Network Penetration Testing, also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, refers to the practice of identifying vulnerabilities in networks, systems, hosts or other related devices in a controlled environment. The objective of Network Penetration Testing is to identify and plug gaps in a network’s security apparatus before external actors like hackers find them.
Much like white hat hackers, network penetration tests are a type of external audit deployed by organizations from different sectors. Though similar to vulnerability assessments, there is a major difference: network penetration testing is not dependent on a signature-based approach which could be outdated and unable to discover real-world vulnerabilities. Network penetration testing simulates how a real-world attack on the network may happen. In that sense, it provides organizations with a perspective from the eye of the hacker and hence enables a better understanding of its own security posture.
To ensure there is standardization in approach, network penetration testing normally follows the globally-accepted Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES) which was developed in 2009. The methodology generally consists of the below steps –
At this stage, the scope of the testing is outlined and finalized. Other pre-engagement interactions are also conducted to fully finalize on aspects of testing, analysis and results.
This stage is primarily involved in information gathering for the purpose of gaining knowledge about the network or system to be penetrated and its respective connections.
In this stage, vulnerabilities are identified within the network through automated scans or deep-dive manual techniques.
This stage involves the documentation and analysis of vulnerabilities within the network to formulate an attack plan.
This is the stage where the actual exploitation attempt takes placed on the basis of the analysis of the vulnerabilities discovered.
In the Post Exploitation phase, further analysis is done of the exploited network to identify other means of access.
Reporting in Network Penetration Testing
This is a fact-finding stage where findings are analyzed and compiled into a report for action to be taken.
The cybersecurity industry is undergoing a paradigm shift where the focus for enterprises is rapidly shifting from threat detection to threat prevention. In such a scenario, it is imperative that enterprises have regular network penetration tests to gain a better understanding of their security posture. It is not enough anymore to depend on cybersecurity solutions alone; efforts must be taken to test and ensure cybersecurity stays up-to-date against ever-changing threats.
Red Team Assessments by Seqrite
In this regard, enterprises can consider Red Team Assessments which have been recommended by the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank, for banking institutions. In a red team exercise, highly trained security consultants attempt to breach the security of the organization to expose potential physical, hardware, software and human vulnerabilities.
A comprehensive Red Team exercise exposes vulnerabilities and risks regarding
- Networks, applications, switches, mobile devices
- Social engineering (onsite, telephone, email/text, chat)
- Physical attacks (pen-drive bypass, camera evasion, alarm bypass, Wi-Fi attack etc.)
Red Team Audits are one among various services offered by Seqrite to enable organizations to proactively protect IT assets and respond to cybersecurity threats. Other services offered include Technical Audits, Compliance Audits, Security Management and Security Consulting.