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Top 6 Areas of Penetration Testing

Do you know as per the UN disarmament chief, cybercrime soared by a massive 600% due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic? Now, are you sure that your business is 100% secure against cyberattacks?

Organizations of all sizes require regular penetration testing. The goal?  To simulate a real-world attack and identify vulnerabilities which you can rectify. Read on to learn more about the top pen-testing areas and find which one fits your business model.

Network Penetration Testing

Network penetration testing is one of the most common types of pen tests requested by businesses. It’s also known as an infrastructure penetration test.

The primary aim of a network penetration test is to scan and spot the most exposed vulnerabilities in an organization’s on-premise and cloud-based network infrastructure. 

These are typically related to the design, implementation, and operation of servers, firewalls, switches, routers, printers, and workstations. The goal of a penetration test is to identify and rectify security flaws internally (assets inside a corporate network) or externally (internet-facing infrastructure) before an attacker targets the system. 

Why Perform a Network Penetration Test?

So, what is a network penetration test used for? Well, it’s deployed to mitigate  various network-based exploitations, including:

  • Firewall Bypassing: Where threat actors bypass firewall protection via firewall misconfiguration, social engineering attacks, IoT device vulnerabilities, SQL injection attacks, etc. They circumvent client-side or browser-based port restrictions by accessing the transmission control protocol and user datagram protocol (TCP/UDP). 
  • Proxy Server Exploitation: Where cyberattackers typically introduce malware or viruses to access a victim’s computer. This is used as a jumping-off point to exploit an organization’s network.
  • Open Ports Attack: Open TCP and/or UDP ports are essential for web pages, browsers, and servers, FTP file transfers, and voice-over-IP (VOIP) to work. However, they actively allow data packets to enter a system, an inherent vulnerability often exploited by hackers. 
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attack: Where an attacker positions themself in between a user and system to intercept, delete, modify, redirect, or block information.

Web App Penetration Testing

Web app penetration testing helps find vulnerabilities in a web application. A tester deploys various penetration testing tools to break into systems just like a threat actor would.

The typical scope of web application pen testing is pertinent to web-based apps, browsers, and elements like ActiveX, Plugins, Silverlight, Scriplets, and Applets. 

More in-depth and targeted, web app penetration testing is considered more complicated and time-consuming. The different stages of penetration testing aim to identify the interaction endpoints of every web-based app in your system. 

Why Perform Web App Pen Testing?

Experts know how to do penetration testing step by step to spot vulnerabilities in components like databases, source coding, and back-end networks. Spotting such loopholes helps improve the codebase of an application.

Any business heavily dependent on infotech generates multiple codes in a day. This increases bugs and errors that act as gateways to hackers. That’s why web application penetration tests are crucial to prevent cyberattacks.

Mobile App Penetration Testing

Mobile app penetration testing targets the security of Android and iOS operating systems. It’s used to identify, authenticate, authorize, and check data leakage issues. Testers are required to know the type and version of the mobile app to plan a pen test. 

As of the first quarter of 2022, there were 3.3million Android apps and 2.11 million apps available for iOS users. Hackers are constantly searching for personal information stored in the app database. As a business, it’s your responsibility to ensure your users’ data is safe. Data breaching can cause irreparable harm to your brand’s reputation.

Why Perform Mobile Application Penetration Testing?

Mobile app pen testing ensures the maximum safety of clients by attempting to exploit an app’s vulnerabilities. It prevents emerging threats by determining whether malicious action or unauthorized access is possible. 

Mobile app pen testers typically identify weaknesses such as inadequate data protection and binary compile issues. They also help mitigate more conventional threats like SQL injection attacks and username enumeration. 

Moreover, mobile application pen testing can be done before apps go live, eliminating most emerging vulnerabilities.

Client Side Penetration Testing

Client side penetration testing identifies vulnerabilities in client side applications. These include web browsers, email clients, and programs or apps like Gmail, Chrome, Macromedia Flash, Adobe Lightroom, Final Cut Pro, etc.

Why Perform Client Side Penetration Testing?

Client side penetration tests can help businesses safeguard themselves and their users against various cyberattacks, including: 

  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Attacks: Where hackers injects malicious scripts into benign and credible apps and websites.
  • Clickjacking Attacks: This tricks users into clicking on a malicious link invisible or disguised as a harmless one.
  • HTML Injection Attacks: Where attackers  inject malicious HTML codes into an app or web page to steal users’ confidential data.
  • Form Hijacking: Where an attacker creates a baleful URL that alters the action URL of a form. This redirects users to the attacker’s server.

Wireless Penetration Testing

A wireless penetration test identifies connections between all the devices associated with an organization’s wifi. These include laptops, desktops, mobile phones, tablets, etc. A tester must usually be on site to be within the wireless signal range and perform one or more types of penetration tests. However, remote pen testing is also possible.

Why Perform Wireless Penetration Testing?

It allows business owners to rectify loopholes in their wireless communications and connections. A lot of data flows in and out of a network daily, and it’s vital to spot vulnerabilities such as data leakage and unauthorized access points.

Social Engineering Penetration Testing

Social engineering attackers aim to trick and induce users to share credentials, phone numbers, email addresses, banking details, and other sensitive information. 

Social engineering penetration testing helps prevent numerous social engineering attacks, including phishing, vishing, and smishing attacks, scareware attacks, DNS spoofing, pretexting, watering hole attacks, dumpster diving, eavesdropping, etc.

Why Perform Social Engineering Penetration Testing?

Do you know as much as 98% of cyberattacks rely on social engineering? The human element, and therefore a company’s internal users, are one of the biggest network security risks. Plus, the profit ratio of these attacks is very handsome, which propels more sophisticated attacks more frequently.

A social engineering penetration test can help strengthen a system to mitigate such exploitations, along with staff awareness and education programs

Final Thoughts

Network, web app, mobile app, client side, wireless, and social engineering penetration testing safeguards your network by exposing vulnerabilities related to firewalls, servers, routers, etc. You can also secure your mobile and web applications. Businesses must invest in pen testing to ensure their user data, source coding, and other sensitive information is secure.

There are always risks and benefits of penetration testing. A tester might use their skills and expertise to exploit your organization’s network. That’s why you must stick to a credible and trusted firm or individual.

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