Penetration Testing, or Pen Testing, is a commonly used process designed to assess a network’s security by the simulation of an internal or external attack via analysis of possible vulnerabilities.
The testing areas of Penetration Testing generally are:
- Network· Applications
- Work Flow
Bi-annual Penetration Testing is recommended by most experts for keeping networks safe. Ironically, most pen testers do that by actually hacking a customer’s network to find the issues that may very well allow attacks in the future. This process has given rise to the terminology ethical hacking. By using ethical hacking, pen testers have the ability to asses any system’s vulnerability and devise a suitable solution for the network owner. Implementation of that solution along with Bi-annual Penetration Testing can safeguard the network against attacks.
Penetration Testing can:
- Discover all network vulnerabilities prior to any threats being posed
- Create and implement specific solutions to any inherent security problems
- Ensure that all information is completely safe and secure
For those who have never used Penetration Testing, the question often arises as to why it might be needed. Well, whether you are aware of it or not, there is always a limitless supply of people around the world who are intent on nothing more than hacking into your system to acquire data – for any number of reasons. These people, unfortunately, have state-of-the-art technology on their side to make their efforts highly effective. In this day and age, the crooks have the very best high-tech techniques, which is how they prosper. Your network could be compromised in an instant and that could easily result in a security breach that could devastate your organization and decimate your bottom line. Penetration Testing techs will explore all avenues of input, looking for clues, holes and other applications via a systematic probing of a system. In this manner, remote vulnerability and any exploitation of the network from outside sources can be thwarted.
There are two main types of Penetration Testing and they are 1) External Network Penetration Testing and 2) Internal Network Penetration Testing. Many organizations have discovered that the internal threats make up the most significant risk that they have to face every day. Their networks are structured so that they are always allowing users within the company maximum access with minimum security controls in place. Advanced internal attacks could include exploitation of cryptographic weaknesses, network hash passing, buffer overflow and protocol fuzzing.
Now, if you are the owner of a website, you know that your website is effectively the same to you as a corporate office and network would be to a brick and mortar business owner. Because it is so important to your livelihood, you need to protect it from attacks as well and, in some ways, it is more vulnerable than the network of a physical business office. You need Website Penetration Testing at least bi-annually to protect your website from brand damaging and any possible data compromise. A website pen test will also serve you well by developing a cost-effective methodology for targeting serious improvement in your front line of defense against attacks.
As a website owner, what you will get from effective pen testing is a simulated attack, just like a real attack that would be perpetrated by a hacker who does not possess any user ID, password or system knowledge. This will provide an assessment of your website’s external vulnerability quotient by using special scanning tools. The next function of Website Penetration Testing is privileged pen testing, which covers users who are logged in to your website and determines whether someone who is logged in and has authorized access can have the ability of accessing the accounts of any other users as well as all application functions, data, or the back-end of your system.
So, whether you own or manage a small mom-and-pop type business or a massive corporation, an e-commerce website, blog, affiliate site or any other type of website, thinking seriously about Penetration Testing and instituting a regular pen testing schedule that can ensure that your business is not vulnerable from internal or external attacks, and that your data is secure. Don’t leave it up to fate or to wishful thinking. The hackers are not only out there, but possibly even within your organization or user groups, so you might want to consider protecting yourself today with regular Penetration Testing.