What is a penetration test - ProgrammerTech


What is a penetration test

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What is a penetration test

Penetration testing is the deliberate use of technical tools to test an enterprise's safety and the strength of those tools when placed in the hands of a skilled and determined attacker. Penetration tests and legal attempts to defeat the institution's security controls and carry out unauthorized activities are permitted. People who undergo a breakthrough test are identified as real attackers who will try to endanger the organization. Attackers and testers seek to undermine these goals and achieve their own.

Disclosure : Attacks for unauthorized access to information or systems.

Change : Attacks to make unauthorized changes to information or systems.

Reasons for penetration test? 

The modern organization devotes a lot of time, energy, and funding to a variety of security controls and activities. We install firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, security information, event management devices, vulnerability scanners and many other tools. The staff of the Security Operations Centers (SOC ) work 24 hours to monitor these technologies and our systems, networks, and applications for reconciliation signals

Why do we want to take the extra burden of doing penetration tests? 

The answer to this question is that the hack test provides us with a clear view of the institution's security situation and is simply not available by other means 

Penetration testing does not seek to replace all other cybersecurity activities of the organization. Instead, they complement and build upon these efforts. Penetration testing bring their unique skills and perspectives and can use safety tools and put them into the attacker's mentality, asking if I'm an attacker, how can I use this information for my own good?

Benefits of penetration testing? 

Above all, the Penetration testing provides us with knowledge she can't get elsewhere. In comprehensive penetration tests, we learn whether an attacker with the same knowledge, skills, and information as our testers will likely be able to penetrate our defenses. If they cannot access the network, we can say that our networks are safe against an attack by Threat agent.

Second, if the attackers succeed, the penetration test provides the institution with an important treatment scheme. As cybersecurity professionals, we can track our testers' procedures as they progress through the different stages of the attack and close the chain of open doors our testers passed through. This provides us with a more robust defense against future attacks to keep our network safer.

Who is conducting penetration tests? 

Penetration testing is a highly skilled system , and institutions often try out hack testers for their testing efforts. If you don't have experience doing penetration tests, it doesn't mean losing all hope. You may be able to participate in a test under the supervision of an experienced penetration laboratory, or you may be able to perform a penetration test in your institution simply because no one with experience is available to take the test.

Internal penetration test team 

Internal penetration testing teams consist of cybersecurity professionals from within the organization who conduct penetration tests on the organization's systems and applications. This team may conduct the hack test on a full-time basis or may be performed periodically for full-time testing. There are two main benefits of using internal teams to conduct a penetration test .

First, they have contextual knowledge of the organization that can improve the effectiveness of testing.

Secondly, taking a test using internal staff is generally less expensive than hacking a hack test company.

External penetration test team 

External penetration test teams are assigned for the express purpose of conducting the penetration test. They may come from a public cybersecurity consulting firm or a company specializing in hack testing. These individuals are usually highly skilled in conducting penetration tests because they perform these tests all day and every day. When you hire a professional penetration testing team , you generally benefit from using highly talented attackers.

Planning and scoping 

Testers and their customers must have a clear understanding of what will happen during the penetration test , identify clear rules for participation, and identify systems, data, processes, and activities that fall within the approved scope of the test. There is a fine line between penetration test and hacking, and a written working statement with a clear mandate for hack test activities is critical to ensure testers remain on the right side of the law and meet the customer's expectations.

Reporting and reporting of results 

Once the excitement has passed from the stage of attack and exploitation, the work of the great test team is not yet complete. One of the prerequisites for a successful hack test is that it provides useful information to the customer about the security of their IT environment . This should take the form of clear and actionable recommendations to implement new security controls and strengthen existing ones.

Cyber ​​Kill Chain 

The hack test model is an important way for hack testers to organize their activities. This model describes the complexity of attackers who usually organize their work: Cyber Kill Chain

Cyber Kill Chain  


Reconnaissance/ Information gathering   

The Cyber Kill Chain directly identifies the information collection phase and identifies weaknesses in the penetration test process. During this phase, the attackers collect open-source intelligence ( OSINT ) and conduct preliminary surveys of the target environment to discover possible avenues for exploitation.


After completion of the attack reconnaissance phase, the attackers move on to the remaining six steps, which extend to the attack and exploitation phase of the penetration test process. The first phase is Weaponizations. During this phase, attackers develop a specific attack tool designed to exploit the weaknesses identified during the survey. They often use automated toolkits to develop a series of malware specifically designed to penetrate their target.


After developing and testing the malware weapon, attackers must then deliver this malware or exploitation to the target. This may happen by a variety of means, including exploiting a network or application security gap, carrying out a social engineering attack, distributing malware to an infected USB drive or other media, sending it as an email attachment, or by other means.


Once the malware is delivered to the target enterprise, the attacker, or victim takes some action that leads to the malware load, and begins the exploitation phase of the Cyber Kill Chain . During this phase, malware gains access to the target system. This may occur when the victim opens a harmful file or when the attacker exploits a security vulnerability across the network or gains a foothold on the target network.


The initial installation of malware is designed only to enable temporary access to the target system. During the next phase of the Cyber Kill Chain installation , the attacker uses the initial access provided by malware to create permanent or permanent access to the target system. For this reason, many people describe the goal of this phase as the stabilization of perseverance in the target environment. Attackers may create a continuation by creating a back door that allows them to return to the system at a later date, by creating login entries that reopen access once it closes to the administrator, or by installing a web cover that allows them to access the system via a standard HTTPS connection.

Command and Control 

After creating continuous access to the system and target network, the attacker may then use a remote rocket or other means of remote control of the hacked system. The attacker may manually control the system using the casing or may connect it to a control network and control mechanism (C2C ) that provides guidance. This automated approach is common in distributed deprivation attacks (DDoS ) where the attacker simultaneously directs the actions of thousands of hacked systems, known as robots.

Actions on Objectives 

With the command and control creation mechanism , the attacker can then use the system to promote the original targets of his attack. This may involve switching from a hacked system to other systems run by the same enterprise, and effectively restarting the Cyber Kill Chain . The target action phase of an attack may also involve the theft of sensitive information, unauthorized use of computing resources to engage in denial-of-service attacks or cryptocurrency mining, unauthorized modification or deletion of information.