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Penetration Testing: How Crucial It Is?

By SiliconIndia   |  
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Bangalore: Cyber crime is on a rise and hacking attacks highlight the news nowadays. We are well aware of the consequences that we would have to face if our private information leaks out. If a social networking site like Facebook is hacked, all the user details will be possessed and misused by the hacker. Every organization faces a challenge to protect its confidential data from potential hackers. In order to verify the security of a system or a network, a penetration test is used. These tests find out whether a system can protect itself from all possible hackers (internal and external). If the system is vulnerable to security breach, it is not safe.

Penetration testing helps in analyzing all the limitations of the system that can make it susceptible to hacking. It examines the system in detail as compared to a normal vulnerability scan. It investigates all aspects that could possibly be the cause of potential vulnerability. For example the system configuration could be poor or improper or hardware and software could have some known or unknown flaws. The system is tested by attacking it from a hacker’s perspective. Both manual testing techniques and automated penetration test tools can be used for the testing purpose. Usually a combination of both is used to identify all kinds of security related flaws in the system

Why is it needed?

Wherever there is private information, it needs protection. A lot of confidential data is present on networks, various systems and in many applications. This data is always at a risk of getting leaked. In order to be sure about the security of your data, you can use the penetration testing to not only check if your data is secure, but also to analyze why it is not so that you can accordingly improvise. You need to make sure that the transfer of financial data between various systems is secure. You need to secure the user data, and you also need to check various applications for security vulnerabilities. If you do not wish to allow unauthorized access to your system, you need to make sure your system is protected and hence you need to perform a penetration test.

What does it do?

1. It finds out the feasibility of a particular set of attacks.

2. It recognizes higher risk vulnerabilities that can be formed by grouping together lower risk vulnerabilities that are exploited in a specific sequence.

3. It recognizes vulnerabilities that can be tough or almost impossible to identify using an automated network or application vulnerability scanner.

4. It analyzes the extent to which these potential attacks will have an impact on the business and other operations.

5. It examines the ability of network protectors to effectively identify and react to attacks.

6. It provides evidence to maintain investments in security staff and technology.

Types of Penetration Testing

1. Social Engineering: The main reason for weak security is human error. To prevent this you must make sure that security policies and standards are being followed by all staff members. For example a company should maintain the rule of not allowing anyone to disclose any sensitive data over the phone or in the email. Social engineering penetration tests check for process flaws.

2. Application Security Testing: This type of penetration testing employs software methods to check if the system is well protected.

3. Physical Penetration Test: Government and military organizations need to protect a lot of confidential information and hence it is important to thoroughly verify all their security methods. In physical penetration test all the network devices and access points are examined to find any flaw that could lead to a security breach.

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