In today’s world, cybersecurity threats have become more prevalent than ever. The growing number of cyber incidents like ransomware, DDoS attacks, and phishing scams have caused many organizations to rethink their threat management efforts. One way many companies are addressing threat risks and vulnerabilities is through penetration testing solutions.
Penetration and Network Vulnerability Testing and Its Role in Exposing Security Risks
Penetration and vulnerability tests are threat remediation tactics used to improve your network’s resistance to hackers. These procedures are meant to reveal any weaknesses in your system. Once these weaknesses are revealed they can be fixed, effectively boosting the strength of your network’s security.
To understand why companies perform these tests, think of your network like a bank. Your network’s firewall acts as hired security guards and cameras. However, because you know there could be areas where you didn’t think to put a camera or have a guard patrol, you hire someone to try and find those blind spots. If that person discovers a way around your security, you can then adjust your security accordingly.
Penetration Tests vs Vulnerability Tests
Although they’re often confused for one another, there is a difference between penetration testing and vulnerability scanning. Vulnerability testing is used to find vulnerabilities, like employees who can be tricked by social engineering tactics. Penetration tests, on the other hand, are used to find weaknesses in your system.
Who Should Perform Penetration Tests?
Penetration tests, also known as pen tests, work best when performed by someone with little to no knowledge of how your network is secured. Most companies will hire a contractor—often called an ethical hacker—or a penetration testing company to hack into their system. These hackers can range anywhere from experienced developers with advanced degrees to hackers who were self-taught. Some organizations will even have reformed criminal hackers lend their expertise.
Stages of a Pen Test
When performing a pen test, the process will typically go through five stages:
- Planning and reconnaissance
- Gaining access
- Maintaining access
The first step involves identifying the target, deciding on the scale of the attack, and setting up testing methods to use. Once that’s done, the ethical hacker will gather information to use during the attack. The next step is to figure out how the target’s security reporting system reacts to different intrusion attempts. Step three and four are to gain access and maintain access. Finally, when the test is complete, security personnel can analyze the security assessment and fix any flaws.
Types of Pen Tests
There are five different types of pen tests:
- White Box: In a white box test, the ethical hacker will be given some information on the company’s security beforehand.
- Black Box: During a black box test, the hacker will attack the network without any data. This is also called a “blind” test.
- Covert: This is a test where only a small number of people will be aware that a pen test is being performed. This is also known as a “double blind” test.
- External: An external test will target the external assets of the company, like the company’s public website.
- Internal: This pen test starts from inside the firewall and is an internal test.
What Happens After a Pen Test?
After a penetration test is complete, the ethical hacker will then share their findings with the security team. The security team can then use this information to implement updates to erase the flaws that were exposed and improve their security reporting software.
Protect Your Network with PCR Business Systems
Protecting your network from hackers, computer viruses, and other threats require a proactive approach. Don’t wait until it’s too late. PCR Business Systems offers comprehensive cybersecurity services to keep your computer system safe and secure. If you want the best in IT solutions, request a free quote for penetration and vulnerability testing with PCR Business Systems today.