Penetration tests sometimes referred to simply as pen tests involve the simulation of a cyberattack against your company’s dedicated computer system. The purpose of a pen test is to check your infrastructure for weaknesses that can be exploited by hackers, ransomware gangs, botnet masters, and other cybercriminals.

Typically, when used within the framework of security for a web application, pen tests are used to boost a web application’s established firewall.

What does penetration testing involve and why is it useful?

Penetration testing can sometimes comprise involve breach attempts made on a wide range of application systems, such as back-end and front-end servers, and application protocol interfaces (APIs) to discover any vulnerabilities present that may be susceptible to attacks involving malicious code deployment.

The data and insights delivered by a pen test can be incredibly useful, allowing your enterprise to finely tune its web application firewall security protocols and put effective patches in place to shore up any vulnerabilities revealed.

The five key stages of penetration testing

Enterprise pen testing can be split into five different stages:

1. Test planning and collecting intelligence

Plan out your test defining its scale and aims, including all systems to be included and methods for testing that will be used. Conduct reconnaissance to fully understand how networks, domain names, and servers work to ascertain their possible weaknesses.

2. Analyse with scans

To work out how your systems will respond when targeted by intrusive attacks, you can scan them with two different types of analysis.

You can inspect application code while it’s running with Dynamic analysis. The most practical scanning approach offers real-time data on an application’s performance for a clearer picture. Static analysis, on the other hand, only provides an estimate of how your system will behave, but can scan all code quickly in one pass, giving a broad overview.

3. Acquiring access

Using web app attacks like backdoors and SQL injection pen tests work to reveal system vulnerabilities. When access is obtained, testers attempt to exploit weaknesses, such as raising privileges, intercepting communications, and stealing data to assess threat levels.

4. Retaining access

Next, testers check if the vulnerability can become resident in the system with enough time for deep penetration, and become a persistent and advanced threat, lurking in a system unseen and stealing sensitive information.

5. Comprehensive analysis

Finally, the results of the pen test are analysed. and a report is issued listing exploited vulnerabilities, any confidential data accessed, and how long the pen tester managed to be present without being detected.

Cybersecurity expertise on hand

For expert advice on cybersecurity protocols and ways to keep your staff working safely, contact our dedicated team at Galaxkey. Whether you need a user-friendly encryption option to protect your company data from malicious operators, or innovative tools that allow you to send secure emails and documents, we can help. Get in touch today to experience an online demonstration of our most secure workspace. With no passwords stored and zero backdoors, it can offer you an effective defence against cybercrime.