Web 3.0, the most recent version of the internet, has taken over nearly every aspect of life. Although this evolution provides enormous scope and opportunity, it also poses critical cybersecurity risks that must be addressed.
Repeated attacks and mishandling of hacked data have become the norm, forcing individuals and other legal entities that use their data to implement stringent data management and network security measures.
One such security coverage tool is Network Penetration Testing.
What is Network Penetration Testing?
Network penetration testing or pentesting is akin to attacking one’s own program or application from a hacker’s viewpoint to determine and plug in the security flaws, network vulnerabilities, program errors, etc., present in it.
Network pentesting can be correlated to a pilot run of a web application, program, or system to prepare it to fight against cyber threats. These analyses demonstrate how easily a hacker can get past a company’s security measures and gain access to its sensitive and private data.
Additional Read: What is Penetration Testing & How Does it work?
Types of Network Penetration Testing
Ideally, software and systems are designed from the beginning with the goal of eliminating potentially dangerous security flaws. A pen test provides information on how well that goal was met.
There are broadly two types of network penetration tests, based on the perspective of verifying the security system:
- Internal Network Penetration testing
Internal network penetration testing is the process of exploiting your own system from within to detect vulnerabilities. The goal here is to protect the system from an attacker who already has access to it.
Internal pentesting requires a dedicated team of security professionals with initial network access. They simulate an insider attack to determine the scope of the systemic bugs.
Additional Read: What is Internal Penetration Testing?
- External Network Penetration testing
Termed analogous to “Ethical hacking,” an external penetration test is a simulated hacking technique with limited scope. It entails security professionals attempting to breach your system via an external network to reveal the extent of the project’s security vulnerabilities.
Additional Read: What is External Penetration Testing?
How to perform a successful network penetration test?
A penetration test is a means of testing the strengths and weaknesses of an information system and building security by identifying vulnerabilities in systems and networks. Penetration tests are needed to identify potential weaknesses that malicious users or intruders could exploit.
Following are the steps to go about a successful penetration test:
Step 1: Information gathering and understanding of the client’s expectation
Before performing a penetration test, learning about the client’s objectives and expectations is essential—this aids in determining the scope of the pentest and formulating a strategy to meet their requirements.
The information-gathering phase of the process includes researching the client’s target systems, networks, applications, and services. It entails examining the key documents that define the intended business behavior.
This stage defines the entire roadmap, from identifying testing assets to deploying various techniques and penetration tools.
Step 2: Vulnerability detection
Time to turn your pentester’s mode on!!
This involves running security tests against target systems, networks, applications, and services using automated tools or manual testing techniques.
The goal here is to determine the vulnerability coordinates in the system.
Undoubtedly, automated tools make the process faster and leave no scope for human error like missing a code or bug, but one cannot disregard the efficacy of manual scanning. The appropriate practice is to integrate both for accurate results.
Step 3: Bug Detection
Once you have discovered the vulnerabilities and their location, the next step is to form a plan to breach the network.
Depending on the category of pentest, different tools are used to breach the system in order to understand the breadth of the problem caused by the bug under scrutiny.
This information is critical when relaying the results to the client because they will benefit from knowing the strengths and weaknesses of their network security.
Step 4: 3Rs: Reporting, Refactoring, and Rescanning
After analyzing the vulnerabilities and their territorial extent, a detailed report must be formed, mentioning vulnerabilities based on their severity and PoC(proof of concept). Additionally, it should contain a pentester’s recommendations for companies to understand their system’s loopholes and plugins.
Security professionals should aid developers and owners during the system’s refactoring and rescan the changes made to eliminate the scope of errors.
Benefits of Penetration testing
There are several advantages to penetration testing. They are:
When you decide to get network pentesting done, every vulnerability gets eliminated. This gives a boost to security compliance for the firm. This way, organizations may save so much that they would otherwise have spent remediating them later.
Both businesses and users are highly alarmed about the data leaks that happen now and then. Pentesters act like real-world hackers to simulate cyberattacks as closely as possible to actual attacks. This makes it possible to find sites where data has leaked, which may then be used to stop data breaches in the future.
Knowing the level of threat beforehand
Finding vulnerabilities and determining the extent to which they can damage your system are the main objectives of pentests. This acts as a precautionary measure against potential threats in the future.
Enhancing the security posture of the company
When you let testers perform the pentesting for you, it helps to save your organization from cybersecurity threats like:
- DDoS attacks
- Insider assaults
- Cyber-heists, and more.
These are some of the top reasons that encourage people to get penetration testing done for themselves.
The purpose of penetration testing is to improve the security of your network and information security systems by allowing security professionals to drill down as if they were hackers and evaluate their effectiveness.
Being in the middle of a transitioning industry from Web2.0 to Web3.0, security concerns are of utmost importance. Given the financial ramifications of a breach, it is only sensible to go for periodic pentesting to identify and address vulnerabilities.
Additional Read: Why corporate cybersecurity needs Penetration Testing