In information security, a penetration testing is a detailed test of the internal logic and functionality of an application or network of computer systems, to reveal the weak spots of that particular system. For that purpose, different tools are employed to simulate different hypothetical attack scenarios. In the past, an application’s security was typically tested using black-box penetration testing. With the advent of software testing, however, such a practice has been rendered ineffective because the latter’s logic is easier to debug. To avoid this kind of testing, developers typically employ a variety of techniques to compromise the application’s logic, in addition to its attack scenario.
By outsourcing penetration testing to competent and experienced security personnel, it becomes possible to identify weak areas in a program’s logic and exploit them to gain access to a target system. This allows a business professional to ensure his or her client’s systems are not compromised by a security vulnerability. When carried out properly, penetration testing can identify all kinds of vulnerabilities. The results of the tests, however, should be used to implement recommended fixes.
In today’s IT environment, security is crucial. Security professionals understand that a company’s network and applications are critical targets for hackers and other cyber criminals. Therefore, they must find ways to defend them by discovering and destroying their weakest links. A typical weak point in a target system may not always be immediately obvious, hence the need for experienced penetration testers to perform a thorough investigation before performing a certain technique. Penetration testing is a method that attacks a system and looks for weaknesses within the operational code. Afterward, the tester uses mathematical and logic analysis tools to try and find the vulnerability.
It is important to note that not all weak points can be accessed through the usual means of attack. For instance, it may be impossible to determine whether a software vulnerability is actually malicious or not unless you have actual access to the inner workings of the software. To determine whether an attack is valid or not, penetration testing relies on a number of criteria that involve the attacker’s aim, the victim’s system configuration and the characteristics of the chosen test methods. Different types of testing methods are available for choosing the most appropriate way to compromise a target system. One of these options is known as “brute force” testing, which relies on attacks that utilize large numbers of exploited programs to try and locate a security hole.
The other option is “cone” testing, which looks for weak sections of a program that could give rise to exploits. An example of this method is xoftspyse’s “penetration detection and repair” tool. This software tool can effectively detect and fix vulnerabilities that attackers can use against your system. Another option is automated vulnerability scanning, which aims to automate the scanning of vulnerable software and patching them automatically. This approach greatly minimizes downtime and saves companies money.
Vulnerability assessment is a critical component in many forms of security testing and can be used for determining whether a software weakness constitutes a potential threat or not. However, it is often hard for IT professionals to test for vulnerabilities manually. Many security companies prefer penetration testing in order to get a more accurate assessment. As such, a greater number of vendors are offering penetration testing services to help companies reduce their vulnerability risks.