Everyone knows about cyber hackers attacking computer systems servers stealing everything from passwords to finance. To avoid this, there is a way a company can find security weaknesses and loopholes is by Penetration Testing.
A single computer system or the complete organizational network of devices can both have their strengths and weaknesses evaluated through penetration tests (also known as “Pen tests”).
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing is a type of security testing used to test the insecurity of an application. It is conducted to find out possible security risks in the system.
If a system is not secure, any attacker can circumvent or gain authorized access to that system.
Remember these are not functional tests. Our goal is to find security gaps in the system.
Phases of Penetration Testing
In this phase, gather as much information about the target as possible. The Activities involved in this phase are Defining goals, Gathering Intelligence, Deciding the testing methods to use.
This phase is scanning of the target or collecting the information. There are some techniques for the scanning of the target.
- Reverse IP Lookup
- Sub Domain Enumeration
- OS Detection
This is the stage where an ethical hacker controls the target, with the map of all possible vulnerabilities and entry points the pen tester begins to test the exploits found within the network, application, and data.
The goal is to see exactly how far they can get into your environment.
The goal of this step is to see if vulnerability can be used to gain a persistent presence in the exploited system long enough for a malicious actor to gain deep access. The idea is to mimic advanced persistent threats that often linger in the system for months to steal an organization’s most sensitive data.
At this stage, the security team produces a detailed report outlining the entire penetration testing process.
The Report should contain
- Severity of risk posed by discovered vulnerabilities
- The tools that can be used
- Emphasize points where security is implemented correctly.
- What vulnerabilities need to be fixed and how future attacks can be prevented
The above are the some of the things that need to be there in the report.
Tools of Penetration Testing
- Indusface WAS
As a penetration tester what Should Be Tested
- Software (Operating systems, services, applications)
- End-user behavior.
Types of Penetration Testing:
- Social Engineering Test
- Web Application Test
- Physical Penetration Test
- Network Services Test
- Client-side Test
- Remote dial-up war dial
- Wireless Security Test
Social Engineering Test:
Social engineering penetration testing focuses on people and processes and related vulnerabilities. Social engineering attacks come in many forms, but the most common are phishing, vishing, smishing, spoofing, dumpster dumping, USB dropping, and tailgating.
Web Application Test:
Web application penetration testing involves simulating attacks on a system to gain access to sensitive data and to determine if the system is secure. These attacks are carried out inside or outside the system.
Physical Penetration Test:
A physical penetration test is an evaluation of an organization`s physical security controls. In physical penetration testing, a trained technician bypasses these controls to physically access restricted areas, identify sensitive information, and attempt to gain a foothold on network.
Network Services Test:
A network penetration test is an attempt by an ethical hacker to break into an organization`s network without causing harm. The goal is to identify security weaknesses in the network and its security controls, report them, and allow the organization to remediate them.
Client-side penetration testing, also known as internal testing, involves exploiting vulnerabilities in client-side application programs, such as email clients, web browsers, etc.
Remote dial-up war dial:
Remote dial-up war dial penetration testing is used to test the modem and is done through countless password guesses or by brute-force logging into connected systems.
Wireless Security Test:
Wireless penetration testing is a crucial factor for businesses. This can secure a corporate network, a production network, or a guest network. Businesses should be aware of vulnerabilities in their wireless networks and take steps to protect themselves from malicious intruders.
Responsibilities of a Penetration Tester
- Performing a penetration test and risk analysis of the target system
- Conducting security audits to assess the organization’s compliance with defined security policies and standards
- Ensuring physical security to assess the vulnerability of servers, systems, and various network devices
- Analyzing draft security policies for changes
- Writing comprehensive reports on the results of organized penetration tests
- Conducting social engineering attacks to educate and raise awareness among employees
- Redefining advanced anti-threat methods
- Improving existing hardware and software to improve security
- Simulation of various cybercrimes to identify possible system weaknesses
Security analysts are responsible for performing regular vulnerability scans in their organization’s environment. The scanner discovered many vulnerabilities, and they did not know which to try to fix first.
A vulnerability scanner is a great security tool that examines your environment and finds vulnerabilities that could put your organization at risk. Even though scanners can uncover hundreds, or even thousands of vulnerabilities depending on the size of an IT environment there may be enough severe vulnerabilities that the scoring system doesn`t provide enough clarity on where to begin. Ultimately, vulnerability scanners are designed to give you a complete picture of your security posture, but more insight is needed to fully prioritize the list of discovered vulnerabilities.
They can use a penetration testing tool like Core Impact to completely prioritize the list of detected vulnerabilities. Penetration testing can validate vulnerabilities by checking if the vulnerability can be used to gain access and, if so, how difficult the attempt would be. The results of such a penetration test will generate a list based on the risk that vulnerabilities pose to an organization’s specific infrastructure.
IT infrastructure is more than just servers and workstations. As a large company, they have IoT devices; additionally during this pandemic, organization encourages in remote working, so employees’ IoT devices in the home can also be connected to the network.
Many IoT devices have become essential to organizational productivity. Unfortunately, along with these additional benefits comes security risks. IoT devices not only increase the attack surface, but also increase risk because they often lack traditional layers of defense like anti-virus software.
The danger of IoT devices is twofold. First, it is much easier for threat actors to penetrate the network using IoT devices as entry points. While an IoT device does not provide meaningful access to sensitive information, it can be used as the first link in an attack chain that will eventually make it deeper into the network. For example, a major data breach begins when a threat actor obtains credentials for the HVAC system in a corporate building. Second, some IoT devices and SCADA systems are critical to an organization’s core functionality, so controlling these devices or simply disabling them can completely paralyze their business activities. It can even affect the functioning of cities or countries. For example, nuclear centrifuges have become the target of Stuxnet worms.
Detecting any potential vulnerabilities in these devices through penetration testing is an important way to ensure they are as secure as possible. Pen testers can use exploits that take advantage of a vulnerability or weakness in an IoT device, showing how bad guys can gain access to that device. Even efforts to make IoT more secure need to be tested. Some organizations have attempted to connect IoT devices using VPNs for additional protection. However, threat actors can also target weaknesses in VPNs, such as those that have not been patched, so they also need to be evaluated regularly.