Penetration testing is simply a process that tests a business’ cybersecurity preparedness against attack. Essentially, cybersecurity professionals use the playbook of a cybercriminal to find vulnerabilities in a business’ network. Doing so will expose any issues a business’ network might have so that they can effectively alter their cybersecurity strategy to ensure that their network is protected.
The pen tester typically uses the following strategies:
- Scoping – An agreement is struck between the pen tester and a client for an evaluation to be carried out. A non-disclosure agreement is often signed.
- Information Gathering – Using a lot of publicly available data, the pen tester builds a profile on the company and its technology to help identify vulnerabilities.
- Probing – The pen tester sends probes into the targeted infrastructure to collect any information they can. This informs them of which attacks are most likely to work effectively.
- Attack – The pen tester attempts to actively penetrate the targeted system using the strategy they have developed, collecting data all the while. They may or may not target all the vulnerabilities they identified.
- Camping – Once they have successfully infiltrated the system, the pen tester makes sure they can return by installing software. This software will even persist if a network admin reboots the system or makes changes to it.
- Clean-Up – When their evaluation is completed, the pen tester removes any software they installed and undoes anything they did, returning the system to the way it was when they first attacked.
Once these steps are complete, they will have all the information they need to provide a business with their report. The report will include the vulnerabilities that have been identified during the test, typically itemized by potential severity, and the professional recommendation on how to adjust the cybersecurity strategy. Once the changes are made, another pen test is performed until the business has a fully secured network.
Why Actively Use Penetration Testing?
The answer comes in the form of panic. The negative results of a network breach where your clients’ data is lost, or your network is infiltrated with malicious software, are numerous, but the number one issue is that if your business is functioning with an insecure network, and it’s exposed as such, it will have negative repercussions. You will lose consumer confidence, you will spend thousands (or millions) on cleaning up a mess that you could have avoided if you had been diligent enough to just get your network tested, and made much less expensive adjustments.
If you would like to talk to one of our IT experts about penetration testing, or any other cybersecurity question you may have, reach out to Aspire today at (469) 7-ASPIRE. You will be glad you did.