Just as policies, risk assessments, business continuity planning and disaster recovery have become integral parts of an organization’s security, penetration testing should also be included in the overall security plan. Among the most popular penetration testing distributions is what is known as “Backtrack.” The entire distribution was designed from the ground up for penetration testers. The distribution comes with several security tools pre-installed, configured and ready to use. When you go to the Backtrack link, you can choose between an .iso image or a VMware image.
Penetration testers performing these tests must be able to create their target network based on observations. To perform black-box penetration testing, the tester must be familiar with manual penetration testing methods and automated scanning tools. These tests help the organization proactively look for vulnerabilities in its infrastructure, applications incident response plan and people to develop effective controls that are continuous and can keep pace with the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. The security team builds on the foundation established in the previous phases and begins penetration testing. They go to great lengths when it comes to abusing, mistreating and exploiting systems that are deemed vulnerable.
The experts who perform penetration testing are called “pentesters.” Pentesters have the technology and hacking skills to fake a hack into your system, network or application. Today’s technological advances, however, make it easier than ever for malicious actors to find the most vulnerable points in an organization. The goal of penetration testing is to help organizations identify where they are most likely to be exposed to attack and proactively strengthen those vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them. As cyberattacks become more commonplace, it’s more important than ever to conduct regular vulnerability scans and penetration tests to identify vulnerabilities and ensure cyber controls are working. Simply put, penetration testing is a process of testing the security of a system or software application through a deliberate attempt to compromise security. It tests the vulnerability of underlying network configurations and operating systems.
The resulting scenarios provide an overall strategic view of the potential exploitation methods, risk, and impact of an intrusion. Covert testing typically has defined limits, such as stopping testing when a certain level of access is reached or a certain type of damage can be achieved as the next step in testing. These limits are used to prevent damage, but it has been proven that damage can occur. The summarized results of a penetration test are essential for assessing the current security level of your IT systems. They can provide your company’s top management with detailed information about the vulnerabilities found, their reality, and their potential impact on system operations and performance.
Hacking can be defined as a legal and authorized attempt to locate and successfully use computer systems to make them more secure. The process involves finding vulnerabilities and conducting proof-of-concept attacks to show that the vulnerabilities actually exist. Penetration testing should play an important role in the overall security of an organization.
While management teams can be confident that these tools are viable, they cannot place any degree of trust in them until appropriate testing has been performed. These errors could allow criminals to disable security tools, allowing attacks to succeed and resulting in financial losses. Security attacks can compromise your sensitive data, resulting in the loss of trusted customers and serious damage to your image. Penetration testing can help you avoid costly security breaches that put your company’s reputation and your customers’ loyalty at risk.