Why is there a need to breach your own security system?
Business operations today are not confined to a single location, rather the influence is beyond geographic boundaries, with the help of IoT and cloud computing. However, the benefit of this global business reach also makes the network susceptible to high profile cyber attacks and APT(advance persistence threat). Then there are vicious ransomware and insider threats looming constantly over the IT domain. This makes it absolutely necessary for the organizations to identify potential threats and keep the guard up. Therefore, it is necessary for the organizations to test the level of security management they have adopted. This is carried out with the latest technique of penetration testing, which identifies, understands, and rectifies the potential threats. In other words, it is an authorized, proactive approach to measure the level of established security system.
It is absolutely necessary for organizations to demystify security threats through network testing protocol. It can proactively shield the IT landscape from internet or intranet launch cyber attack. It is evident that vulnerabilities of network have the ability to personify polar differences, which can take many forms. The vulnerabilities can be found in remote system, compromise password, network device & service, web server, and last but not the least database.
Salient features of penetration testing
- Threat identification
- Perimeter security evaluation
- Industry regulations
- Security cost control measures
- Anti vulnerabilities solutions
- Legal compliance
- Validation of security protocol
- Justification of ROI on IT
Types of penetration testing
There are different types of penetration testing procedures; each one has its own set of characteristics. However, there is one which is common between all of them, that is, it improves the overall operational efficiency of the entire organizational IT security.
External Network Penetration testing —–
The main target of this kind of testing is to probe the existence of known security vulnerabilities, which can easily be manipulated by the attacker, because they appear to be outside the network perimeter. This process of testing basically deals with the analysis of information, which is available publically. This process also encompasses the process of network enumeration phase along with the analysis of the behavioral traits of the security device. External network testing is also known as the traditional approach of testing, whereby the servers are assessed thoroughly, along with technology infrastructure and associated software. One of the key features of this kind of testing is that, it is performed without any prior knowledge of the target environment. Therefore, organizations need to select a technology partner, who would be able to understand the requirement in detail and come out with workable solutions. Different kinds of web & mail servers, routers, firewalls, IDPS, etc should undergo the process of penetration testing.
Internal network penetration testing —
When there is a need to get a holistic picture of the security infrastructure of the organization, this kind of testing procedure is carried out. This method of performing this technique is similar to external network penetration testing but only in much more detail. The best way of carrying out the assessment, is to perform the test from multiple network access point, which are a representation of every network segment both logical and physical. This type of testing is carried out to check the capability of the system to withstand attacks from any distinguished employee, having extensive knowledge about the IT landscape of the organization. Therefore, from an organizational point of view we see that, this kind of testing is very important, as the same helps maintain the integrity of workflows, within an organization.
Method of penetration testing
- Identification of targets – The targets are identified from DNS, Google searches, WHIOS,
client inputs and many more.
- Port Scanning
- System Fingerprinting
- Identification of vulnerabilities in perimeter devices, OS, services, and web servers.
- Check for mandate, if it allows for exploitation or not.
- If no- then it can be taken as a non-destructive exploitation of vulnerabilities, leading to complete report writing.
- If yes, then look for deeper network penetration and exploring all other possibilities.
Along with these steps it is important to do a complete profiling of the system, which involves gathering of maximum information about the target network. This information will be used for designing possible ways to breach the system. Then we have the process of discovery and enumeration, which involves using tools and sometimes manual techniques to spot the live host in the network.