Penetration testing is a security exercise where a Cyber Security expert attempts to find and exploit vulnerabilities in a computer system. Penetration testers use the same tools, techniques, and processes as attackers to find and demonstrate the business impacts of weaknesses in your systems. When appropriately done, penetration testing goes beyond merely stopping criminals from unauthorized access to a company's systems. It creates real-world scenarios that show businesses how well their current defences would fare when confronted with a full-scale cyber-attack.
Main goal of penetration testing:
The goal is to identify security weaknesses in a network, machine, or piece of software. Once they're caught, the people maintaining the systems or software can eliminate or reduce the weaknesses before hostile parties discover them. Here are some other benefits of having pentests regularly: -.
- Uncover Hidden System Vulnerabilities Before the Criminals Do
- Save Remediation Costs and Reduces Network Downtime
- Protect Company Reputation
- Increased Cyber threat visibility
- Mitigate Damage from Cyberattacks
- Leads to user awareness and trainings
- Stay ahead of the curve
At Qseap, our penetration testing services begin with the latest tools and technologies, and leverage them to bypass the security of corporate networks protected by even the most sophisticated security controls. Our consultants think outside of the box to find weaknesses others overlook, and continuously learn new ways to evade controls in modern networks. We take the time to understand each of the in-scope components and their role in the overall system tested to custom tailor our approach to each environment we assess.
What is external Penetration Testing?
External penetration testing is a practice that assesses the externally facing assets for an organization. External penetration testing attempts to gain unauthorized access to privileged data through externally facing assets including email, company websites, brute forcing passwords, phishing attacks, precise operating system and service attacks.
During an external penetration test, the penetration tester will attempt to gain access into the internal network by leveraging vulnerabilities noticed within external assets. Once a perimeter is breached, testing depending on the rules of engagement, further attacks could be used to gain access to internal network assets, often referred to as pivoting or lateral movement.
Why you need External Penetration Testing?
The goal of External Pen Testing is to find those vulnerabilities a hacker may use to get into your company’s network to steal valuable information from within your company. Identifying security vulnerabilities within your company’s IT framework is the first, most important step in protecting it from data breaches and cyberattacks. By conducting external penetration testing, your company can immediately take definitive corrective action against these vulnerabilities, and prepare the organization and its networks for any prospective cyberattacks in the future.
Qseap will present the findings with reproduction steps, along with recommendations around remediation. We recommend External Infrastructure Pen Testing be conducted annually, or at least after any major network changes to internet facing systems and services.
Internal Penetration Testing
An internal penetration test emulates the role of an attacker from inside the network. The penetration tester will seek to gain access to hosts through lateral movement, compromise domain user and admin accounts, and exfiltrate sensitive data. Once domain admin access is achieved, or the attacker can gain control over the organization’s most valuable information, the test is generally concluded. Internal Pen Testing can also include privilege escalation, malware spreading, information leakage, and other malicious activities.
From the initial phase of the internal penetration test, penetration testers will perform internal reconnaissance, gathering details and information about the network. After enough pertinent detail is gathered, suitable attacks are launched in attempt to complete testing objectives and escalate privileges. This approach almost always involves leveraging discovered vulnerabilities found in systems to obtain control over the domain.
Why you need Internal Penetration Testing?
The goal is to see how much of the internal network is vulnerable if an attacker were to gain access. Being able to know areas of strength and weakness can help better prepare you for possible threats.
Your organization's internal network, (file servers, workstations, etc.), is exposed to threats from External intruders, after breaching perimeter defences, Malicious insiders attempting to access or damage sensitive information or IT resources and Accidental errors from staff.
We recommend Internal Infrastructure Pen Testing be conducted quarterly, or at least after any deployment of security solutions like antivirus solutions, Intrusion Detection Systems to test their effectiveness.
Methodology of Penetration Testing
Qseap’s penetration test is based on a four-phase methodology, which is a cyclic process: Information Gathering, Threat Modeling, Vulnerability Analysis, Exploitation
- Information Gathering
Information-gathering consists of Google search engine reconnaissance, server fingerprinting, network enumeration, and more. Information gathering efforts result in a compiled list of metadata and raw output with the goal of obtaining as much information about the network's makeup as possible. The purpose of this step is to collectively map the in-scope environment and prepare for identified vulnerabilities.
- Threat Modeling
With the information collected from the previous step, security testing transitions to identifying vulnerabilities in the network. This typically begins with automated scans initially but quickly morphs into manual testing techniques using more pointed and direct tools. During the threat-modeling step, assets are identified and categorized into threat categories. These may involve sensitive information, trade secrets, financial documents, etc.
- Vulnerability Analysis
The vulnerability analysis phase involves the documenting and analysis of vulnerabilities discovered as a result of the previous network penetration testing steps. This includes the analysis of out from the various security tools and manual testing techniques. At this point, a list of attractive vulnerabilities, suspicious services, and items worth researching further has been created and weighted for further analysis. In essence, the plan of attack is developed here.
During the Exploitation phase of a penetration test, Qseap penetration tester will attempt to gain access to the devices, networks, or applications through the bypassing of firewalls and other security controls and by the exploitation of vulnerabilities in order to determine their actual real-world risk. Throughout this step, we perform several manual tests simulating real-world attacks that are incapable of being performed through automated means. This phase of a Qseap Security penetration test consists of heavy manual testing tactics and is often the most time-intensive phase
The reporting step is intended to compile, document, and risk rate findings and generate a clear and actionable report, complete with evidence, for the project stakeholders. A presentation or review of findings can occur via virtual meeting if requested. At Qseap, we consider this phase to be the most important and we take great care to ensure we've communicated the value of our service and findings thoroughly.