5 Types of Penetration Testing Examined
Pen testing, or penetration testing as it is more generally called, can be difficult. This article will break down some of the most prevalent types of penetration testing to help you decide if and which pen test is best for your organization.
In general, penetration testing is the process of assessing the security of your network and systems to determine whether they are secure against a cyber assault.
A penetration tester acts as a hacker, looking for flaws in your network to get access to sensitive information or systems.
Who performs the penetration testing?
Security experts such as network engineers, security analysts, and system administrators are typically responsible for penetration testing. They employ specialized tools and procedures to identify potential vulnerabilities in your network and systems, allowing you to pinpoint your weaknesses and target remedial efforts.
Once a scope has been agreed upon, the pen testers will attempt to hack into your systems and then offer a report on the vulnerabilities discovered, including recommendations on how to fix them so they are not exploited in a real-world attack.
What types of penetration test are there?
When it comes to penetration testing, there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ solution. In truth, there are various sorts of penetration testing, each with its own objective and approach.
Let’s look at a few of these.
Network Penetration Testing
Network pen tests, one of the most prevalent types of penetration testing, are designed to focus on exploiting a company network, however they can be performed externally or inside.
External network testing entail penetration testers attempting to break the perimeters of your internet-facing infrastructure in order to determine if there are any security flaws that could jeopardise your organisation.
Internal tests, on the other hand, assume that the attacker has already gained access to the company network. In fact, this might be a hacker with unauthorized access or an employee with authorized access. Internal network penetration testing are an excellent way for firms to assess whether they have any susceptible areas that need to be addressed before any staff mistakes, with the incidence of inside attacks increasing by 44% in 2022.
Web Application Penetration Testing
According to reports, web applications are the primary targets in 86% of data breaches, indicating that they are a common attack vector for hackers. But, vulnerabilities can often emerge during the development of a piece of software or website, posing a risk to the firm that uses it.
With businesses increasingly relying on web-based apps for corporate operations, web application pen testing is a handy tool for identifying any security problems that could jeopardise sensitive data. This is especially important for businesses that accept online payments.
Exploiting software vulnerabilities is a common hazard to businesses. This is why it’s critical to install security updates as soon as they’re available.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing
Mobile apps, like online applications, are on the rise and pose a big threat to businesses if not maintained safe. As a result, every organization that operates a mobile app or uses mobile apps for various business activities should consider mobile application penetration testing to guarantee that these apps are securely processing and storing data.
Security experts will analyse the design of the application and attempt to exploit common mobile security concerns such as insecure data storage, untrusted inputs, and faulty cryptography.
The testing often comprises of a static analysis, in which parts such as source code are extracted and evaluated without being executed, or a dynamic analysis, in which the program is inspected for mistakes or vulnerabilities while it is operating.
With hackers using social engineering methods in 98% of cyber attacks, social engineering penetration testing is a valuable approach for businesses to assess their defences and expose their weak points.
Penetration testers simulate popular social engineering tactics like phishing in order to trick your employees into clicking a malicious link and granting access to your corporate network, just like a real cyber attack. The test will disclose how vulnerable your employees are to these types of assaults and whether there is room for improvement in terms of cyber awareness among your team.
Wireless Penetration Testing
A wireless penetration test attempts to exploit the wireless network to ensure that your Wi-Fi and wireless devices are completely safe. Wireless technologies such as Bluetooth are included.
These tests are typically carried out on-site in order to be in range of the wireless signal. Pen testers will next commence reconnaissance and vulnerability scanning to confirm that the company and guest wireless networks are properly configured and do not pose any dangers.
Wireless networks are frequently easier for hackers to infiltrate, thus it is critical to ensure that these entry points are secure.
Which pen test is right for me?
The type of penetration testing you choose will be determined by your company’s needs and current infrastructure. Keep in mind that some of the above-mentioned categories of penetration testing may overlap; for example, social engineering testing may appear in a variety of different types of penetration testing.
If you’re not sure where to begin, many pen test companies will be able to advise you on how to get the most out of it. But, if you want further advise on where to focus your pen test, we recommend starting with vulnerability testing.
This is a significantly less expensive method of finding security flaws without exposing your network, like a penetration test would. Many businesses discover that a vulnerability assessment is all they require; however, if you determine that a penetration test might be advantageous in the future, a vulnerability scan will help you restrict your focus and ensure that your investment is effectively spent.