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Types Of Penetration Testing & Why Should You Try Them?

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Penetration testing, also known as “Pen Test”, is a critical aspect for your business and should be executed at regular intervals for a highly secure system with zero vulnerabilities. Let us define the concept more technically and then we will look at numerous advantages of this testing process and how it helps your business against any kind of security issues and data breaches and also to keep the attackers away. 

What is Penetration Testing?

The process of ethically attacking your computer systems and penetrating deep into the susceptible zones of the application to expose the possible vulnerabilities is known as Penetration Testing. This is widely used for the augmentation of Web Application Firewall (WAF) in web application security. A very common example of a penetration test is email phishing to access critical information like account details, passwords, etc. Also, using unencrypted passwords shared over a network for data breaching. 

Various Types of Penetration Testing

Based on your requirements the penetration test to be executed on your system can vary from one type to another. On a broader level, there are 4 kinds of penetration testing. 

These are:

External Network Penetration Testing

This type of pen test allows you to get your systems’ network attacked from off-site zones. The job is carried out by a professional ethical hacker based on the agreements of following controlled and ethical hacking techniques only. The main purpose of using this type of penetration testing is to get exposure to the vulnerabilities for your external-facing network system infrastructure. 

Internal Network Penetration Testing

In this kind of testing, attacks are made on the system from within the organization. It is carried out to patch the exposed vulnerabilities and security holes that in otherwise scenarios could be taken advantage of by the intruders. 

Web Application Penetration Testing

Out of all kinds of system infrastructures, online business portals and websites are most prone to cyber-attacks and security threats because they are all by nature easily accessible throughout the globe and are very transparent. 

Penetration Testing Using Social Engineering

Social Engineering penetration testing techniques include fraud SMSs, email phishing, USB drops, etc. This testing procedure aims to find and get the hold of loopholes associated with the people (end customers) involved within and outside the organization. 

Widely Used Penetration Testing Tools

To make the job easy for teams, there are many penetration testing tools available in the market that provide penetration testing services. These are the software programs that allow you to check for any system infrastructure vulnerabilities, and security loopholes. Let us take a look at some of the renowned and widely used tools one by one.

  1. NetSparker: This tool provides its testing services for web applications, web servers, and websites and has the capabilities to test up to 500-100 web applications all at once. This tool is also known as “Security Scanner”.
  2. WireShark: In the old times, it used to be known as “Ethereal 0.2.0”. This penetration testing tool is available as an open-source version that supports various platforms like Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Linux. 
  3. Metasploit: This is a widely used pen testing open-source tool which comes with an easy to go with GUI (Graphical User Interface). The tool provides its services for platforms including Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. Also, it can be used to check for security issues in servers, networks, and applications. 
  4. Powershell Suite: Powershell Suite testing tools only supports Windows-based applications as of now. It is a collection of Powershell scripts that fetch necessary and required information from the target systems, servers, and DLLs, etc. Using this tool, it becomes easy for testers to quickly navigate and trace the exploited systems over a specific network. 
  5. HashCat: This tool is known for providing its services for fast and robust password recovery mechanisms. The suite version of this tool comes with service options like a password recovery tool, a word generator, and a password cracking element. The platforms it supported include Windows systems, Linux, and Mac OS. 
  6. Hydra: This tool is commonly used to crack login systems of an application as it follows various methods to implement brute-force-based attacks to test numerous combinations of username and password to crack and get into the systems. 

However, it is important to understand and analyze the system’s behavior and the target audience before opting for any of the available tools. A thorough report-based analysis and compatibility checks of the tools in the picture with the target systems/applications would give a clear idea of which way to go for. You can also look for many other open-source security testing tools here. 

Why have Penetration Testing for your Application?

Penetration tests are essential for ensuring that your systems’ infrastructure is in the right posture and is risk-free. Below is a list of some proven advantages of penetration testing:

  1. Ensures network and systems’ security against any kind of possible cyber crimes and data breaches.
  2. Helps organizations in getting a better and clear understanding of the network’s baseline. 
  3. Gives access to the exposure of systems’ loopholes and vulnerabilities at minor levels which can cause greater damages to the businesses (if neglected).
  4. Helps in detecting hard-to-find risks and network voids via application scanning tools and automated pen-testing frameworks. 
  5. Reduces the possibilities of any future cyberattacks by helping in implementing the necessary actions for an updated and more secure system. 
  6. Provides an idea to the organization of how the system reacts in case of any possible cyber-attacks or data breaches.

Conclusion

By now it’s quite clear how important it is to consider and get hold of the Network penetration testing for your business. It helps companies to gain deeper insights on security levels and helps them to strengthen their business’s cyber security posture. Moreover, this is something that should not be considered to be a one-time activity. To have a firm and secured network baseline, it is important to conduct penetration testing at regularly scheduled intervals to check for any new or updated security weaknesses and close the doors to the possible attacks as quickly as possible.  

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