Many businesses have already run a vulnerability assessment, so they may ask why they need to take the extra step of running Pen Tests. Penetration testing usually occurs after performing a vulnerability assessment. A vulnerability assessment has the same goals as a Pen Test, but generally, a vulnerability assessment only employs automated vulnerability scanners to spot common issues.
Vulnerability scanning can indeed help by pinpointing security vulnerabilities. Good scans even categorize security risks, assign risk levels, and offer remediation suggestions. While it’s not the same thing as a penetration test, this kind of security assessment may be used to help gather the information that will help plan the test.
In contrast, a Network Pen Tester will engage in what’s called ethical hacking. These ethical hackers will set up tests that behave as if they came from a real digital criminal. Through simulated attacks, computer, internet, and network penetration testing will uncover exactly how systems respond to an actual cybersecurity threat. The security professionals will also provide clear remediation advice that may apply to software, hardware, or even the human side of managing complex digital systems.
Pen testing can offer numerous benefits to any organization concerned about security.
Some of the primary benefits of this type of security testing include:
As technology advances, digital criminals’ methods to exploit weaknesses in an operating system or network also evolve. Some examples of these flaws include social engineering attacks, SQL injection, outdated versions of software, poorly configured firewalls, and malware.
Some security weaknesses could expose sensitive information, which can result in violating compliance requirements, bad press, and of course, the loss of customer trust. On the other hand, exploitable vulnerabilities that merely lead to losing next month’s cafeteria menu may not threaten that much harm to a company. It’s essential to determine the risk levels for various systems to allocate resources accordingly.
Security posture refers to an organization’s overall security status for hardware, software, networks, data, and processes. It includes security controls, security management, and the ability to react and recover to threats. Businesses need to assess and document their security posture before they can hope to improve it. Having a strong security posture can help business leaders make confident decisions and improve their overall trust.
Businesses cannot expect to fix information security for sensitive data until they know the problem exists. Once caught, companies can expect suggestions to remediate issues as the final product of the testing process. While these may include technical recommendations, they may also cover business processes or even employee education about resisting phishing, developing strong passwords, etc.
Penetration testers perform reconnaissance on our target and gather as much information as possible to understand what we’re up against. Our strategy may include active and passive gathering of our target (e.g., the pen tester may or may not have direct contact with the target). Both techniques involve the collection of information undetected by the target.
Threat modeling involves identifying and categorizing assets, threats, and threat communities relevant to the organization being tested. We determine primary and secondary assets, most prominent threats or threat communities, and how these threat communities map to the various assets.
At this point, our penetration testers use the information gathered to analyze. Using a combination of commercially available and internally developed tools, we eliminate non-vulnerable assets and identify exploitable network vulnerabilities through testing, validation, and research.
Often viewed as the most “exciting” phase of penetration testing, we use the groundwork previously established up to this point in the exploitation phase. With this information, we successfully abuse, misuse, and exploit vulnerable systems, networks, devices, physical controls, and humans, carefully documenting the vulnerabilities we uncover along the way.
Once vulnerabilities are uncovered, the work isn’t done. In this testing stage, we determine the value of the compromise, considering data or network sensitivity.
Upon completing the previous five stages, we convey what we’ve learned in educational, actionable terms. We thoroughly outline and present our findings to you with suggestions for prioritizing fixes, walking through the results with you hand-in-hand.
In this age of cloud storage, bring-your-own-devices, and remote work, companies also face increasing security threats. And just as security has evolved, hackers work hard to stay a step ahead of both professionals and their software. All kinds of organizations need to work with security experts to ensure their business systems’ safety.
Moreover, organizations have also suffered a growing number of threats from the inside, either from malicious users or accidental security credentials loss. Even the most loyal and diligent employees have accidentally divulged information or clicked the wrong link because of a lack of security education. Pen testing can help ensure robust security, both against outside attacks and for internal accidents or mischief.
Penetration testing offers you the only true way to know if your digital assets are truly secure and, if they’re not, what security measures you can take to strengthen them. At RedTeam Security, we offer a free security consultation. You can schedule your appointment online or call 612-234-7848 today. Get in touch with RedTeam Security today to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your computer systems and your business reputation.