Penetration testing, also attributed to Pen Testing, is a process of testing the security weaknesses or vulnerabilities of a system, application, or network and checking the possibilities of our network, system, or applications being hacked.
Let me tell you a simple example to understand this concept quickly. Assume you are the manager of a bank. You know people come from the main entrance. But, you may not know many vulnerabilities which a thief can use as an entry point like windows, or from another way possible which we may not even consider. Now, to make sure you are completely protected, you will find a professional who will think and act as a thief and break into the bank to let you know the vulnerable entry points. At the end of the process, the professional will advise the owner to implement solutions like a window sensor or placing CCTVs at strategic locations in the bank.
Just as the example, there may be few vulnerabilities in your systems, applications, or networks that we may not consider as weaknesses. Hence, organizations hire a pen tester to break into their applications as a hacker. At the end of the process, the PenTester advises the organization to fix the vulnerabilities he found so that the original hacker or attacker cannot break into your applications. And, the Pen Tester does some final checks after fixing the vulnerabilities to see if the system is now secure or not.
Types of Pen-Testing:
Penetration testing can be done in three types, they are:
Black box testing: The tester does not get access to any internal code structure in Black Box testing. The black box tester can only test the application functionality without looking at the internal code structure which the developers write.
The black box testers test the application functionality based on the customer requirements and specification. Testers do not need to have any programming knowledge to perform black-box testing.
White box testing: White Box testing, also called Glass Box testing, is used to test the internal structure of the code. White Box testing is entirely opposite to Black Box testing. White Box testing is done to:
It would be best if you were good at programming to become a white Box tester.
Gray Box Testing: Gray Box testing is a combination of White Box and Black Box testing. A Gray Box tester gets limited access to the internal structure of the code.
Situations in which we use Gray Box Testing are:
We cannot do gray box testing while testing algorithms.
How often organizations should conduct Pen Tests:
Penetration testing, like all other IT security measures, should be performed regularly. Although some internal pen-testing may be necessary periodically, pen testing should be done at least yearly. The frequency will be determined by the sort of test and the purpose of the test. This will aid in the continuous management of IT and network security by identifying newly known threats or developing vulnerabilities that attackers might exploit.
Few reasons why any organization need Penetration Testing:
Cost-efficient: Compared with recovery and redemption of the data after being originally attacked, the money we put on pen testing is very low. Of course, we have to put some money on technologies and tools like dynamic application security scanners and vulnerability scanners. But, the cost of tools and technologies is comparatively less than recovering the data back.
Manage Risk: By guarding against vulnerabilities and dangers that have the potential to turn into real occurrences, this phase must be handled before cybercriminals have time to become familiar with your program and exploit its flaws. Furthermore, pen testing is required when you use third-party apps, outsourced services, or cloud-based services.
Minimize the chances of network and application downtime: Resulting in a decrease in production and availability In today’s world, time is money. Thus any time lost as a result of inactivity may cost businesses and people millions of dollars. All of this may easily grow into a very costly issue. Gartner estimates that the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. So, performing Pen-Testing and avoiding the actual loss is very useful.
However, one of the compelling reasons to do pen testing is to obtain peace of mind, knowing that your apps, systems, and infrastructure have been thoroughly examined for flaws. These activities and working with a comprehensive and dedicated pen test team may assist in securing your business and customers’ data and contribute to business continuity.
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