Penetration Testing – How Important is it to Pen-Test Yourself?
The need for penetration testing of an IT system, software or infrastructure has never been more crucial than now with GDPR taking effect globally.
It is always considered reasonable for a system ethical hacker to test your IT system, explore the possible loopholes and test penetration before someone else does that.
A lot of organizations have got their fingers bitten and learnt the hard way from having their system compromised by a hacker. Worse than the compromise is the data breach of customer’s that happens as a result. Most firms never recover from regaining back the trust of their customers especially if it is not properly handled.
It is often a wise saying in the IT industry to better test your system privately than have it tested for you publicly. It is far cost effective and makes all business.
To gain a better understanding of the importance of penetration testing, it is best if associated with having a regular health check to be sure the body is functioning at its optimum than having to be diagnosed with a condition as a result of negligence from not taking proper care of your body.
So, why Penetration Testing?
To Determine an IT infrastructure’s Weakness
Penetration testing is the most assured way to determine the weakness of software.
To do this, you could give a team of experts’ access into a newly built system or already existing and ask them to try and penetrate it. Weaknesses which could range from subtle such as having untrained personnel in an organization who could be baits for hackers to break into a system to more complex ones are easily identified during penetration testing. The first curative measure to receiving healing is proper diagnosis. Once a weakness is diagnosed and fixed, a system stands a lesser chance of being compromised by hackers.
To Ensure the Effective Implementation of Controls
This is pivotal in ensuring the information security of an IT infrastructure. Rights and privileges are some of the security measures applied in securing a system and Pen-testing helps to points out if the control level can assure the security of a system or if it can serve as an entry point for hackers.
To Identify Applications that are at Risk of Being Attacked
Irrespective of best practice, applications are developed and built by humans and this means that some mistakes and loopholes may be bound to happen which can cause a system to be vulnerable to being attacked but with penetration testing, this issue is fixed and taken care of.
Report from Pen-Testing can become a Training Tool
This is immense benefit that goes with ethical hacking and testing a system. Reports generated from the exercise are great resources and reference points for developers as they work on future projects.
This is because a team of developers will be made to sit up and learn ways to protect a system they helped build when they see an outside attacker invited to carryout penetration testing break into a system with little or no effort, making a fool of what they have spent tons of hours developing. They will be quick and open to learn new ways of ensuring security to avoid loopholes.
Recommended Penetration Testing Tools
With the importance and benefits of Penetration Testing in mind, here are recommended tools to leverage on when carry out a Pen-Test. Typically, the test tools are often broken down into three categories; hardware based, application based and programming tools.
Using these tools are incredible places to begin penetration testing whether as a beginner or professional.
You can start by testing your own closed network but make sure to use a test computer not one that has important data.
It is recommended that you do it on a closed network that no one else has access to.
Hardware Based testing tools
This tool requires physical presence and access to the location where the IT infrastructure to be tested is. Some of the handy tools needed are easily plugged into the system. These devices are fully programmable and customizable to suite the project. You may either go with the programmable wireless access point. Ensure to look for a wireless access point that is programmable, has a powerful CPU and portable.
Software based tools
You may leverage N-MAP Network Scanner. It allows you to scan the system, view data, asset information that are vulnerable and detect threats from one single console. Metasploits is another excellent software tool to pen-test a system. It boasts of being the world’s most used software for penetration testing.
As users are being becoming more aware of their right to data protection, a company cannot afford to be careless with a system because a breach resulting from an attack can cost an organization a fortune, if they ever recover from it.