26 September 2023

Pentesting: Everything you need to know about

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Ankit Pahuja* says pentesting regularly can identify system vulnerabilities before they can be exploiter by hackers.

In the digital age, businesses are more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks.

Hackers can gain access to your confidential data, steal your customers’ information, and cripple your systems if you’re not prepared.

That’s why it’s so important to pentest your business regularly—to identify any vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by hackers.

In this post, we’ll discuss what pentesting is, why you need it, and how to do it safely and effectively.

We’ll also provide a checklist for penetration testing methodology so you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your pentesting process.

What is pentesting?

A penetration test, often known as pentesting, is a technique for evaluating the security of a computer system by simulating an attack from malevolent outsiders (or “black hat hackers”).

The goal is to identify any vulnerabilities so they can be fixed before real attackers have time to exploit them.

Penetration testing is often called “ethical hacking,” because they use the same techniques as bad actors with permission from your company so that you’ll know where your weaknesses lie and how strong your defences really are against outside attacks.

For example: if someone were able to access one portion of our network through phishing emails sent internally at work, this would allow them access to other parts which should not normally be available unless physically present in person within another location such as our office building—such as proprietary source code repositories for software components that are licensed under strict non-disclosure agreement contracts between partners and clients or customers worldwide.

Why is pentesting important?

It’s vital to pentest since it helps you find vulnerabilities in your network before hackers can use them.

Ethical hacking is done on a regular basis by security professionals to make sure there aren’t any weaknesses in their systems, so this will give companies peace of mind knowing where they need improvement when it comes time for an actual attack from bad actors with malicious intent who don’t have permission from the owners or operators of these targets like us do when conducting our own audits internally at work (e.g., phishing emails sent internally).

Features for effective pentesting

There are a number of features that make penetration testing effective:

  • A variety of hacking tools and techniques to use
  • Realistic scenarios that mimic actual attacks
  • The ability to test your defences against these attacks
  • Detailed reports that help you understand the results of the pentest

How to do pentesting safely and effectively

When conducting a pentest, it’s important to do so safely and effectively.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your pentesting process:

  • Make sure you have permission from your company before starting.
  • Hackers without permission can be arrested and prosecuted.
  • To begin, complete a risk assessment to figure out which systems and data are most essential to safeguard.

This will assist you in deciding where to concentrate your efforts during the penetration test.

  • To discover security flaws, utilize a range of hacking tools and methods.

Don’t rely on one method, as this may not be effective against all types of defences.

  • Test your defences against realistic scenarios to see how they hold up.

Hackers are constantly inventing new ways to assault networks, so you must be vigilant for everything.

  • Review the results of the pentest carefully and take action to fix any vulnerabilities that were found.

Don’t just ignore them because they’re difficult or time-consuming to fix.

The sooner you address them, the less likely it is that they’ll be exploited by hackers.

Checklist for pentesting methodology

  • The pentesting team should be comprised of a variety of experts, including system administrators, security analysts, network engineers, and developers.
  • The penetration testing process should be well-defined and followed consistently in order to produce accurate results.
  • Vulnerability scanners should be used to look for possible vulnerabilities on the target systems.
  • Security testing tools such as fuzzers and exploit frameworks can be used to simulate real-world attacks.
  • Penetration testers should have a good understanding of how networks work and the various types of attacks that can be launched against them.
  • The test environment should accurately reflect the production environment as much as possible.
  • Pentesters should always follow company policies and procedures when conducting tests.
  • Pentesters should never compromise security or disrupt business operations while conducting tests.

Final thoughts on pentesting for your business?

It’s important to remember that pentesting is not a one-time activity, and it needs to be repeated periodically so that you’re aware of any new vulnerabilities as they arise or even before then.

Think like your company’s adversaries when performing these tests: What would an attacker want most from us right now?

What kind of access might they have already gained through phishing emails sent internally at work?

How can we prevent them from gaining further entry points into our network without disrupting operations too much with firewalls/filters which might block legitimate traffic as well?

In conclusion, you must be proactive about penetration testing.

You can’t just wait until your company gets hacked before starting these tests; otherwise, it will be too late! And remember: The goal isn’t necessarily perfection- it’s a continuous improvement over time.

*Ankit Pahuja is the Marketing Lead & Evangelist at Astra Security.

This article first appeared at bdtechtalks.com.

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