What Are Penetration Tests And Why Are They Important?
As described above, there are many reasons to perform regular penetration testing in your environment. The final factor that impacts the frequency of penetration testing in an organization is the infrastructure in which the data is stored. As cloud environments become more prevalent for data storage, regulations against external penetration testing can impact who and when penetration testing is performed. In some cases, cloud service providers perform penetration testing of their infrastructure internally to prevent accidental damage to organizations using shared resources. Another reason that contributes to the importance of penetration testing is to provide information about the effectiveness of the security tools that vendors use in their daily operations. Most manufacturers and producers use some form of security tools, such as backup software, anti-virus and anti-malware services, and system maintenance tools.
This type of testing is done using a phone or the Internet to test specific help desks, employees and processes. These security rules and measures are followed by all employees to prevent attacks. It is a process of identifying security vulnerabilities in an application by evaluating a system or network using various malicious techniques.
If testers are given a list of approved IP addresses to target, they must verify that all public addresses (i.e., non-private, non-forwardable addresses) fall within the organization’s scope before beginning testing. Web sites that provide domain name registration information (e.g., WHOIS) can be used to identify the owners of address spaces. Because the tester’s traffic is typically routed through a firewall, the amount of information obtained from the scan is much less than if the test were risk management conducted from an internal perspective. After the testers identify hosts on the network that can be accessed from the outside, they attempt to compromise one of those hosts. If successful, this access can be used to compromise other hosts that are not normally accessible from outside the network. For example, a penetration tester might violate physical security controls and procedures to hack into a network, steal devices, intercept confidential information, or disrupt communications.
The frequency of testing depends on the organization’s risk assessment and organizational structure. As with a simulated cyberattack, ethical hacking techniques help security professionals evaluate the effectiveness of information security measures in their organizations. Pen testing attempts to penetrate the armor of an organization’s cyber defenses and look for exploitable vulnerabilities in networks, web applications and user security.
While there are several types of penetration testing available to manufacturers and producers, there are also many limitations that can hinder the effectiveness of penetration testing. A blog article from Tutorials Point discusses seven limitations that can impact the effectiveness of a penetration test. The second reason why penetration testing is necessary is to detect previously unknown vulnerabilities. In the worst case scenario, there are exploitable vulnerabilities in your infrastructure or applications while the leadership team assumes the assets are protected. The thought of being unassailable leads to decisions that result in a further lack of awareness as attackers test your assets.
Penetration testing tools and automated tools look for issues such as weak data encryption and hard-coded values in application code, such as passwords. They help companies find out how well their organization is complying with current security policies. It is also a great way to measure the security awareness of employees at all levels of the organization. In the post-exploitation phase, penetration testing experts examine the extent of damage a hacker could cause by exploiting a vulnerability found in a component.
During the risk assessment, you will evaluate the impact of not complying with certain laws and regulations if you do not test your products for penetration. Non-compliance can result in a large fine, loss of operating license, or in the worst case scenario, imprisonment. It is important to seek legal advice to assess local laws and regulations and ensure your company is in compliance. If your company is a financial institution in Singapore, it must comply with local financial regulations such as the MAS Technology Risk Management NoticeMAS Technology Risk Management Notice. Under MAS TRM, you are required to conduct security assessments such as penetration testing and other forms of security assessment for your IT infrastructure and applications. Penetration testing requires specialized skills that most organizations do not have.
With the widespread adoption of smartphones, companies have had to develop mobile-friendly websites as more people use their cell phones to access company websites. Many websites require personal data to be entered, and cell phones have become increasingly vulnerable to attacks that expose sensitive data and customer information. While many companies test their own databases for vulnerabilities, they cannot adequately ensure the security of data entered into their mobile applications. A web application penetration test can correct this oversight and help an organization improve online security for itself and its customers. Penetration testing is very useful in mapping the various attack lifecycles or cyber kill chain within your organization.