Why do we need penetration testing?

Website Penetration testing basically describes the technical process of attempting to gain access to IT resources without knowing usernames and passwords, or other access routes, it covers testing of all these gateways to your precious data!

Bear in mind that any hacker’s ultimate objective is gaining access to important data, for whatever purpose. They will generally be looking for logons, passwords, a company’s user’s details, confidential documents covering areas such as Intellectual Property and, in the case of state sponsored actors, state secrets and other strategically vital information.

Today, there are many tools and techniques available to those with a nefarious purpose, so be warned!

Gaining access – the difference between hackers and testers

What really separates a penetration tester from a criminal hacker is the owner’s permission to attempt to gain access in the first place! In the end, the goal of the penetration test is to improve the overall security of the IT resources that are being tested. Sometimes the penetration tester will have been provided with basic user-level access with the goal being to then gain higher level administrator level access to the network/s etc. under test.

Armed with enhanced access permissions, the tester will then look to find information that would not be possible with a lower level of access or permission. Once enhanced access has been gained, the tester will then continue looking for more security exploits, in order to probe further into an IT network, identifying issues as they go along.

The test will not conclude until all potential security vulnerabilities, including those that are ‘known vulnerabilities’ as well as some that are officially unknown, can be tested. The pen-tester will keep a detailed log of everything that is found so that any issues that were uncovered can then be reported on, to the client, and thus ultimately resolved.

Website penetration testing will reveal critical security risks

In today’s world, security vulnerabilities and also individual types of attack are rapidly evolving, this makes identifying and then eliminating any new vulnerabilities an on-going challenge for the IT Security industry. Penetration tests provide clients with an objective and independent review of the real world effectiveness of any existing security processes. Performing frequent and comprehensive tests will help to ensure that all newly emergent security risks are more likely to be identified and closed down before any detrimental effects occur.

Professional pen tests provide the client with an informed evaluation report of all such security vulnerabilities, all risks will be looked at according to the level of risk in order to categorise them. In this way, businesses or organisations can then proactively identify those most critical issues and focus on resolving them first. Analysis of the effectiveness of any existing security related solutions will enable clients to then prioritise and justify their future investments. Penetration testing is therefore an important element of any cost-effective and targeted IT Security risk mitigation project.

Protecting your networks

An organisation’s own ability to protect its networks and data can naturally be variable, depending on the organisation’s own employee’s skill sets. At Security Audit Systems, we have both the skills and knowledge, built up over many years, to ensure the most secure result for our clients!

Basically, we really have seen it all! Our comprehensive technical penetration testing report will help any data or IT security team to make the right strategic conclusions, by helping them when prioritising their own remediation efforts.

Professional Website Penetration testing will help you to ensure that your systems comply with regulations such as ISO 27001, the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) and Sarbanes-Oxley. These are well known important regulatory and compliance standards and/or frameworks that can enable any organisation to avoid potential penalties for non-compliance, as organisations that have tested their systems will be able to prove that they have demonstrated a serious commitment to their IT Security due diligence, governance and compliance requirements.

What does a Pen testing report show?

First of all, the report shows an executive summary of the test results collected, explaining in plain English, the various detected security vulnerabilities. These risks and issues are presented in clear, concise non-technical terms to aid digestion!

The report then goes into more technical detail covering elements such as:-

  • Code Injection
  • Broken Authentication and Session Management
  • Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) exploits
  • Insecure Direct Object References
  • Security Misconfigurations
  • Sensitive Data Exposure
  • Missing Function Level Access Control
  • Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)
  • Using any Components with Known Vulnerabilities
  • Un-validated URL Redirects and Forwards

Our testers always employ cutting edge tools and techniques that are closely aligned with the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP).

Hacking has become far more automated

The various hacking tools out there have grown in popularity and catalogues of the many exploitable vulnerabilities is easily accessible and available online. Modern day tools permit even relative novice hackers to gain access to the most complex exploits in order to attempt opportunistic hack attacks. Don’t let the hackers win!

For further help or technical pen testing advice, get in touch today with the team at Security Audit Systems, we think that you will be glad that you did.