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Pen Testing Explained

April 6, 2023

Pen testing, also known as penetration testing, is a method used to establish the security of different applications and systems. This could include mobile application testing, cloud and network configuration reviews and API testing. There is a wide range of penetration testing types, so it can be confusing to work out what is best for your business.

Read on to find out more about what penetration testing actually is and what the differences are between the range of penetration tests.

 

What is penetration testing?

 

Penetration testing is a method of assessing the security of computer systems, networks or web applications by simulating an attack from a malicious actor. The goal of penetration testing is to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers and to provide recommendations for improving the security posture of the system.

 

What are the different types of penetration testing?

 

Network Penetration Testing

This aims to find vulnerabilities in the network and highlight any security issues in order to increase protection against hackers. This process involves attempting to use vulnerabilities to exploit them, showing you how your systems could be improved. A report will be provided to let you know the risks in your system and how to fix this.

 

Web Application Penetration Testing

If you need website testing, this is the best option. It can be used for any custom application, focusing on coding and design flaws that could leave you exposed. You will need to have information ready on the number of apps that you want to get tested and the number of dynamic pages, static pages and input fields that you are looking to get assessed.

 

Wireless Network Penetration Testing

Wireless penetration testing specifically tests an organisation’s wireless local area network. It can highlight rogue access points, WPA vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your encryption. You will only need to let the tester know how many wireless and guest networks there are, their locations and the unique SSIDs in order to carry out the test.

 

Social Engineering Testing

This is suitable for systems and personnel who may be at risk of email phishing attacks. A social engineering test can assess how your technology and staff respond to phishing emails and offer further insight into the risks of customised phishing and business email compromise attacks.

 

Physical Penetration Testing

This test looks at physical controls to ensure that they are as secure as possible and identify any weaknesses. This could include parts such as locks, fences, cameras, security guards and any other physical security measures in place. In a physical penetration test, there will be attempts to get through these physical barriers to access data and restricted areas. This can identify any points of weakness and you will be provided with advice on how to improve your physical security measures.

 

Why is penetration testing important?

 

Penetration testing is important because it helps organisations identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in their security systems before malicious actors can exploit them. By conducting regular penetration testing, organisations can proactively identify and address security issues, reduce the risk of data breaches and protect their reputation.

 

What are the steps involved in a typical penetration testing process?

 

A typical penetration testing process involves several steps, including scoping and reconnaissance, vulnerability scanning, exploitation, post-exploitation and reporting. The exact steps may vary depending on the type of penetration test being performed.

 

How frequently should an organisation conduct penetration testing?

 

The frequency of penetration testing depends on several factors, including the size and complexity of the organisation, the sensitivity of the data being protected and the regulatory requirements. As a general rule, organisations should conduct penetration testing at least once a year, but more frequent testing may be necessary for high-risk environments.

 

How long does a penetration test typically take?

 

The duration of a penetration test depends on the scope of the assessment, the complexity of the system being tested and the availability of resources. A typical penetration test can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete.

 

What are some common penetration testing tools and techniques?

 

There are many penetration testing tools and techniques, including vulnerability scanners, password-cracking tools, network sniffers and social engineering tactics. The specific tools and techniques used will depend on the type of penetration testing being performed.

 

How can an organisation prepare for penetration testing?

 

To prepare for penetration testing, organisations should establish clear goals and objectives for the assessment, identify the scope of the testing, ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the testing and make sure that any necessary resources are available.

 

What happens after penetration testing?

 

After the penetration testing is completed, the results will be analysed and reported to the organisation. The report will include a summary of the findings, recommendations for remediation and an action plan for addressing any vulnerabilities or weaknesses identified during the testing.

 

How much does penetration testing typically cost?

 

The cost of penetration testing depends on several factors, including the scope of the assessment, the complexity of the system being tested and the availability of resources. A typical penetration test can cost anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of pounds.

 

Final Thoughts

 

With such a wide range of pen testing types, it’s highly likely that one or more of them could be beneficial to your business. As more and more information is stored online and issues regarding privacy and data protection are rife, it’s never been more important to ensure you have strong, protected networks as well as physical security.

No matter what your business, a breach is serious, so make sure to schedule your pen tests today, or get in touch with a professional who can help you decide what is best for you.

 

Why choose Eventura for a your cybersecurity?

 

With over 20 years experience in cybersecurity, we know our stuff. Our team of cybersecurity experts and complete a full audit of your business and identify any areas of weakness, which could leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks.

We were even mentioned in the Governments National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Annual Review 2020 when we were chosen to test their “Exercise in a Box” designed to help small businesses prepare and respond to cyberthreats. You can read the article here.

There is a common misconception that cyberattacks don’t happen to SMEs but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With our expert knowledge, we can help you protect your business’s future from the ever increasing threat of cybercriminals.

If you would like to speak to one of our cybersecurity experts or request a cybersecurity audit or pen testing for your organisation, you can request a free call back here.

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