A penetration test, often known as a pen test, replicates a cyberattack on your computer system to check for vulnerabilities. Penetration testing is frequently used to supplement a firewall in the context of web-based application security (WAF).
Pen testing involves attempting to get into various application systems (such as frontend/backend servers and application-level interfaces (APIs)) in order to find security flaws such as anonymized inputs that are vulnerable to software cross-site scripting. The penetration tester’s insights can be used to polish your WAF security procedures and address any vulnerabilities that were found.
The objectives of a penetration test can change depending on the sort of authorized activity for any specific engagement, but their main focus is on identifying risks that can be utilized by malicious parties and providing the client with advice on how to fix them.
Penetration tests are an element of a full security inspection. For instance, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard mandates penetration testing on a regular basis and following system modifications. Penetration testing can also support threat assessments as outlined in the NIST Risk Management Framework SP 800-53.
Penetration Testing Phases
- Preparation and Research:
The first phase entails:
- Defining a test’s goals and objectives, the systems being tested, and the analytical techniques to be applied.
- Obtaining intelligence to learn more about a target’s operations and potential weaknesses (such as network and web addresses, mail servers, etc.).
The next stage is to comprehend how distinct intrusion attempts will be handled by the target application. The basic strategy for accomplishing this is
- Static analysis: Analyzing the source code of a program to predict how it will function when it is executed. These tools have the ability to scan the entire code in a single cycle.
- Dynamic analysis: Examining a running application’s code. Due to the fact that it provides real-time information about an application’s performance, this scanning technique is more beneficial.
- Gaining access:
Attackers can use the information acquired during the reconnaissance and scanning stages to their advantage by utilizing payloads to target weak points in systems. For instance, automating attacks against known vulnerabilities is possible with Metasploit.
- Maintaining Access:
You must adopt the necessary security measures to remain in the target region continuously and gather as much information as you can in order to maintain access.
The results of the penetration test are then included in a report with the following details:
- Certain vulnerabilities that were exploited
- Access to private information
- The duration of time the pen tester was able to stay in the system without being detected
Security specialists examine this data to assist in configuring an enterprise’s WAF settings and other application security solutions to fix vulnerabilities and defend against future threats.
Types of Penetration Tests
- Infrastructure And Network Penetration Testing
- Web Application Penetration Testing
- Mobile Application Penetration Testing
- Social Engineering Penetration Testing