One of the industry’s most popular services offered by independent managed security service companies (MSPs) is Penetration Testing (also called vulnerability testing). Since their inception, Penetration Testing has evolved into a core pillar of modern security testing methodology, helping companies of all sizes achieve maximum visibility into their network’s firewall, and subsequently gain full control over it to ensure the protection of their most valuable assets. However, even with the most robust enterprise security solutions, security threats and vulnerabilities are never completely eliminated. A company may still find its network exposed and vulnerable to security threats, especially if it’s deployed in a large enterprise environment where threats can come from many different angles.
While security testing aims to detect and reveal security weaknesses through various methodologies such as code, device, or process analysis, some problems have a simple solution. For example, a security flaw may only manifest itself through a specific software package. In this case, it’s usually easy to isolate the cause of the problem and apply a fix. The same approach can be applied for a network vulnerability that shows up due to improper configuration or setup.
Another approach to identifying weak spots lies in automated testing. By applying automated scripts and functions to vulnerabilities, testers can easily pinpoint attack methods, their origin, and their execution. Once the cause is known, the appropriate countermeasures can be put in place. However, sometimes manual penetration testing is the best option in order to identify the true weakness of a system and take steps to remedy it before the problem becomes a serious issue.
It should be noted that while automated tools can greatly reduce the workload for security testing professionals, it does not make them less important. As much as automation can automate the entire process, only a qualified and skilled IT professional can make sure that the script used is executed as per the given parameters. For instance, if a network tool or application detects a specific vulnerability, it should be tested again by a different person using the same configuration or setting. A thorough and comprehensive assessment should be performed even after any weak point has been identified.
There are several types of penetration testing tools that security professionals can use to determine weak points. This includes using protocol analyzers, fuzzers, and analyzers, among others. Each of these tools is designed specifically for a particular purpose and used to test various protocols and software applications. With the increasing number of threats and vulnerabilities found in networks today, a comprehensive and accurate assessment of weak points is inevitable.
Pen Testing is a popular method that can identify weak spots that can be exploited and are usually used by private companies to test the security of their systems. However, this method requires extensive training for its users and has a long way to go before it could be called completely reliable. In order to address these issues, several cyber security firms and agencies have developed and continuously upgraded their own line of pen testing tools. It is important to note that not all security products can effectively address each vulnerability, which is why it is important to carefully choose a pen-testing tool. In general, a reliable pen testing tool should: