21 Jun Pentest: how to do the intrusion test
Due to lack of knowledge in corporate security, many companies have extreme vulnerabilities in their networks, services and applications. These vulnerabilities are potential loopholes for threats of all sizes and shapes, capable of directly or indirectly impacting the corporation.
As a way to circumvent these unrecognized or ignored fragilities, some techniques have been developed and perfected over time. One of them, for example, is the Pentest – ou Intrusion Test. Through it, ethical hackers simulate targeted virtual attacks aimed at finding weaknesses in the company’s security. Thus, it is possible to find problems and circumvent them, solidifying a defense strategy.
However, it is very important to know the proper methods – and what to follow – to perform the intrusion test correctly. If you want to know this methodology, organized in stages, just continue reading this material.
What are the benefits of Pentest?
Numerous virtual attacks happen daily, in all parts of the world. They often hit unsuspecting companies that do not follow proper corporate security procedures.
As a consequence, intrusion tests are essential procedures. They allow you to find traces of insecurity and hitherto unseen dangers, ensuring more protection for the company. Some of the major benefits of Pentest are:
- Ensure security of user data;
- Find vulnerabilities in applications, systems or any corporate network infrastructure;
- Be aware of the impacts that potential attacks would have;
- Implement a fortified and effective security strategy;
- Avoid financial or corporate data losses;
- Protect brand reputation on the internet.
Processes for performing a Pentest
Pentest professionals, known as pentesters or ethical hackers, are specialized in virtual attacks. The great difference from an ethical hacker to a cracker, for example, is that his goals are positive, with no intention of causing any harm to the company. Quite the contrary: they are hired to avoid business losses.
To perform such a task, however, certain procedures must be performed – ranging from basic to complex. The following are examples for you to have an introductory knowledge about the methods used to perform an intrusion test.
Preparation and Planning
In this first moment, it is important that the pentesters define their objectives for the intrusion test to occur properly. If it is to identify vulnerabilities in the security of technical systems or increase the security of the organizational infrastructure, it is necessary that these “missions” are well defined.
In addition, it is very interesting to make a pre-commitment term between the client and the directors of Pentest. Thus, everyone is aligned with the goal and communication failures are minimized.
In the verification stage, you need to collect preliminary information about the structure. This includes IP addresses, system descriptions, network architecture, public and private services, among others. It is a very important step, because it will determine the shape and type of Pentest.
In this phase of the analysis, ethical hackers will focus their efforts on using some of Pentest’s tools to analyze and recognize the assets targeted. This allows a preview of potential weaknesses, discovering network, server, and service threats. Thus, it is important that the pentester takes the place of a cybercriminal, thinking like them to make his strategy effective.
Analysis of Information and Risks
By grouping and collecting information from previous steps, this process is essential. The chances of success in the intrusion will be sought, as well as the analysis of the risks possibly faced by the process throughout the procedure. As the network structure has already passed the initial recognition, the user can choose to do this analysis only in systems where certain vulnerabilities have already been previewed.
This is one of the most sensitive steps and therefore requires extra care. Now that the risks and the potential success of the intrusion have been analyzed, the vulnerabilities and extent of each fragility will be identified. It is the intrusion itself – the attack carried out by the ethical hacker.
The final analysis, also called the post-exploitation phase, is almost like a certification of the results obtained in the previous analyzes. Thus, when the structure is finally attacked and the pentester takes possession of the target system, it will search for sensitive data that could harm the organization.
To conclude, Pentest must be completed by a report of all procedures. This includes a general summary of the operation, the details of each step, information collected and results obtained, as well as data on the risks encountered and suggestions for enhancing corporate security.
Intrusion Testing x Information Security Diagnostics
It is important to note, before finalizing, that the Intrusion Test is different from 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 a report, evaluating the business’s maturity in terms of corporate security. Therefore, they are two differentiated concepts that should not be confused.