A thorough penetration testing campaign involves social engineering, vulnerability scanning, and the manual hacking of computer systems, networks, and web applications. Follow this infographic to learn more about the various elements of a complete penetration test.
Social Engineering - The hacking of humans
Phishing is the process of crafting emails that appear to be from a trusted source and typically invite the recipient to either supply confidential information or click on a malicious link or attachment.
Pretexting involves the use of telephone calls to either obtain information or convince the user to unintentionally perform a malicious action. This is one of the most commonly used forms of social engineering.
If not properly discarded, sensitive information may be discovered by hackers in waste receptacles and dumpsters.
- Printed emails, expense reports, credit card receipts, travel information, etc.
- Network or application diagrams, device inventory with IP addressing, etc.
- Contact lists, notebooks, binders, or other work papers containing sensitive information
Hackers may rely on a physical approach to complement their technical attacks.
- Piggy backing: A hacker’s method of entering a facility with a group of employees or maintenance workers
- Identifying unsecure areas: Hackers search for loading docks, maintenance entrances, designated smoking areas, or other locations that may not be well secured.
Vulnerability Scanning - Discover of weaknesses
Network Security Health
Vulnerability scanning is an automated process that utilizes tools to seek known security vulnerabilities in your systems. Scans are used to assess your company’s network security health and provide insight into risks that may directly impact your organization.
Penetration Testing - Manual exploitation
Penetration testing is a proactive approach to discovering exploitable vulnerabilities in computer systems, networks, and web applications. Manual penetration testing goes beyond automated scanning and into complex security exploitation. Gaining a thorough understanding of vulnerabilities and risks enables the remediation of issues before an attacker is able to interrupt business operations.
Web Application Penetration Testing
Web applications often process and/or store sensitive information including credit cards, personal identifiable information (PII), and proprietary data. Applications are an integral business function for many organization, but with that functionality comes risk. Penetration testing provides visibility into the risks associated with application vulnerabilities.
Network and Infrastructure Penetration Testing
Infrastructure penetration testing identifies security weaknesses within your network, as well as the network itself. Testers search to identify flaws such as out of date software, missing patches, improper security configurations, weak communication algorithms, command injection, etc. Infrastructure penetration tests often include the testing of firewalls, switches, virtual and physical servers, and workstations.
Wireless Penetration Testing
Wireless capabilities can provide opportunities for attackers to infiltrate an organization’s secured environment - regardless of certain access and physical security controls. Wireless pen testing provides a map of access points in the wireless landscape. After gaining access to the wireless network, penetration testers attempt to exploit weaknesses in the network to gain access to privileged areas and demonstrate the potential impact of a wireless network breach.
Reports - Executive and technical
Penetration testers perform assessments, interpret the results, and provide reports for the tested organization.
Reports should function as a guide; providing valuable information that prompts action.