Penetration testing (also known as pen testing or ethical hacking) is a security procedure that involves examining your computer system’s applications for weaknesses and susceptibility to threats such as hackers and cyberattacks. Software faults, design flaws, and configuration problems are all examples of vulnerabilities.
Because they include a benevolent party attempting to break into a system, pen tests are also known as white hat assaults. To guarantee that its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure stays strong and well-protected, companies should conduct penetration tests on a regular basis – at least once a year. Although penetration testing is most performed by IT companies and financial services firms, all types of businesses can benefit immensely from such an assessment.
What Is Penetration Testing and How Does It Work?
Pen tests can be performed on IP address ranges, particular programs, or even on the name of a company. Using a simulated attack to identify weak points in a system’s protection can help firms learn about the various ways hackers can acquire unauthorized access to sensitive and/or personal information or engage in some other type of criminal conduct that results in data loss.
And data breaches may be quite costly for businesses. The level of access an attacker gains is determined by the test your business is doing. Targeted testing, internal testing, external testing, blind testing, and double-blind testing are the five main methods of penetration testing. Each sort of testing allows an attacker varying degrees of access to a company’s system and apps.
Here are two penetration test examples:
- Giving a group of pen testers an organization’s office address and instructing them to try to break into their systems. Social engineering (asking a lower-level employee to undertake safety checks) and complicated application-specific attacks are two methods the team could use to sneak into the system.
- A pen tester could be given access to an untested version of a web application and then attempt to break in and start an attack.
When a company does penetration testing, several things must be considered, including:
- Size of your online presence
- Budget for the company
- Compliance and regulation
- Whether an organization’s IT infrastructure is hosted on the cloud or not
Pen tests should also be tailored to the needs and goals of the given business, as well as the industry in which it operates. It’s also a good idea to conduct follow-up reports and vulnerability testing. A proper report should explicitly describe which applications or systems were examined, as well as how each one was linked to its respective vulnerability.
What is the Importance of Penetration Testing?
Ponemon Institute published a study on the cost of data breaches in 2015, in which 350 firms from 11 different countries were polled. Nearly half of the breaches (47%) were caused by hostile attacks, while the rest were caused by system flaws and human mistake.
Getting Ready For An Attack
The major reason penetration testing are important for an organization’s security is that they teach employees how to deal with any form of malicious break-in. Pen tests are used to determine whether a company’s security practices are truly effective. They act as a kind of fire drill for businesses.
Penetration tests can also provide solutions that will assist firms in not only preventing and detecting attackers, but also in efficiently removing such intruders from their systems.
Identifying the Threat
Pen testing can also reveal which channels in your company or application are the most vulnerable, and hence what additional security technologies or protocols you should invest in. This procedure may reveal a number of critical system flaws you hadn’t considered before.
Reduce the number of errors
Reports from penetration testing can also help developers make fewer mistakes. When developers understand how a malicious entity launched an attack on an app, operating system, or other piece of software they helped create, they’ll be more committed to learning more about security and less likely to make similar mistakes in the future.
It’s also worth noting that penetration testing is especially critical if your company:
- Has made major upgrades or other modifications to its IT infrastructure or applications recently?
- Has recently moved to a new location.
- Has security patches been installed; or
- End-user policies have been altered.
Interested in Learning More About Penetration Testing?
To learn more about the benefits of penetration testing and/or to schedule one, contact VaporVM’s skilled cybersecurity analysts. Thanks to highly technical competence and specialized training, VaporVM provides top cybersecurity and risk management solutions to both commercial and federal clients.
VaporVM’s pen testing service employs smart hacker operations in a controlled environment to find any potential vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. VaporVM will also assist you with issues of compliance.