Over a period of last few years, Cyber threats have increased dramatically, breach into an organisation’s security system by hackers makes organizational infrastructure at risk. Hence creating an organisation with a highly secured environment for IT infrastructure is crucial. Penetration testing becomes extremely important as it helps businesses find out their vulnerabilities and proactively act upon, before exploitation by hackers.
What is penetration testing?
It is a widely acknowledged important part of a cyber security team to perform a simulated cyberattack on a computer system or network under secured condition, also it evaluates the safety of a machine or an application. It involves identifying vulnerabilities in a particular network and attempting to exploit them to penetrate into the system. This helps to assess the strength and effectiveness of the security system of an organisation. Here we check the weaknesses (called vulnerabilities), inclusive of the potential for unauthorized events to advantage access to the system’s features and statistics as well as strengths, permitting a full assessment to be finished.
How does it work?
We identify targeted systems, with a specific goal to identify and review given information and initiate various steps to attain our goal. The goal of penetration testing may be a white box or a black box or a grey box penetration test – which is a combination of both black and white box testing. A penetration test detects possibly all vulnerabilities of a given computer for a cyberattack and estimates its severities or risk.
Tester can identifies such vulnerability in a systematic procedures,
➢ Locating an exploitable vulnerability.
➢ Making a plan to attack around it.
➢ Test the attack.
➢ Capture a line in use.
➢ Enter the attack.
➢ Explore an entry for information recovery.
The aim of penetration testing is to determine whether a vulnerability identified is genuine. In other words, genuine vulnerability is reflected in the report only when the pen tester manages to exploit a potentially vulnerable spot.
What are the main phases of penetration testing?
The five main phases of penetration testing:
- Reconnaissance: This comes as the first phase of the penetration testing. Here the tester collects the records from the targeted system. Here we carry out active or passive. It helps in gathering information about targeted systems which also includes network components, active machines, open ports and access points, operating system details, etc.
- Scanning : This is a more tool oriented phase, which makes use of technical gear to gather further information on the attacker’s device. In this phase more than one scanner tools such as port scanners, network scanners, and vulnerability scanners are used. Enough vulnerabilities are detected by pen testers, which helps in turn to attack targets in a more sophisticated manner.
- Gaining access: Using the data gathered, helps the tester to establish connection to targeted systems. After having access, we explore vulnerabilities found may be a kind of buffer attack or creating a threat model. This is done basically to extract more information and sensitive data from the server.
- Maintaining access: By maintaining access or entry to the target environment, will help further explore, penetrate the target system in depth and collect as much data’s as possible and identify hidden vulnerabilities to assess their risk involved.
- Covering tasks: In this phase, any type of data gathered, log events, any traces of backlog data’s, footprints etc. will be cleared in order to remain anonymous. The findings and detailed explanations of the test performed are recorded.
After exploring the phase of penetration testing on a targeted system, the tester gets access to other systems as well and tries to repeat the process in a similar manner, look for new vulnerabilities and try to exploit them to strengthen the security system.
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