All organisations with computer systems face attacks, as cybersecurity continues to be a huge concern. Although a lot of time, money and effort is put into protecting against external attacks and intrusions, it should not be the only form of protection put in place. Penetration testing provides real world simulations of attacks that can help your organisation understand where vulnerabilities exist and how to fix them.
As there’s no shortage of ways that intruders and cybercriminals can gain access to your networks, there’s also a wide selection of different penetration tests that can be carried out. We’ve highlighted some of the most common and effective below.
Internal Pen Testing
There’s a lot of emphasis on external attacks on systems, but the truth is that internal threats to the security of your organisation are just as serious. Internal penetration testing is designed to assess what a potential insider attach could achieve. The difference between this and an external pen test is that the attacker will generally have some kind of authorised access or at least have a starting point already within the network.
It includes testing from the point of view of a non-authenticated user and authenticated user to check for exploits that may exist in the system, assessing the vulnerabilities of systems on the network that can be accessed with login IDs and checking for any misconfigurations that could give employees/attackers access to sensitive information and leak it to outside sources.
External Pen Testing
Conversely to the above, the goal of external pen testing is to evaluate your company network for any security issues and vulnerabilities in network services, devices and hosts. It usually includes assessing and identifying the internet-accessible assets that a hacker could use as entry points onto your network, assessing how effective firewalls and other types of intrusion-prevention software and systems you have in place and establishing whether or not a user that doesn’t have authorisation and similar access as a supplier or customer could actually gain access to any of the systems on your network.
PCI DSS Pen Testing
PCI DSS pen testing is a form of penetration testing that is designed to ensure the safety of the CDE or cardholder data environment and includes checking the systems that could have an impact on the safety of it. It can be used to identify network and system configurations that are unsafe, vulnerabilities in coding like SQL injection and XSS, broken session and authentication management, flaws in encryption, incorrect access controls.
Web App Pen Testing
So much of what we do in IT nowadays is through web-based applications, especially those based in the cloud. Web application penetration testing involves testing for threats, security flaws and vulnerabilities in web applications. That includes the databases, source codes and back-end networks related to them.
IoT Pen Testing
IoT penetration testing specifically relates to IoT (Internet of Things) devices, which involves any items or devices that have an internet connection. As so many things nowadays have internet connections that aren’t actually computers, it’s important for your company to be sure that any smart devices, such as fridges, lighting and heating controlling systems that have internet connections cannot be hacked into. Pen testing of these systems helps to identify and mitigate any vulnerabilities to protect your company and its sensitive data.
Pen Testing for Compliance
The various forms of penetration testing noted above are not just crucial for ensuring your company and its systems are safe, as well as the users and data stored on it. It is also important from a compliance point of view. There are various industry standards and regulations, including PCI DSS and many others that are in place to ensure a business is doing all they can to keep their users, customers and systems safe. If you don’t it can have serious consequences and you could face expensive fines at the very least.