Nowadays, Information security, a top-rated and most important topic for everyone and in every field. Penetration testing is also one of the areas of information security that discover all exploitable vulnerabilities of system, network, web application. Also, known as “ethical hacking”, pen-testing or pen test. Penetration testing can be performed manually or automated with the help of some software applications. The primary purpose of penetration testing to diagnose all the security weakness of an organization that attacker could exploit and evaluate security measures. Penetration testing also gives awareness to the security staff of an organization that could make a strategic decision to ensure security. Penetration testing methodology based on penetration testing types, phases and standards.
Types of penetration testing
Following three types of penetration testing used to strengthen the cyber security:
In black-box penetration testing attacker has no information about the target. Because attackers do not know the goal, so they use some automated tools to find out vulnerabilities, so this is a time taking process.
White box penetration testing is a type of testing in which an attacker has complete information about the target. The attacker has the code samples, details of the operating system,and also the IP addresses etc. Because of full information of target white box testing takes less time as compared to black-box testing.
In the case of Grey box penetration testing, attackers have limited knowledge of the target. Attackers have some information about a destination like IP addresses, URLs, etc.
Phases of Penetration Testing
Planning & Reconnaissance
The first phase of penetration testing is planning in this phase attackers collect information about the target. Also, the collected information is in the form of IP address, network topology, mail server, domain detail, etc. The planning phase describes the testing methodology, scope and goal of the target system. This phase is time taking stage for penetration tester because this phase will help in further phases.
Scanning phase is based on collected data of the planning phase, on the basis on collected data attacker will connect with the target to diagnose vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities will help pentation tester to launch an attack using some tools. In scanning, penetration tester use some tools such as ping tools, vulnerability scanner, port scanners and network mappers.
In web application testing, the scanning phase can be divided into two phases static and dynamic.
- Static scanning: Static scanning is scanning in which penetration tester fine vulnerable functions, logic implementation and libraries.
- Dynamic scanning: Dynamic scanning is practical scanning as compared to static scanning. In dynamic scanning, penetration tester gives input to applications and note responses.
It is the intermediate phase of penetration testing because here is the inevitable damage is done. Penetration tester launches an attack using different techniques and skills on the target system. After launching the attack, the inspector will get information by lunching doc attack, compromising the system etc. To analyze what type of extent the network or computer or application can be negotiated.
Risk Analysis and Recommendations
After competition of penetration test, penetration tester assembles the manifest of exploited vulnerabilities. Risk analysis phase mostly covers all aspects discussed above. This process also included some recommendations from penetration tester to enhance security.
Report generation is a phase in which results of penetration testing, submitted into a report. It is the last and crucial phase, and reports included the following details:
- The recommendation which is provided in the above phase
- Risk levels and vulnerabilities that were disclosed
- Penetration test summary
- Tips for future security
Standards of Penetration Testing
The OSSTMM (Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual), maintained by the Institute for Security and Open methodologies (ISECOM). OSSTMM is a document for developing enterprise security and provide a method for the penetration tester, and grant penetration tester to custom make their estimate to fit needs. It has different information-gathering templates, and it is an international standard. It is an open-source penetration testing methodology so anyone can add, open, cut things form anywhere and mention objections about vulnerabilities. OSSTMM provide different rules and regulations for a taster, information security, ethical hacking and penetration testing and testing tools. After six months, the OSSTMM document updates to maintain current security. OSSTMM is a complete guide for a penetration tester to analyze security vulnerabilities.
The OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project), specially designed for application security and well-recognized standard. OWASP is not only identified web and mobile vulnerabilities but also subtle logical flaws of web and mobile application. The updated guide provides 66 controls of web and mobile application that allow a tester to find vulnerabilities. This standard will help the organization to equipped with the best web and mobile app to ensure security and as the best Penetration Testing Methodology. The organization also consider OWASP during the development of web and mobile applications to avoid security flaws.
NIST is another information security manual that offers guidelines for the penetration tester. The “National Institute of Science and Technology” (NIST) provides a specific manual that increases overall cybersecurity of an organization. Recently version is 1.1 that provide more critical infrastructure cybersecurity. NIST provides information security in different fields like communication, banking, energy. Industries will perform penetration testing on applications and establish a set of guidelines for networks to meet NIST standard requirements.
The PTES (Penetration Testing Methodology and Standards) is a type of standard which provide the most appropriate approach for penetration testing structure. PTES provide guidelines to penetration tester on different phases of penetration testing like the initial, gathering information, communication and exploit moulding phase. In PTES penetration, the tester will familiarize organization and their technological context before focusing on vulnerable areas. It also allows the penetration tester to verify previous vulnerabilities and provide guidelines for new exploitation testing.
The ISSAF (Information Security System Assessment Framework) is more appropriate and specialized approach than previous penetration testing standards. The ISSAF is used when your organization needs a unique situation and advanced methodology. ISSAF is best for those penetration testers who use different tools because, in ISSAF, each step uses a particular tool.
Infosec Tweaks covers all the areas which can strengthen the cybersecurity. Pen testing is the central pillar to secure your business against all security threats. Digital security can also flourish when you periodically perform pen testing and vulnerability assessment. To get other information regarding infosec, stay tunned. For any queries, contact us.