Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is widely used by medium to large businesses, governments, and international organisations to highlights security vulnerabilities in their websites. The pentester uses multiple attack vectors to be deployed against a target system. More often than not, it is a combination of available information and/or vulnerabilities across different systems that will lead a site being successfully compromised.

A pentester uses the same techniques as a real life hacker. They both enter systems by applying a combination of different techniques. However, a penetration tester has the system owners authorisation to deploy pen testing tools while the attacker does not.  At the end of the Pen testing exercise the tester will be responsible for providing a report highlighting vulnerabilities, so that the system owner can implement defensive controls.

1. Highlights the main vulnerabilities

The number of identified vulnerabilities will very much depend on the the time taken to perform the pentest, the testers skill level, testing constraints, network connectivity, active web application firewalls, application instability, system changes during test, etc…

To add value, pentesting should be risk based, focusing on high risk vulnerabilities and then medium-low risk ones. As the corporate environment is dynamic, multiple penetration tests and vulnerability assessments should be performed periodically.

2. Highlights the real risk of vulnerabilities

It may transpire that a vulnerability that has classified as high risk on paper, may be reduced to medium or low risk because of the difficulty of exploitation in reality. More importantly, vulnerabilities classified as low risk may end up having a high impact, so they may end up being highlighted as high risk. This analysis can only be performed once the pen tester submits the report which is then assessed by information security specialists.

3. It tests your cyber-defense capability

As the penetration test is progressing, the site’s security team should be monitoring and able to detect multiple attacks and respond accordingly on time. When intrusions are detected, the security teams should start investigating and attempts should be made to block penetration testers and remove their tools.

It goes without saying that protection devices like IDS, IPS or WAF will also be put to the test as a result of the pentest. Most of the attacks should be detected and alerts generated, allowing the security team to act according to the company’s threat response procedures.

4. Convince management to allocate funds

In practice it may be difficult for internal security departments to persuade management that some vulnerabilities pose actual threats. As such, a report produced by an independent ‘expert’ following a pen test, may give the management of target company the impetus its needs to allocate funds for security investments.

5. Comply with Regulations & Certifications

Industry regulation and known certifications such as ISO27001 and PCI DSS require companies to perform regular penetration tests and security reviews using specialist pen testers. Pentesting ensures compliance regulations. Ultimately it provides assurance to the management board and ultimately the company’s clients that their systems customer data are secure.

ISRC consultants have a talent pool of Pen Testers available on our books. With our agile and discreet service we aim to respond to your requirements asap. As Data Protection specialists, we understand that the conduct of pentests and its results are extremely confidential and valuable to your company. As such we go to extreme lengths to ensure that the confidentiality of production reports.