When it comes to protecting your business from cyber-attacks, you can never be too careful.
In fact, in 2021 businesses reported a disclosure of 28,695 vulnerabilities for the year (the highest ever on record). With so many new and emerging cyber vulnerabilities threatening businesses every day, how can you find out if your sensitive data is at risk?
One of the most important steps you can take is to make sure you are performing penetration testing on a regular basis.
But what are the different types of penetration testing? And what do they each entail?
In this blog post, we will discuss both the general categories and types of pen testing, as well as provide a brief description of each one. We’ll also explain why it’s so important to have all of these tests performed regularly on your network.
The 3 Main Categories of Penetration Testing
There are three main types of penetration tests: black box, white box, and gray box. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Black Box Penetration Testing
Black box testing is a type of security testing where the tester has no prior knowledge of the system under test.
The tester only has access to public information about the system, such as what is available on the company website. This type of testing is often used to simulate a real-life attack from possible threat actors, as it provides a more realistic assessment of how an outsider would attempt to breach your system.
White Box Penetration Testing
White box testing is a type of security testing where the tester has complete knowledge of the system under test.
The tester usually has access to the source code, architecture, and design of the system. This type of testing is often used to find vulnerabilities that may be difficult to find using black box testing methods.
Grey Box Penetration Testing
Grey box testing is a type of security testing where the tester has partial knowledge of the system under test.
The tester usually has access to some but not all of the information that would be available to a white box tester. This type of testing is often used to find vulnerabilities that may be difficult to find using black box or white box testing methods.
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The 7 Different Types of Penetration Testing
There are a number of different types of penetration testing methods that can be performed, each with its own objectives and goals.
Here are some of the most common types of penetration testing typically performed by managed security service providers (MSSPs):
1. External Network Testing
External network testing is a type of network penetration testing that is conducted from outside the organization’s network.
This pen testing type’s goal is to find vulnerabilities in the network infrastructure that could be exploited by an attacker who does not have access to the internal network or security controls.
2. Internal Network Testing
Internal network testing is another type of penetration test, but one that is conducted from inside the organization’s network.
The general aim here is to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker who already has access to the internal network and can affect the security posture of the network.
3. Web Application Penetration Testing
Web application testing is conducted on web applications, often cloud-based, that are often critical to a business’ day-to-day operations.
The objective of this type of test is to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to sensitive data or essential functionality.
4. Database Testing
Database testing, as the name implies, is a type of pen testing that is conducted on databases.
Database penetration testing is a vital component of being proactive about database security. By conducting this form of penetration test, you can manage the risk connected with both database-specific and web-based attacks. Additionally, it may be necessary in order to adhere to various laws, standards and regulations.
5. Wireless Testing
Wireless testing is a type of penetration test that is conducted on wireless networks. The strategy in this type of test is to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to the network or its data.
Often, unsecured Wi-Fi access points are a prime target for threat actors and hackers alike.
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6. Physical Penetration Testing
Physical testing is a type of penetration test that is conducted on the physical security of an organization.
This type of test attempts to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to the premises or its data.
Often, this involves bypassing card reader door locks, stealing written-down login credentials, using a USB to quickly steal information, and other covert strategies.
7. Social Engineering Testing
Social engineering penetration testing is a type of penetration test conducted using social engineering techniques, aimed at deceiving people to see how well or poorly trained the team members of any given business are.
By conducting this type of pen test, the goal is to find any and all vulnerabilities that could be exploited by an attacker to gain access to the network or otherwise breach the system for personal or financial gain.
The Penetration Testing Process
Penetration testing is a process that consists of several steps, each of which must be conducted in order to ensure a thorough and complete test. The steps in the penetration testing process are as follows:
Planning: The planning stage is the first step in the penetration testing process. During this stage, the penetration tester will determine the scope and objectives of the test.
Information Gathering: The information gathering stage is the second step in the penetration testing process. In this stage, the penetration tester will collect information about the target system. This information can be gathered manually or through automated tools.
Scanning: The scanning stage is the third step in the penetration testing process. Here, the penetration tester will scan the target system for vulnerabilities., once again either done manually or through automated tools.
Exploitation: The exploitation stage is the fourth step in the penetration testing process. For this part, the penetration tester will attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in the target system.
Reporting: The reporting stage is the fifth and final step in the penetration testing process. During this stage, the penetration tester will generate a report detailing the findings of the test. This report will be used to help improve the security of the target system.
Making Use of the Different Penetration Testing Types with a Leading MSSP
As you can see, there are a number of different types of penetration tests that can be performed, each with its own specific objectives.
It is important to choose the right type of test for your needs in order to ensure that all potential vulnerabilities are found and addressed.
Penetration testing is an important part of any security program. By regularly conducting penetration tests, you can find and fix vulnerabilities before they are exploited by attackers. This helps to protect your data and reputation, and ensures that your customers can continue to trust you with their information.
If you’re not already performing penetration tests on a regular basis, now is the time to start.
At Buchanan we have performed thousands of penetration tests for businesses of all sizes, and have helped to close security gaps that would have almost certainly led to a damaging data breach.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your options and get started on protecting your business.