Penetration testing is today a need of the hour for most businesses to ensure maximum security and reduced risk exposure. The test forms an integral part of many Cybersecurity & Compliance programs. Penetration Tests are also requirements of many IT standards and are one of the most common techniques to assess Cybersecurity risks.
The significance of this test cannot be underestimated in today’s evolving threat landscape. Performing regular penetration tests allows organizations to assess their current security posture and help them identify, assess, and prioritize risks. This way organizations are aware of the gaps and know the necessary security requirements and controls to be implemented to address the identified risk in systems. Further, a Penetration test can help organizations identify and prevent incidents of hack in their front-end user applications like web applications, software applications, etc.
The assessment typically helps identify and prevent incidents of breach or hack in the organization. Covering more on this, we have in the article discussed ways how penetration tests can reduce risks exposure. We discussed the types of penetration tests that are generally performed to mitigate various types of risks.
Top 7 ways penetration testing can reduce your risk
The purpose of performing a penetration test is to simulate real-world cyber-attacks to determine the vulnerabilities, risk exposure, and impact of an attack on the organization. So, let us head straight to the types of a penetration test and the risk that it helps mitigate.
Network Penetration Test
The network Penetration testhttps://www.vistainfosec.com/blog/types-of-penetration-test/ is a very common risk assessment process that deals with determining vulnerabilities in the organization’s network infrastructure. This test is designed to identify weaknesses within a network infrastructure by conducting remote and onsite assessments. The test helps identify and prevent risks such as breach of firewalls, unauthorized access, misconfigurations or improper patch management, IPS deception, DNS level attacks, vulnerable applications, protocol abuse, etc. The Network Penetration Test helps investigate the effectiveness of the network’s perimeter defenses, and determines how the network infrastructure responds to threats, and vulnerabilities.
Web Application Penetration Test
The Web Application Penetration Test is a detailed assessment that examines the endpoints of web applications that users interact with frequently. The assessment helps discover potential security lapses due to the insecure development in design or coding. The test is performed on web applications, browsers, and other similar components. The assessment helps identify flaws in the web applications including missing patches or security lapses in externally-facing web applications, internal networks, and web applications that run on end-user devices and remote systems.
Wireless Penetration Test
The penetration test that is conducted on wireless devices is generally called Wireless Penetration Test. These tests are typically conducted on devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets, or any other physical devices on the premises of the organization that may potentially impact the security of systems and network infrastructure of an organization. This test also includes examining the administrative credentials to determine the potential risk of unauthorized access. The test determines loopholes or weak access points in devices that could result in unauthorized access, hacking of systems, or even incidents of a data breach.
Physical Penetration Tests
Generally, when we hear of attacks or threats the common notion is to consider it to be digital in nature. Businesses generally miss out or at times do emphasize much on the physical security threats that the organizations are exposed to. This is when the Physical Penetration Test comes into the picture to check the effectiveness of an organization’s physical security controls. So, in this test, the attacker simulates a physical breach of security controls to determine the real-life physical vulnerabilities. Here the attacker attempts to gain access into the office premises, locker areas, or any confidential sensitive areas that comprises sensitive data of assets of the company. The test helps determine how easily an attacker can gain access to the facility by impersonating as a vendor or manipulate or deceive an employee into giving in on access to secured and sensitive areas.
Cloud Penetration Test
Storing or keeping backup of all types of data in the cloud is today a very common practice. However, this makes cloud services or rather cloud technology a very popular target for cyber-attacks. Cloud Penetration Test is an assessment designed to evaluate, identify and address weaknesses in cloud systems and technology. The assessment helps in testing the effectiveness of security controls in Cloud services and helps discover vulnerabilities, the impact of exploitation, identify the severity of risks, and test the cyber-defense capabilities in place.
Social Engineering Penetration Test
Employees are the weakest link of cyber security programs for any organization. They are often the easy targets who can be manipulated and duped into sharing confidential information. The test here involves conducting different types of social engineering tactics used by ethical hackers like phishing attacks, imposters, tailgating, pre-texting, and eavesdropping, and check the susceptibility of staff to exposing confidential information. Penetration test reveals vulnerabilities and highlights the need for in-depth employee security training and management programs. Sensitizing employees to various risks and making them aware of their roles and responsibility in cybersecurity is crucial for preventing cyber risks, attacks, and incidents of breach.
Client-Side Penetration Test
The client-side Penetration Test is also popularly known as the Internal Penetration Test. Here the assessment is performed on software, applications, and systems that run on the user’s workstation. Generally, the employees are the soft targets for attackers to hack into their systems and gain access to confidential information. The Client-Side Penetration Test allows organizations to identify security flaws locally in systems and applications within the organization that can be exploited by attackers. The exploitation can probably be in client-side applications via emails, web browsers, Adobe Acrobat, or via other channels including executing malware loaded on USB sticks into the user’s workstation. The test limits or rather reduces the overall risk exposure and strengthens the security of the organization internally.
Penetration Test in general is effective when it comes to reducing the overall risk exposure such as social engineering attacks, data breaches, identity thefts, privilege escalation, malware attacks, to name a few. Given the level of risk exposure organizations face and the severity of vulnerabilities that can impact business, there is definitely a need for organizations to stay ahead in their game of Cybersecurity and Penetration Testing is one effective way of ensuring strong cyber defense and improve the Cybersecurity posture of your organization.
Narendra Sahoo (PCI QSA, PCI QPA, CISSP, CISA, and CRISC) is the Founder and Director of VISTA InfoSec , a global Information Security Consulting firm, based in the US, Singapore & India. Mr. Sahoo holds more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry, with expertise in Information Risk Consulting, Assessment, &amp; Compliance services. VISTA InfoSec specializes in Information Security audit, consulting and certification services which include GDPR, HIPAA, CCPA, NESA, MAS-TRM, PCI DSS Compliance &amp; Audit, PCI PIN, SOC2, PDPA, PDPB to name a few. The company has for years (since 2004) worked with organizations across the globe to address the Regulatory and Information Security challenges in their industry VISTA InfoSec has been instrumental in helping top multinational companies achieve compliance and secure their IT infrastructure.