To avoid falling victim to a hacker, you need to think like a hacker… a few words about pentests
Maintaining IT security while maintaining operability is a challenge for most organizations. One way to check the effectiveness of existing solutions is to perform penetration tests. Penetration testing allows for testing the security measures against hacking attacks.
Penetration testing refers to the IT infrastructure security process, which involves evaluating data resources (such as networks or applications) for security weaknesses and vulnerabilities to cyber threats. Penetration testing is nothing more than controlled hacking attacks carried out according to the principle: "to avoid falling victim to a hacker, you must think like a hacker."
Organizations should regularly conduct penetration tests to ensure that they are properly protecting the cybersecurity of their resources.
What are penetration tests? An in-depth explanation
Penetration tests, also known as pentests, are simulated hacking attacks on IT systems that aim to provide a realistic evaluation of the current state of the security of digital assets. These assets can include networks, various types of applications (web, mobile, desktop), and the entire IT infrastructure.
During pentests, an analysis of potential security vulnerabilities is carried out, which can be caused by improper configuration, security gaps, weaknesses in technical or procedural solutions, or insufficient user awareness.
Effective penetration tests should closely resemble real-world hacking attacks and should result in a report that includes detected vulnerabilities and solutions for eliminating or reducing the possibility of their exploitation by cybercriminals.
Penetration tests can also be referred to as ethical hacking, pentesting, or IT security testing.
What are the types of pentests?
Usually, there are three types of penetration tests, which depend on the level of knowledge about the area being tested:
- Black Box Pentest - the pentester has no knowledge about the tested area and does not have access rights or access to diagrams/architecture; it is used to simulate an external attack.
- White Box Pentest - the pentester has full knowledge about the tested area and has access rights and access to diagrams/architecture; it is used to simulate external and internal attacks.
- Grey Box Pentest - something between Black Box and White Box Pentests; in this case, the pentester may receive partial information about the tested area.
Read also: The most popular methods of cyber attacks on companies and their clients
Who conducts penetration tests?
The analysis of systems is carried out from the perspective of a potential intruder, also known as a pentester or ethical hacker.
Penetration testers should have as little knowledge as possible about the environment being tested, and ideally, they should have no knowledge at all and come from outside the organization being tested. This is because only then can they objectively look at the area being tested and identify the most vulnerabilities and inconsistencies. A professional tester will undoubtedly notice errors that were overlooked by the programmers who built the system.
Pentesters should not only be well-versed in cyber threats, but also familiar with the latest methods used by hackers.
It is also possible to conduct penetration tests independently, using special software. However, these tests will not be as effective as those conducted by qualified, professional pentesters.
How often should pentests be performed?
The more often organizations perform penetration tests, the better. However, it is worth establishing a certain regularity and conducting pentests regularly according to it. An optimal solution would be to perform tests once a year and at times when there are major changes in specific areas or new solutions or systems are being implemented.
Pentests hold the key to cyber resilience
Cyberattacks can disrupt the operations of any company, cause reputational damage, and result in financial penalties. That's why every organization should regularly conduct penetration tests to identify and fix vulnerabilities in their IT infrastructure. Through pentesting, businesses can better manage their cybersecurity, improve their cyber resilience strategy, and most importantly, avoid hacker attacks.
Do you want to conduct a penetration test in your company? Contact us or check out our pentesting and cybersecurity services.
Our pentesting services include:
- Security testing of web and mobile applications as well as IT infrastructure
- Performance testing of web applications
- Security audit of web application source code
- DDoS attack resilience audit.