Types of Penetration Testing

Securing your business and its data from cyber-attacks and threat actors has never been more challenging. You need a strategic cybersecurity plan, experienced personnel, and well-managed cyber resources. End users and staff utilizing your business network need comprehensive security awareness training on the dangers of common cyber threats that can originate from phishing emails, smartphones, unsafe internet practices, and other security vulnerabilities.

What Is a Penetration Test?

A penetration test is a simulated attack on a device, network, program, platform, wireless network, or employees to find bugs and vulnerabilities. Penetration testing can include a range of practices to simulate real-world attacks on a company’s IT and physical security controls. The ultimate aim of a penetration test is to confirm the vulnerabilities discovered during the scanning process and investigate any other potential entry points by reconnaissance. To stress-test, the reliability of security safeguards, penetration testing aims to leverage flaws or bugs of processes, network infrastructure, firewalls, access points, human capital, or physical properties.

Network services, application software, client-side, wireless, social engineering, and physical penetration testing are among the many categories of penetration tests. To mimic multiple attack vectors, a penetration test may be conducted both externally and internally. A penetration tester may not have advanced knowledge of the environment and processes they’re attempting to breach, depending on the objectives of each test. Penetration testing is divided into three categories: black box, white box, and grey box.

Pen Testing Basics

It’s worth noting that penetration testing results are customized to suit a company’s cybersecurity requirements based on the following criteria:

The objectives for doing a pen test.

On the network, the number of internal workstations, and type: Microsoft or iOS.

The number of wireless devices.

The number of servers available.

The cumulative number of IP addresses, both internal and foreign.

You will also be asked whether you want the tester to hack bugs if they are discovered or only want them recorded in the study.

How long does a pen test take?

A pen test can last anywhere from days to weeks, depending on company size, industry, and whether it is an internal or external pen test.

Types of Pen Tests

Costs and benefits of the different types of penetration tests.

Black Box Penetration Testing

A pen tester is given little or no detail about a company’s IT infrastructure during a black box penetration test (also known as external penetration testing). The most significant advantage of this type of research is that it simulates a real-world cyber-attack by having the pen tester act as an actual cybercriminal, learning and evaluating the flaws as they go.

A black box penetration test is one of the most time-consuming forms of penetration tests, taking up to six weeks to complete. Owing to the amount of time involved in preparing, conducting, testing, and finishing the pen test, businesses should expect to pay between $10,000 and $25,000 for it. This, of course, is dependent on the project’s scale, wireless devices and endpoints, the number of open-source tools, and engineer experience levels.

White Box Penetration Testing

When a pen tester does white box penetration testing (also known as internal penetration testing), he or she has complete knowledge of the source code and environment. A white-box penetration test aims to perform an in-depth security assessment of a company’s processes and give as much information as possible to the pen tester. As a result, the pen tester can access fields that a black box test cannot, such as code consistency, operating systems, and program architecture. As a result, the white box assessment is often a more rigorous network penetration test.

There are several drawbacks of white box pen tests, however. With the pen tester’s level of access, deciding what places to work on, for example, will take longer. Furthermore, this form of testing often necessitates the use of specialized and costly instruments. White box testing usually takes three weeks and cost anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 to complete. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you do a black box or white box penetration test as long as the test’s methodologies objective is achieved.

Grey Box Penetration Testing

The pen tester has partial expertise or access to an internal network or web browser during a grey box penetration test. A pen tester can be given user rights on a server and instructed to elevate their privileges to a domain administrator. They may also be asked to gain access to machine code and diagrams of system design.

The reports provided by a grey box penetration test offer a more concentrated and effective evaluation of your network’s security. Pen testers and security professionals doing a grey box penetration test, for example, should study network diagrams to determine areas of most significant concern rather and security flaws than relying on the “trial and error” method. The required countermeasures will then be proposed to close the holes.

What Is The Purpose Of A Penetration Test?

Finding security weaknesses is just the first step toward securing the business. Penetration testing is used to verify previously defined bugs and the execution of security measures and software. Despite the sophistication of today’s monitoring systems, almost 90% of cyber-attacks are caused by human errors in social engineering attacks.

Modern hackers are interested in security misconfigurations that occur at every stage of an application stack. The only way to determine if your security tools are up to par is to put them to the test. Penetration tests can be performed at least once or twice a year by companies, although regulatory criteria or significant system upgrades may necessitate more regular testing.

What are the security advantages of network penetration testing?

There are several significant advantages of doing a penetration test, including:

Identifying weaknesses in an organization’s hardware, applications, routers, or human properties to improve controls.

Assuring that the safeguards that have been put in place are satisfactory to protect against a data breach.

Providing information and guidance into an organization’s security policies by determining if it might and would be targeted and what actions can be taken to protect it.

Improving an organization’s overall compliance strategy and security posture.

Penetration Testing Cost?

Due to the complexity of the procedure, the costs needed to conduct a satisfactory penetration test, and the length of time required to complete the analysis, a penetration test can range in cost from $4,000 to $100,000 on average.

Penetration Testing Techniques:

Social engineering attacks are used to gain access to sensitive information in systems and databases.

Phishing emails are often sent to gain access to sensitive accounts.

Used network-shared unencrypted credentials to gain access to confidential databases.

These attacks are much more invasive than a vulnerability assessment, and they can result in a denial of service or increased server usage, lowering efficiency and corrupting computers.

Different types of Penetration Testing:

For some instances, penetration tests should be scheduled, and team members informed ahead of time. However, if you want to see how the network security staff reacts to a “live” threat, this won’t work. Red team drills, for example, are often conducted without warning personnel to test real-world hazard situations. To make it as believable as possible, they are employed to imitate the actions and tactics of potential perpetrators.

The blue team, an internal surveillance team, tasked with protecting against these virtual attacks, is on the other hand. Regardless of the situation, you should perform a penetration test with a particular goal in mind and make sure you and the penetration testing team are on the same page.

In recent years, penetration testing has become a standard security procedure for businesses. This is particularly true for businesses that store and view confidential or private information, such as banks and healthcare providers.

For example, as part of the Cyber Security Maturity Certification, Department of Defense contractors must have appropriate mechanisms and functionality in place to secure Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) (CMMC). Based on the degree that the contractor must achieve, a penetration test is one of many compliance measures used to pass auditor criteria.

Application penetration testing, for example, aids in the detection of bugs and defects in programming that may be exploited. Developers then set about creating updates to get the codebase up to date.

Network Service Penetration Testing

One of the most common penetration testing methods is network access penetration testing, also known as infrastructure testing.

What is a Network Vulnerability?

The key goal is to find the most vulnerable bugs and security flaws in an organization’s network infrastructure (servers, firewalls, switches, routers, printers, workstations, and more) until they can be exploited.

Why Should You Perform A Network Service Penetration Test?

To secure the company from common network-based threats, network penetration testing should be conducted.

  • IPS/IDS Evasion Attacks Due To Firewall Misconfiguration And Bypass
  • Routers
  • Zone Transfer Attacks at the DNS Level
  • Switching or routing
  • SSH
  • Proxy Servers
  • Unnecessary Open Ports
  • Databases
  • Man in the Middle (MITM)

Since a network delivers mission-critical services to a company, all internal and external network penetration testing should be conducted at least once a year. This will ensure that the company is well protected from these attack vectors.


Penetration Testing in Web Applications

Web browser penetration testing is a technique for detecting security flaws in web-based software. It employs a variety of intrusion tactics and assaults to gain access to the web application.

Penetration Testing For Web Applications – What Are The Different Types Of Penetration Testing?

Web-based software, browsers, and their elements such as ActiveX, Plugins, Silverlight, Scriptlets, and Applets are common targets for a web application penetration test. These experiments are much more comprehensive and tailored, and as a result, they are considered more nuanced. The endpoints of a web-based program that communicates with the user daily must be established to complete a successful evaluation. From preparation to conducting the test to compiling a meaningful report, this necessitates a significant amount of work and time.

Thanks to the increasing number of risks posed by web applications, web application penetration testing strategies are constantly developing.

Why Run A Penetration Test On Your Web Application?

A web application penetration test is essential for identifying security flaws or bugs in web-based applications and their elements, such as the database, source code, and back-end network.

It also assists by prioritizing the identified flaws or vulnerabilities and suggesting mitigation options. Continuous codebase improvement is considered the best practice in software application development. The term “deploying stable and agile code” is often used to characterize this activity.

Because the more variables inserted into the code in a single implementation, the more chances there are to produce glitches or anomalies that contribute to security flaws, agile code deployment is favored over massive batch implementations. As a result, technical debt develops, with developers spending increasingly more time fixing bugs than developing new features or upgrades.

On the other hand, agile methodologies monitor code functionality and usability in a sandbox environment (a replicated copy of the codebase) before releasing it into development. If the deployment fails, developers can quickly identify the problem and revert the code to the previous version history. The key is to strike a balance between code distribution and protection.

It’s not unusual for enterprise tech firms to hire pen testers to validate their code regularly. Google, and other engineering behemoths, offer a monetary incentive for discovering and reporting bugs throughout their software.

Client-Side Pen Testing

Client-side pen testing is used to find security flaws or bugs in client-side software. This may include email clients, web browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, among others), Adobe Photoshop, and the Microsoft Office Suite.

Why Should a Client-Side Penetration Test be Conducted?

Relevant cyber threats are identified by client-side checks, which include:

XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) Exploits

Attacks on Clickjacking

HTML Injection via Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) Form Hijacking

Malware Infection with Open Redirection

Wireless Penetration Testing

Wireless penetration monitoring entails locating and inspecting all equipment attached to the business’s wifi network. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other internet of things (IoT) devices are examples of these devices.

Wireless Penetration Testing – Penetration Testing Forms

Since the pen tester has to be in the range of the wireless signal to reach it, most wireless penetration tests are done on-site.

What are the Benefits of a Wireless Penetration Test?

Wireless communications is a background service that enables data to flow in and out of a network. As a result, any flaws in this wireless network, such as unauthorized access or data loss, must be addressed.

When conducting a wireless penetration test, keep the following questions in mind:

Have all access points been found, and how many of them use weak encryption?

Is data passing across the network encrypted, and if so, how?

Is there some kind of surveillance scheme to detect unauthorized users?

Is it possible that the IT department misconfigured or duplicated a wireless network?

What security mechanisms are currently to safeguard the wireless network?

Is the WPA protocol used for all wireless connection points?

Penetration Testing for Social Engineering

A malicious attacker uses social engineering penetration testing to convince or manipulate people into providing personal information such as a username and password.

Pen testers commonly use the following forms of social engineering attacks:

Attacks by Phishers

Imposters (such as Other Employees, Third-Party Vendors, or Other Contractors)

Dropping Names

What Are the Benefits of Social Engineering Tests?

Social engineering attacks are becoming more common cyber attacks. This is because internal users are one of the most severe threats to a network’s security and the lucrative nature of the scams. One of the most successful means of preventing an attack has proved to be social psychology experiments and awareness campaigns.

KnowBe4, a standard email phishing tool, for example, simulates an email phishing attack. When the user clicks the connection, they are directed to a page that warns them that they are being subjected to a phishing test.

Physical Penetration Testing

A physical penetration test is a form of risk simulation in which a pentester tries to breach physical barriers to gain access to a company’s equipment, house, systems, or employees.

Physical Penetration Testing Methods

What Is The Purpose Of A Physical Penetration Test?

Most businesses often overlook practical wireless signal range obstacles; however, once a hostile actor has physical access to your server space, they can be able to take control of your network. Consider the implications for your company, your clients, and your business relationships. A physical penetration test’s main advantage is that it exposes bugs and defects in physical controls (locks, barriers, monitors, or sensors) such that they can be fixed easily. By recognizing these flaws, appropriate mitigations may be implemented to improve the physical security posture.