Does Your Company Need Penetration Testing?

Find out if your company is a good candidate for Penetration Testing.


11/4/20213 min read

What is Penetration Testing or Pen Testing?

Before you decide if your company needs Penetration Testing, you first need to understand the term.

A penetration test or a pen test is a simulation run by a cybersecurity expert to determine if there are any vulnerabilities in your existing IT infrastructure and security setup. Think of your setup as your home whereby you've set the alarm, installed flood lights on your front yard, and have security cameras in place. But to ensure this keeps you safe, you hire someone to dress up as a thief and try to break into your house.

This will give you insight into your weak access points of your home and enable you to strengthen them so that, should a real robbery take place, you would be protected.

And that is exactly what is done in a network penetration testing.

What Are The Stages Of Penetration Testing?

If you've decided your company needs a proper pen test, then here are the five stages that a professional will take you through:

1. Reconnaissance

This is the first stage of any penetration testing and involves the security expert gathering information about the target. This could include network and domain names, mail server and other intelligence needed to fully understand how the target actually works.

2. Scanning

Here the security expert will use several scanner tools such as port scanners, vulnerability scanners, and network mappers to look for as many vulnerabilities as possible so that the attack can be as sophisticated as possible to be able to mimic a real attack. This is exactly what a real hacker would do.

3. Gaining Access

Now, the penetration testing begins. The pentester will try to establish contact with the target using several web application attacks such as: cross-site scripting, SQL injection and backdoors, denial of service (DoS) attack, session hijacking and more to uncover a target’s vulnerabilities. Once targeted, the pentester will try to exploit these vulnerabilities by; for instance, stealing data, to see how much damage a real attack could cost.

4. Maintaining access

Now the expert is in, it has to be seen if a presence can be maintained in the exploited system, In many real persistent attacks, a threat can stay in the system unnoticed for months at a time as it accesses a company's sensitive data.

5. Analysis

Finally, the security expert will present a detailed analysis report of the penetration testing, showing how long the attack lasted, what vulnerabilities were uncovered and used, what sensitive data was accessed and more.

In turn, the target's security personnel can use this report to patch vulnerabilities and strengthen their system against potential attacks.

What Are The Different Penetration Testing Methods?

External Penetration Testing

In this testing, the company's assets which are visible on the internet will be targeted. These include email, website, DNS etc...

Internal Penetration Testing

Here, the pentester will have access to an application inside the company's firewall. This kind of test is used to simulate an attack from a disgruntled employee or an employee whose credentials were stolen during a phishing scam.

Blind Penetration Testing

Here, our cybersecurity expert will only know the name of the company that is being targeted while the company's security experts can witness a real-time assault onto their assets.

Double-blind Penetration Testing

In this type of pen test, the company's security team have no idea that the simulated attack will take place and so, in such a situation, they will have to immediately act as if it were a real breach taking place.

Targeted Penetration Testing

In this situation, the pentester and the company's security personnel are working together and this is used as a proper training exercise whereby the personnel will have feedback and updates from a hacker's point of view, preparing them for any future unforeseen attacks.

Now that you know...

Now that you know how penetration testing can provide you with a real insight into your security posture as well as the pen testing tools and methods involved, you can decide if your company needs one.