Penetration testing is also known as pen testing is a simulated cyberattack against your own computing system. This testing approach is specially designed to help enterprises identify exploitable vulnerabilities before the attackers do. Usually, penetration testing is done to help augment WAF (web application firewall). The 5 different stages of penetration testing are:
- Planning and investigation – In this stage, the test and scope of goals are defined. It also includes planning about the testing methods and systems to be tested. Investigations are done to gather intelligence on domain names, mail servers, and the likes to understand how the target operated and potential vulnerabilities.
- Complete scanning – Static and dynamic analysis is used to understand how the targeted application will respond to intrusion attempts. The analysis is done on code used in the application when not running, and a real-time view is also scanned when the code is running.
- Accessing – In this stage, the web application attacks such as backdoors, SQL injection, and cross-site scripting are performed to uncover the vulnerabilities. The testers then try to further exploit vulnerabilities by stealing data, escalating vulnerabilities, intercepting traffic, and so on.
- Continuous access – This stage helps the team to identify if the access can be retained for a long or continuous basis. Persistence presence in the exploited system can help the bad actor to gain in-depth access. Here the thought behind this simulation is to emulate advanced threats that remain in the system for months and continue stealing the most sensitive organization data.
- Analysis – A detailed report is then prepared to get a clear understanding of exploited vulnerabilities, sensitive data that was accessed, the amount of time the pen tester was able to remain in the system.
The details are then analyzed by cybersecurity professionals to help configure the organization’s WAF settings and implement other security resolutions to protect against future attacks. Commonly used penetration testing methods are external testing, blind testing, internal testing, double-blind testing, and targeted testing.
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