Today’s bad actors are constantly developing creative ways to access internal infrastructure. Within this ever-evolving landscape, you need more than a simple scan — you need network penetration testing (network pen testing) that assesses your organization’s readiness to respond to, contain and prevent a potential system breach.
What Are Penetration Testing Services?
Pen testing services objectively evaluate your system and team’s preparedness to withstand a cyberattack. Experienced pen testing providers engage in modern hacking tactics and simulate a real-life threat to test your defense tools and strategies. These testers are cybersecurity experts and often maintain credentials in Certified Ethical Hacking (CEH).
With no actual risk involved, pen testing is a safe way to expose potential vulnerabilities and make proactive adjustments.
What Are the Different Types of Pen Testing?
Pen testing methodologies fall into three different categories — black-box, white-box or gray-box testing.
In black-box testing, the hacking team gets no upfront knowledge about your systems or their defenses. Many prefer this approach because it can show you precisely how someone could gain unauthorized entry and exploit your business data without inside information. Black-box testing is ideal for more mature environments with well-defined intrusion detection and prevention strategies.
Conversely, white-box is the precise opposite of the previous approach. Under this methodology, the hacking team receives important information about internal assets and protocols in advance. This data lets them concentrate on exploiting specific vulnerabilities rather than overall defenses. White-box testing is often a perfect solution for assessing new application features or network branches.
Gray-box testing combines the above two approaches. With this technique, the hacking team receives more information than they would with a black-box methodology but less than in a white-box test setting. Testers often use this style to simulate an attack on a particular target, such as a specific server, network or host.
Pen Testing Focuses
Pen testers help objectively assess different infrastructure components, like:
What Are the Steps of a Pen Test?
A comprehensive pen test follows five basic steps, including:
- Planning: You’ll work with the tester to define the test’s scope, targets and goals and choose the appropriate methodology.
- Scanning: The pen testing team will use static and dynamic analysis to scan code and assess how your systems respond to different types of intrusion attempts.
- Simulating: During this stage, testers will try different attack methods commonly employed by hackers today to gain entry, see which vulnerabilities they can exploit and how long they can maintain access.
- Reporting: After the pen test, you’ll receive documentation about discovered vulnerabilities, the amount and confidentiality level of accessed data, and the duration of undetected access.
- Improving: Pen testing companies typically provide recommendations to harden systems and boost your security posture in the future.