and extract important details.
- Internal Testing: It allows the organisation to test if an attacker had the internal access of their data and how they reached there.
- Blind Testing: Under this, tester only has the name of the enterprise that is being targeted. It allows security personnel to get a real-time understanding of how the real application assault would be taking place.
- Double-Blind Testing: In this, no prior information is available to security personnel about the pretended attack. It works just like the real world, where such attacks happen unexpectedly and they have no time to prepare their self-defence.
- Targeted Testing: Under this, both the tester and security personnel work in sync and keep each other updated about their movements. It is an imperative training exercise that helps security team in getting the real-time feedback from the hacker’s point.
It is necessary that testers should act like a real hacker to find potential vulnerabilities. A penetration test methodology is effective if there is a clearly implemented security policy.