What is penetration testing?
Penetration testing is a method of evaluating the security of an information system by simulating an attack from a malicious source. This type of testing has been adopted in most developed countries and it is slowly gaining ground in Nigeria .The ultimate objective of penetration tests is to identify vulnerabilities and provide suggestions on how to fix them before they can be exploited by attackers.
Penetration testing can be defined as a method of evaluating the security of an information system by simulating an attack from a malicious source. Penetration testing is commonly referred to as “pen testing”. It helps to uncover security loopholes that would allow an attacker to break in, disrupt services or steal data. The accuracy of the test is improved by using the same tools and techniques as those of potential attackers. Penetration testing has been adopted in most developed countries and it is slowly gaining ground in Nigeria .
The ultimate objective of penetration tests is to identify vulnerabilities and provide suggestions on how to fix them before they can be exploited by attackers.
How to do penetration testing ?
Penetration testing is done by internal or external consultants or agencies like IAS that have been hired to accomplish it. The team of testers should be given a comprehensive list of systems and applications to test for vulnerabilities. Details such as the information system’s topology, configuration and components should be made available before starting the test so they can use the same tools as potential attackers to exploit vulnerabilities.
The penetration test is carried out over an assigned period (usually one to two weeks) with the entire team working under a contract that clearly defines its scope and objectives. The test begins by gaining access to the systems using non-intrusive methods like scanning for open ports. Eavesdropping on network traffic can also be done to determine if sensitive data is being transmitted in the clear. Vulnerabilities are then identified by performing a series of penetration tests on systems and applications.
Results for each test are recorded so it can be concluded whether the vulnerability has been successfully exploited or not. The following actions can be taken after identifying vulnerabilities:
– Request an explanation of how it works
– Recommend a solution to fix the vulnerability
– Suggest mitigation controls if there is no effective solution
In most cases, recommendations from penetration tests can prevent attacks from being successful. Penetration testing ensures that as much as possible is done to reduce the risk of security breaches. The success or failure of an attack often depends on how vulnerable an organization is to the exploitation of its security loopholes. Penetration tests help organizations identify possible risks and take necessary actions to prevent them from being exploited.
Why Penetration Testing in Nigeria ?
For a long time, information security was focused on stopping hackers from penetrating systems or networks without considering that many attacks are actually initiated by insiders with legitimate access to the system. There is very little knowledge about how attackers manage to escalate their privileges and compromise sensitive information.
This scenario has changed, with organizations now putting more emphasis on defending against internal threats like negligent employees and malicious insiders. Web applications and databases also require far greater attention than before because they typically house an organization’s most valuable data.
Penetration testing Cost
The cost of penetration tests depends on the number of systems and applications that need to be tested. They can range from $5000 to $20,000 or more depending on their size and complexity. Penetration testing is usually billed in terms of “pay per vulnerability” because customers are interested in knowing how secure an information system is. Doing it right can save organizations from devastating consequences like data loss and downtime.
Penetration testing is a good investment because it helps identify the information assets that are most critical to an organization, their associated vulnerabilities and how attackers can exploit them to gain access to sensitive information. Penetration testing is therefore recommended for all organizations and businesses especially those handling large volumes of customer data.
How often should penetration testing be done?
Performing a penetration test is an ongoing thing because it has to identify vulnerabilities in systems and applications as they are uncovered. Many organizations conduct penetration tests on their information systems on a regular basis, say once or twice year, so security gaps can be plugged before attackers exploit them to compromise sensitive data. Penetration tests should be conducted to understand where an organization’s security vulnerabilities lie and how they can be minimized.
Major types of penetration testing:
There are many different kinds of penetration testing but they can all be divided into two basic categories: black-box and white-box. Black-box penetration testing involves having a third-party organization attempt to hack into systems without any prior knowledge of their design while white-box penetration testing involves having an organization’s own employees attempt to hack into secure information systems.
What are the reasons for carrying out penetration testing?
Penetration tests reveal vulnerabilities so potential attackers cannot exploit these weaknesses. Organizations should regularly perform penetration tests to discover vulnerabilities before these are exploited by attackers with malicious intent. It is also recommended that penetration testing be used to check for vulnerabilities in systems and applications during the development phase so they can be eliminated or reduced before being deployed. Penetration tests are therefore important because they help organizations know where they stand when it comes to security.
A Penetration test can also help a company or a business know whether they are ready for an upcoming cyber-attack. They give you the opportunity to test your security measures and allows you to put some things into perspective before hackers strike. Regular penetration tests can also help detect vulnerabilities so they get fixed or eliminated before attackers exploit them.
vulnerability and penetration testing
Penetration testing can help organizations uncover vulnerabilities that have been exploited by hackers. These are often uncovered when an exploit is launched against a system or application so it can be addressed before attackers target another endpoint.
The main reason for penetration testing is to identify security gaps in systems and applications so they can get plugged so unauthorized parties cannot access sensitive information. A penetration test also reveals the best security controls that should be used to reduce risks of information systems before they can get compromised by attackers.
What results are expected from penetration testing?
Results resulting from conducting a penetration test can vary but it is often difficult for organizations to get hold of this information. Organizations may not receive any valuable vulnerability-related information or even tools that can be used to exploit systems and applications. The only thing they may get is access to sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, which can help attackers launch a cyber-attack.
Depending on the goals of an organization, different results should be expected from a penetration test. Organizations may want to know what vulnerabilities exist in systems and applications so they can get plugged before attackers exploit these to compromise sensitive data. Another goal of penetration testing is to understand what controls are effective at minimizing vulnerabilities so the best security measures are implemented before attackers target an endpoint.
Penetration testing services by Integrated Assessment Services
IAS performs penetration tests for a large number of companies, but organizations may also conduct these tests themselves. Professionals have the knowledge and expertise to carry out efficient penetration testing that produces results an organization can use after a test is done.
Organizations should hire IAS to conduct efficient penetration tests because they know exactly what tools and techniques cyber-attackers use when trying to break into an endpoint. This way, the best security controls can be implemented before attackers compromise sensitive information assets.
To know more about Penetration testing and cost contact us at [email protected]