Penetration Testing is the process of identifying security vulnerabilities in computing applications by evaluating the system or network with various malicious methodologies. The end-purpose of this test is to secure critical information from outsiders who continually try to gain unauthorized access to the system. Vulnerabilities, once identified, can be exploited to gain access to sensitive information. Security issues uncovered through an ideal Penetration Testing are then presented to the system owner with an accurate assessment of potential impact it have on the entire organization.
Penetration Testing is an evolving function of the IT infrastructure of many enterprises today. Its wings are forever expanding to encompass many inter-departmental concerns like social engineering, web application security and physical penetration testing.
Although there are a host of Penetration Testing Tools that are available for use, the choice to enable one should ideally come out of the ease to deploy, configure and use the same. It is to be kept in mind that the tools should methodologies that helps vulnerabilities to be categorized based on severity that needs immediate fix. It should also be noted that Penetration Testing tools should empower automated verification of vulnerabilities to save time and reduce human errors.
1) Data collection: There are a plenty of methods used to get target system data, including Google Search. While Web page source code analysis is another technique to get more information about the system, software and plugin versions, there are an array of free tools and services available in the market too that provides information like database, table names, software versions and hardware used by various third party plugins.
2) Vulnerability Assessment: Based on the data collected via first step, security weakness in the target system can be identified with ease. This helps penetration testers to launch attacks using identified entry points in the system.
3) Actual Exploit: This being the crucial step, it requires special skills and techniques to launch attack on target system. Experienced penetration testers can use their skills to launch attack on the system
4) Result analysis and report preparation: After completion of penetration tests detailed reports are prepared for taking corrective actions. All identified vulnerabilities and recommended corrective methods are listed in these reports. You can customize vulnerability report format (HTML, XML, MS Word or PDF) as per your organization needs.