Common Methodologies Used in Network Security Testing

Performing regular penetration testing within your organization has become an important cornerstone of internal defense to avoid many modern-day strategic cyber attacks. While the various objectives and functions of penetration testing might vary, there are 4 primary steps in the penetration testing methodology that include research and analysis, execution and detection, testing and validation, and penetration defense. The researchers and analysts within your organization should be skilled in analyzing and interpreting any information that might be obtained during penetration testing. When a test is executed, the analyst should be able to analyze the information retrieved during the test. Likewise, during an evaluation, the analyst must be able to interpret the results obtained during the testing. These steps are performed during both penetration testing and evaluation.

Many IT professionals have misconceptions that the penetration testing methodologies employed by software companies are outdated and that a lot of risk is involved. Most of these misconceptions are due to the fact that most software applications are developed using black box technology. Black box technology does not provide any security or authentication to the software application and therefore there is a lot of risk associated with these application penetration testing methodologies. In actuality, these methodologies are only used for performing compatibility checks and for performing code inspection.

Most of these testing methodologies are designed to detect vulnerabilities in a system before an application is released for end-users to use. Generally, these security testing methods are recommended for corporate environments, but they can also be utilized for training and practice within the home environment. A penetration testing methodology involves performing a series of routine and repetitive scripts that allow network or application security testers to gain access to the inner workings of a network or software application. The goal of this type of testing is to identify and locate security-related weaknesses that exist prior to the application’s release. The primary objective of these tests is to provide accurate and detailed information that enables network or software testers and designers to prioritize the needs of the business as well as find ways to improve the security of the system.

Penetration Testing Methodology

There are many types of penetration testing methodology that are used in today’s day and age. For example, a website vulnerability scanner tool may perform a number of functions to identify different types of vulnerabilities in order to help you fix the problems. Another popular method for performing a penetration test is the process of manual code review. This method is usually performed by non-technical team members or individuals who are trained on how to conduct thorough and accurate code review to detect vulnerabilities.

One of the primary objectives of a penetration testing methodology is the identification of a specific vulnerability that allows an attacker to execute malicious software. A popular penetration testing methodology called data exfiltration can be used to extract sensitive data from a system and use it for the purposes of lateral activity or even conducting unauthorized attacks on a system. Many companies utilize exploit subprograms to allow the penetration testing team access to system files that may not otherwise be accessible without compromising the system or network. However, in some cases a skilled hacker with exfiltrating intent may also be necessary to successfully complete the mission.

The penetration testing methodology discussed here is only one of many potential methods that a team of highly trained professionals can use. Different teams may choose to test their technologies in unique ways so as to arrive at the results that best describe the real world. In most cases a vulnerability scanning tool or vulnerability scanning software utility will allow a business to gain a concrete understanding of how their network security testing efforts are performing. Once a business understands how their network security testing efforts are performing they can make informed decisions about the next steps and build the foundation on which their business must evolve.

Tags: penetration testing methodology, vulnerabilities, pci-dss, report, offensive security