The practice of evaluating a computer system, network, or online application to identify security flaws that an attacker could exploit is known as penetration testing, commonly referred to as pen testing. By simulating an attack, penetrating testing is performed to uncover security holes in applications. This enables the identification of weak points in a system so that they can be fixed.
Penetration testing is often carried out by ethical hackers, sometimes referred to as white hat hackers, who are hired by businesses to identify and patch security flaws before they are used by hostile hackers, also referred to as black hat hackers. There are several ways to do penetration testing, including online via the internet, internally via the network, and offline via physical access to the system. A system’s internal and exterior security may be tested through penetration testing. In contrast to internal penetration testing, which simulates attacks from within the network, external penetration testing simulates attacks from the outside of the network.
Penetrating Testing Comes in a Variety of Forms. Prominent kinds include:
- Black box testing: In this type of penetrating testing, the tester is blind to the network or system under test. The tester can only access information that is open to the public, like a website.
- Gray box testing: In grey box testing, the system or network under test is familiar to the tester in some way. For instance, the tester could have access to confidential information or be allowed to speak with workers.
- White box testing: In white box testing, the system or network under test is fully understood by the tester. System administrators or developers frequently perform this kind of testing.
- Errors in designs Both hardware and software can have defects in their designs. Your business-critical data may be exposed as a result of these flaws.
- Another source of vulnerability is a bad system configuration. When a system is designed incorrectly, it might create security gaps that allow hackers to access the system and steal data.
- Security breaches can be caused by human causes including careless document disposal, leaving papers unattended, coding mistakes, insider threats, exchanging credentials on phishing sites, etc.
- Hackers can access the system if it is connected to an unsafe network (open connections).
- Managing security is difficult and expensive. Organizations can occasionally fall behind in risk management, which leads to system vulnerability.
- Staff members’ lack of training exposes them to risks and human error.
For large networks or systems with many users, automated tools can be quite helpful. Additionally, they may be used to test embedded systems and other systems that are challenging to access manually. Although automated testing tools are efficient, manual testing is often seen as more reliable. This is because automated tools can only test for vulnerabilities that they are programmed to find. Since humans conduct manual testing, they are able to use their creativity and intuition to find new ways to attack a system – vulnerabilities that automated tools may not be programmed to identify.