General 4min de Leitura - 07 de June de 2018

Pentest: what is it and what are the main types?

Homem de negócios digitando em notebook.

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The increasing incidence of virtual attacks is haunting companies and individuals around the world. In a survey by (ISC)², it was concluded that 44% of IT professionals point to ransomware as the biggest fear of corporate security in 2018.

As a precaution, certain measures must be taken. The great question of analysts and managers of technology, however, is: where are the weaknesses and vulnerabilities? By having this information, certainly the process of improving defenses is more effective and accurate.

The Pentest is a great option to achieve this goal and it is exactly on it that we will talk in this blog post. If you are interested, just read on to understand its concept, its types and benefits.

What is Pentest?

Pentest is the abbreviation for Penetration Test. It is also known as Intrusion Testing because it performs meticulous detection with techniques used by ethical hackers – information security experts hired by corporations to perform such tests without engaging in activities that harm the company or have a criminal offense.

The intrusion test aims to find potential vulnerabilities in a system, server or, in general, in a network structure. But more than that, Pentest uses intrusion-specific tools that show what information or corporate data can be stolen through the action.

In this way, technology analysts will have the possibility to know more about their weaknesses and where they need to improve. Efforts and investments in Information Securitywill be focused on the weaknesses of the corporation, shielding the structure against any potential security bottleneck.

White-Box, Black-Box e Gray-Box Pentest

There are a few ways to perform intrusion tests, each of which will have a differentiated efficiency. Among them, we can highlight the White-Box, the Black-Box and the Gray-Box.

White Box

The White Box test is the most complete Pentest. This is because starts from a comprehensive analysis, which evaluates the entire network infrastructure. This is possible because when starting Pentest, the ethical hacker (the name given to the professionals who perform these tests) already has knowledge of all essential company information, such as topography, passwords, IPs, logins and all other data which relate to network, servers, structure, potential security measures, firewalls, etc.

With this preliminary information, the test can accurately target itsr attack and find out what needs to be improved and reoriented. Because it is a high volume of preliminary information, usually this type of Pentest is performed by members of the company’s own IT staff.

Black Box

The Black Box test is almost like a blind test because it follows the premise of not having a lot of information available about the corporation. Although targeted, as it will hit the contracting company and discover its vulnerabilities, the Black Box Pentest is the closest to following the characteristics of an external attack.

Given these characteristics, without extensive mapping of information, it will act in a very similar way to cybercriminals – which is a good experience, in case it does not start maliciously and serves only as a method of recognizing weaknesses in the network structure.

Gray Box

Defined as a mix of the two previous types, the Gray Box already has certain specific information to perform the intrusion test. However, this amount of information is low and does not compare the amount of data made available in a White Box Pentest.

In doing so, the Gray Box test will invest time and resources to identify such vulnerabilities and threats based on the amount of specific information it has. It is the most recommended type of Pentest, if there is a need to hire any of these services.

The types of Pentest

Now that you know the ways that intrusion tests can be performed, in addition to the amount of information each of them requires to achieve a certain efficiency, we’ll take a quick look at the available Pentest types.

  • Testing in Network Services: analyzes are performed on the network infrastructure of the corporation, in search of fragilities that can be solidified. In this regard, it evaluates the configuration of the firewall, stateful filteringtests, etc.
  • Web Application Testing: it is a deep dive in the intrusion test because all the analysis is extremely detailed and vulnerabilities are more easily discovered by relying on web application search.
  • Client Side Test: In this type of test, it is posible to explore software, content creation programs and Web browsers (such as Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, etc.) on users’ computers.
  • Wireless Network Test: This one examines all the wireless networks used in a corporation, as the name itself states. Tests are performed on wireless network protocols, access points, and administrative credentials.
  • Social Engineeringtest: Confidential information and data are susceptible to theft through psychological manipulation, an attempt to induce the employee to provide on items that should be confidential.

Benefits of the Intrusion Test

Although it is still a scornful test by many people, especially for using the hack as a way to garner the proposed benefits, Pentest practice has numerous benefits:

  • Assist companies to test their cybersecurity capacity;
  • Discover weaknesses in the security system before a cybercriminal does;
  • Allowing companies to adopt new positions regarding Information Security, as well as to present justification for investments in the area;
  • Look after your company’s reputation as an intrusion test shows commitment to ensuring business continuity and maintaining an effective relationship with corporate security.

It is important to note, before finalizing, that the Intrusion Test is different from an Information Security Diagnostics. While the former uses hacking techniques – ethically and positively, with no malicious intent – and formulates an attack to find digital weaknesses, the diagnosis is an automated system that produces an assessment report of business maturity in terms of corporate security. Therefore, they are two differentiated concepts that should not be confused.

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This post is also available in: Português English Español