While going through the threats and vulnerabilities its worthwhile to write up a post on process and methods by which a vulnerability are identified and remediated. This is a first of many writing about the penetration testing.

The current trend is to strengthen the security requirements for customers, partners and investors which will maintain a trust on the business. 

Introduction

The introduction of the GDPR years ago enabled companies to become aware of data security issues in business sectors where risk awareness was previously low. Security certifications (ISO 27001, HDS, PCI-DSS, SOC2, etc.) are increasingly popular among companies to maintain a hygiene in security standards

There are various types of security audits, mainly: organisational audits, technical audits, and penetration testing. These different types of audits can be carried out on a wide scope, depending on whether the company wishes to evaluate its entire information system or only certain areas identified as priorities. In this article, we focus on penetration testing

What is Penetration testing?

Penetration Testing or Pen Testing is a type of testing used to uncover vulnerabilities, threats and risks that an attacker could exploit in software applications, networks or web applications. The purpose of penetration testing is to identify and test all possible security vulnerabilities that are present in the software application. Vulnerability is the risk that an attacker can disrupt or gain authorized access to the system or any data contained within it.

Causes of Vulnerabilities

  • Design and development errors
  • Poor system configuration
  • Human errors
  • Connectivity
  • Complexity
  • Passwords
  • User Input
  • Management
  • Lack of training to staff
  • Communication

Why Penetration testing?

Penetration is essential in an enterprise because –

  • Financial or critical data must be secured while transferring it between different systems or over the network.
  • Many clients are asking for pen testing as part of the software release cycle.
  • To secure user data.
  • To find security vulnerabilities in an application.
  • To discover loopholes in the system.
  • To assess the business impact of successful attacks.
  • To meet the information security compliance in the organization.
  • To implement an effective security strategy in the organization.

 Penetration testing Phases

A penetration test is based on a four-phase methodology, which is a cyclic process: Reconnaissance, Mapping, Discovery, Exploitation.

Reconnaissance

The recon phase consists in searching for open-source information on the target of the security audit. All information potentially useful for an attacker is collected, for example: IP addresses, domain and sub-domain names, types and versions of technologies used, technical information shared on forums or social networks, data leaks…

Mapping

The mapping phase allows listing all functionalities of the audit target. This step enables pen testers to have a better visibility on the most critical and exposed elements. This step is particularly essential when the objective of the security audit is to conduct tests on all the functionalities of a target.

Discovery

The discovery phase is an attack phase: pen testers look for vulnerabilities through manual searches complemented by automated tools. The objective is to discover as many vulnerabilities as possible on the target.

Exploitation

The exploitation phase consists in testing possible exploitations of the flaws identified in the previous phase. This step allows using certain flaws as “pivots”, in order to discover new vulnerabilities. The exploitation of security vulnerabilities allows evaluating their real impact and thus their criticality level.

Once the target set, Rules of engagement , scope of engagement finalized , we are good to go with the actual process
Will discuss in detail in future writeup posts.