A pen or penetration test is a type of security assessment that pretends to attack a system with the owner's knowledge and consent to learn how well it would hold up under actual assault. Pen testers use the same methods and tools as hostile hackers to find flaws in a system and demonstrate their financial impact on a business.

A plan's security might be tested by having actors play various roles and observing how the program handles attacks from authenticated and unauthenticated users. It is standard practice during a penetration test to simulate several assaults that may be launched against the target organization. If granted enough privileges, a penetration test can look into any part of a system.

Penetration Testing Benefits?

Software and systems vulnerabilities wouldn't exist in a perfect world since they were built that way. A pen test reveals how well that was accomplished. One way in which a company might benefit from undergoing penetration testing is

·       Investigate system flaws

·       Assess the reliability of the controls.

·       Facilitate adherence to privacy and security standards (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR)

Management would benefit from qualitative and quantitative examples of the present security situation and budget goals.

Pen Testers Get How Much Access?

There are three tiers of openness that you may test for vulnerabilities. Depending on the goals of the pen test, testers are given varying degrees of access to the target system and related information. Some penetration testing teams start with just one method. Sometimes the testing team's strategy shifts when new information is gleaned throughout the pen test.

Confusing Tin

The group has no idea how the target system is organized inside. It behaves the same way hackers would by scanning for security holes.

Translucent box

Some members of the team are familiar with various credentials. Moreover, it is familiar with the target's core data structures, code, and algorithms. Detailed design documentation, like architectural diagrams of the target system, may be used by pen testers to generate test cases.

A Clear Container

The artifacts of a system, such as its source code, binaries, containers, and even the servers themselves, are all available to a penetration tester. This method offers the best possible certainty in the least amount of time.

Pen Testing Phases?

A penetration test aims to replicate attacks from malicious, determined opponents. Standard methods for accomplishing this goal include the following:


To launch a successful attack, gathering as much data as possible on the target from both open and closed sources is necessary. Information may be obtained through various methods, such as online searches, receiving data from domain registrations, social engineering, passive network surveillance, and garbage diving. This information is useful for penetration testers since it provides a clear view of the target's attack surfaces and potential vulnerabilities. The survey for a pen test can be as simple as placing a call to the business and asking some basic questions regarding the system's functionality.


Pen testers employ software to look for security flaws in a website or system, such as unprotected services, faulty applications, or exposed source code. Pen testers use various technologies to exploit vulnerabilities they discover during surveys and testing.

Receiving permission to do something

Motives for attacks might range from data theft, tampering, or erasure to money transfer or even brand damage. Suppose the system has vulnerabilities, such as those caused by SQL injection or another sort of injection, malware, social engineering, or any other way. The pen tester will select the most relevant tools and methods for exploiting such vulnerabilities for each test scenario.

Keeping the door open

The simulated assault must remain connected to the target long enough for the pen testers to achieve their aims of exfiltrating data, changing it, or exploiting functionality. All that matters is showing how much of an effect there may be.

Pen Testing Types?

For effective risk management, a thorough strategy for pen testing is required. Doing so necessitates checking out every possible aspect of your surroundings.

Applications hosted on the World Wide Web

Testers investigate the robustness of the security measures and search for vulnerabilities, attack patterns, and other security flaws that might allow a web app to be compromised.

Mobile software

Security flaws in mobile app binaries and their accompanying server-side functionality are investigated using a combination of automated and extended manual testing. Many web service vulnerabilities stem from poor server-side practices, such as insecure session management, weak cryptography, or faulty authentication or permissions.


This testing can detect common and significant security flaws when performed on an external network or set of systems. Specialists utilize a checklist that covers a variety of scenarios to ensure that everything is working as it should.


Differences between on-premises and cloud-based infrastructures are striking. Both the firm employing the service and the supplier have some level of responsibility for data security in the cloud. It takes a particular set of skills and knowledge to do a penetration test on the cloud since its settings, APIs, databases, encryption, storage, and security measures are all factors to be evaluated.


There are typically widespread security flaws in Docker containers. One of the most prevalent threats to container environments is improper setup. Professional pen testing can reveal both of these vulnerabilities.

In-Cabinet Devices (IoT)

Longer life cycles, remote locations, power limits, regulatory requirements, and more make software testing for embedded / IoT devices, including medical devices, autos, in-home appliances, oil rig equipment, and watches, particularly challenging. Professionals do a client/server study and a communication analysis to pinpoint flaws critical to the target use case.

Transportable electronic gadgets

Mobile app binaries and the associated server-side functionality are subjected to a hybrid of automated and human evaluation by penetration testers to reveal vulnerabilities. Potential vulnerabilities in application binaries include issues with authentication and authorization, client-side trust, improperly configured security measures, and problems in cross-platform development frameworks. The most common forms of server-side code insecurity involve session management, encryption, authentication, and permission issues.


The OWASP API Security Top 10 list is tested using automated and human methods. Broken object-level authorization, user authentication, excessive data exposure, lack of resources/rate limitation, and more are just some of the security threats and vulnerabilities that testers look for.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment Pipeline

DevSecOps practices now incorporate automated and intelligent code scanning technologies into the CI/CD process. To mimic hacker assaults and supplement static tools that check for known vulnerabilities, automated pen testing tools may be added to the CI/CD pipeline. Continuous automatic integration and delivery pen testing can potentially discover new vulnerabilities and attack patterns not detected by static code scanning.

What Are The Pen Testing Tools?

Yet, there is no universal solution for penetration testing. Port scanning, application scanning, Wi-Fi break-ins, and direct network penetration require distinct toolkits, but not all targets are created equal. There are five main types of penetration testing tools.

·       Network host and port scanning tools

·       Network service, web application, and API vulnerability scanners

·       Web proxies and man-in-the-middle proxies are two types of proxy technologies.

·       Exploitation instruments for gaining footholds in a system or gaining access to resources

·       Post-exploitation techniques and resources for engaging with systems, extending access, and accomplishing goals

Oliver Goodwin

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