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Penetration Testing: Save Your Business from a Hacker’s Paradise

Ankita Hariyani

The data breach wave continues to destroy enterprises across the world.

T-Mobile, a US based, one of the world’s largest wireless network operator experienced a massive data breach affecting more than a million of its customers. Their personal data was exposed to a malicious actor. The breach was a result of unauthorized access to the system for accessing customers personal information.

This is alarming for all businesses prompting them to take Cyber Security as their highest priority. The reason being application or system connected through fragile network, flaws in encryption and authentication, and website defacement that increases the scope of cyber-attacks.

However, the million-dollar question this begs is:

Are we taking enough preventive measures to protect our intellectual properties and sensitive data?

The growing probability of a security weakness and malicious attacks needs to be addressed to ensure your application is secured. Businesses must secure their complex IT environments while ensuring quality delivery of their product and services. That’s where Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) comes to a rescue.

VAPT - Addressing New-Age Security Testing challenges

Vulnerability Assessment is the art of finding an unlocked door. It helps identify and assign severity levels to as many security defects as possible based on the severity in a timeframe. Vulnerability assessment equips enterprises with the knowledge on the overlooked loopholes in their environment so they can carve out a timely risk mitigation strategy.

Penetration testing follows a thorough Vulnerability Assessment. It involves an active and passive analysis of the IT application, operating system, servers, URL’s etc. to identify and exploit security vulnerabilities.

The aim of penetration testing is twofold: firstly, to identify and exploit shortcomings and loopholes in the network and application. Secondly, it should provide remediation advice and offer guidance to reduce the impact of the such shortcomings.

Penetration Testing is a “Box Clever”

Penetration testing comes in three main approaches: White Box, Black Box, and Grey Box.

  • White Box

    It is normally considered as a simulation of an attack by an internal source examining the code coverage, path testing, loop testing etc. Fully defined scope is given to the testers, including a breakdown of target systems, network protocols, IP addresses, source code, firewall rules and access to credentials. It is also known as structural, clear box or glass box testing. By testing all the aspects of the environment, security issues can be uncovered faster and in greater numbers.

  • Black Box

    In black box penetration testing, no information is provided to the tester. The tester simulates external attacks with no prior knowledge of the target environment and understands expected outcomes. This type of testing is carried out in order to find vulnerabilities and weak spots. However, it usually needs more time to perform.

  • Grey Box

    In this type of testing, limited information is provided to the tester. This hybrid approach is most common type of penetration testing as the tester can simulate a methodical attack with a partial knowledge of the target system.

Cygnet's Approach towards Penetration Testing

We execute Penetration Testing using a Six Phase methodology, as outlined below.

Cygnet Approach towards Penetration Testing
  1. Planning

    This is where requirements are gathered, scope is defined, type of tests to execute, timelines and limitations are codified. This phase is essential for smooth and well-controlled activities to be performed prior to the commencement of the actual penetration test.

  2. Discovery

    This is the actual process of identifying information about the target enterprise and its systems using various means, both technical as well as non-technical. Further categorized as:

    • Foot printing phase: The penetration tester utilizes this phase to identify various loopholes and explores each possible aspect of relevant information such as the IT setup details, device configurations, searching the internet, querying various public repositories (whois databases, domain registrars, mailing lists, etc.) that could leak the target enterprises details.
      Many of the above procedures can be automated by writing customized scripts or developing software bots using RPA to automatically search information without the need of manual efforts.

    • Scanning and Enumeration phase: This phase comprises of identifying live systems, open / filtered ports found, services running on these ports, mapping router / firewall rules, identifying the operating system details, network path discovery, etc. conducting a lot of active probing of the target system.

  3. Reconnaissance approach

    Reconnaissance approach is an important step in penetration testing. A pen tester aims to gather as much intelligent information about your organization as he can, identify business logic flaws and the potential vulnerabilities to exploit. This information is used as attack vectors when trying to penetrate the environment during the vulnerability assessment phase.

  4. Vulnerability Analysis

    This phase aims to discover possible vulnerabilities existing in each target system such as network flaws, systems and/or applications loopholes, various security breaching points, host and service misconfiguration, current patching levels, or insecure application design using active and passive mechanisms.

  5. Exploitation

    During this phase, the penetration tester will try to exploit the various vulnerabilities found in the previous phase. This involves tampering with misconfigurations, access sensitive information, input wrong data, bypass security controls - scanning all external and internal facing systems defined in the scope.

  6. Reporting

    In this phase, the entire activity carried out in the above steps is documented to ensure that the target enterprise is aware of all the aspects of the technical and security risks prevailing in their current server/application /configuration/network that could impact their overall business.

    The necessary things that the report consists of are:

    • Executive Summary
    • Detailed Findings
    • Tools and Methods used
    • Risk level of the Vulnerabilities found
    • Business Impact
    • Remediation Steps
    • Conclusion
VAPT is the Norm for Security Testing

Vulnerability and Penetration Test is catching up with global enterprises at lightning speed. These two significant tests provide a holistic view of the threats while locking the scope of vulnerabilities.

Avoid Authorized Access

Testing your current security posture can expose security vulnerabilities under controlled circumstances. It gives you clear understanding where you stand against the threat landscape and efficiently address before hackers exploits them.

Infrastructure Under Control

Technical infrastructures are becoming increasingly complex with the technological advancement and growing business demands. You may find it difficult to manage the distributed system architectures or may fail to ensure the security checks are implemented the right way. VAPT can help you test your security arrangements and identify improvements.

Security Under Surveillance

A penetration test is an ideal way to test your security implementations, give you knowledge of nearly all your technical security weaknesses and provide you with the information and solution to overcome those vulnerabilities.

Solid Risk Management

Each penetration testing can address your business risks, allow determining the security impact of implementing new technologies, integrity and launching new web-based business services. 

Protect Your Business

Penetration testing can have potentially enormous impact on your brand's reputation and financial repercussions. It can drastically reduce the risk of data breach, improving security therefore safeguarding your enterprise and your customers confidence.

Effective penetration testing demands diligent effort to secure system and avoid IT infrastructure invasion. We implement agile and automated testing methods to optimize security and maximize application performance. Get in touch with experts at Cygnet today on +1-609-245-0971 or inquiry@cygnetinfotech.com to know more.

Ankita Hariyani

Ankita Hariyani is a content writer at Cygnet Infotech. She has the technical precision, business experience and creativity to craft technically detailed write-ups with ease. She embraces her writing skills to condense complicated information into easily digestible articles for prospective clients, business readers, executives, and for those with an appetite for knowledge. When she is not busy writing, she loves to spend her free time singing, reading and writing poetry.

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