Cyber attacks are cheap to conduct but may prove to be expensive for the organisations affected. The present times are witnessing an era of cyber threats and so the protection of your applications from known and unknown threats which can damage your Brand image and lead to financial loss has become a necessity of the era. In order to save your data and information from being hacked or misused penetration testing havebecomemandatory. These prove to be a patent solution due to the technology used and also provide you the complete control of your systems. The threat may be due to gaming app, mobile apps etc.
A penetration test, also known as a pen test, is a simulated cyber attack against your computer system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. In the context of web application security, penetration testing is commonly used to augment a web application firewall (WAF).
Insights provided by the penetration test can be used to fine-tune your WAF security policies and patch detected vulnerabilities. These are also occasionally known as white hat attacks because there is an involvement of hacker’s attempt to break the system.
The different types of penetration tests include network services, applications, client side, wireless, social engineering, and physical. A penetration test may be performed externally or internally to simulate different attack vectors.
A penetration test will show you the vulnerabilities in the target system and the risks associated to it.
Penetration testing steps
Basically there are six generally accepted penetration testing steps. They are:
- reconnaissance and information gathering
- scanning and discovery
- attack and gaining access
- access and penetration
- Risk analysis and reporting.
Purpose of test
Penetration testing is done to give you an idea of not only the possibilities that exist, but more importantly, what damage could be done if these vulnerabilities were exploited. Companies should perform penetration tests regularly (at least once a year) to ensure their IT (INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY) sector remains protective and secure most of the organisations can greatly benefit from conducting this type of evaluation.
Main factors on which the performance of testing depends
- Online present size
- Budget of the company
- Regulations and compliance
- Whether or not the IT infrastructure is in the cloud
Advantages (benefits) of penetration testing
Let’s have a close look at the seven main benefits of penetration testing in favour for your company
- Revealing weaknesses- Penetration testing explores the pre-existing faults in the system or application configurations and the network. Sometimes even the actions of the staff may lead to exposure or leakage of data and malicious infiltration during researches or the tests. A report informs you about the security of your system and software and guides about the improvements of the same as well as hardware improvements to enhance the overall security.
- Targeting real risks- Penetration testing aim at identifying vulnerabilities which means you can see what a hacker could do in the real world. They might access your excessive data and execute the commands of your operating system. This might also inform you about the theoretical extent of the risk because of exploitation. This type of analysis can be performed only by a specialist.
- Testing your cyber defence capability- In order to detect the cyber attacks and respond efficiently on time. It is mandatory to start investigation and discover the hackers on time and then block them. Whether they are malicious or experts testing your protective strategies’’ and their effectiveness. The feedback from such tests can help you to improve your defence.
- Business continuity- To be sure about the continuity of business you need the availability of network, 24*7 communication skills and a complete access to resources. Each disruption may lead to a negative impact on business. The penetration tests reveal potential threats. Thus ensuring that your operations don’t suffer. In this way the test is the sure short business continuity audit.
- An expert opinion-Whenever an issue is identified, your management may not be able to act or react instantly. A report from a third party expert sometimes has a bigger impact and may lead to allocation of additional funds.
- Trustworthy appeal– A leakage in data or cyber crime may negatively affect the trust, loyalty and confidence of your customers and other party or clients you deal with. But if you are famous for your strict, secured and organised security system and penetration tests, you can easily build up confidence among your stake holders.
- Following rules and certifications– Every industry has certain legal requirements that may need penetration testing at any level. Thinking about various standards and regulations which require all managers and system owners to conduct regular tests and security reviews with experts or different testers that are because penetration testing focuses on real life consequences.
For a number of different organisations the most important benefits of conducting a penetration tests is that this gives you a baseline to work in order to tackle risks in a structured and an optimal way. The pen testing or ethical hacking refers to the security process of analysing your computer systems application foe exposure to threats like hackers and cyber attacks (software bugs and other errors included).
Qualifications for the test
In order to enter the industry one needs a relevant degree, inside knowledge of the operating system and at least an experience of information security.
The three main subjects include computer science, computing and information system. Penetration testing reports can also assist developers in making fewer errors. When developers understand exactly how a malicious entity launched an attack on an application, operating system or other software they helped develop, they will become more dedicated to learning more about security and be less likely to make similar mistakes going forward.
It should also be noted that conducting penetration tests is especially important if your organization:
- Has recently made significant upgrades or other changes to its IT infrastructure or applications
- Has recently relocated to a new office
- Has applied security patches; or
- Has modified end-user policies
Conclusion: The Penetration testing is the method of evaluating the computer program, system as well as the web service to detect the bugs that could perform the malicious activity. Although the procedure happens on the mutual consent of the customer and the penetration testing provider, range state laws still consider it hacking. They all have a common ground: whoever makes illegal unauthorized use of computer systems commits a crime.
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