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Do-It-Yourself Penetration Test

In an ever-growing cyber world, you need to make sure your devices are malware-free and secure from cyber-attacks. Conduct your own penetration test from home!

What is Penetration Testing?

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To check your computer system for exploitable vulnerabilities, you can run a simulated cyber-attacks against your system, also known as a penetration test (pen testing).

Pen testing involves attempting to breach into any application system to uncover vulnerabilities. Penetration testing is commonly used along with a web application firewall (WAF) to ensure security policies are appropriate and detect vulnerabilities.

Five Stages of Penetration Testing

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Penetration Testing Stages

  1. Planning and Reconnaissance
    • Defining the scope and goals of a test, including the systems to be addressed and the testing methods to be used
    • Fathering intelligence (e.g. network and domain names, mail server) to better understand how a target works and its potential vulnerabilities.
  2. Scanning
    • Understand how the target application will respond to various intrusion attempts by using:
      • Static Analysis – Inspecting an application’s code to estimate the way it behaves while running with the ability to scan the entirety of the code in a single pass.
      • Dynamic Analysis – Inspecting an application’s code in a running state. This is a more practical way of scanning, as it provides a real-time view into an application’s performance.
  3. Gaining Access
    • This stage uses web application attacks, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and backdoors, to uncover a target’s vulnerabilities.
    • Testers then try and exploit these vulnerabilities, typically by escalating privileges, stealing data, intercepting traffic, etc., to understand the damage they can cause.
  4. Maintaining Access
    • The goal of this stage is to see if the vulnerability can be used to achieve a persistent presence in the exploited system— long enough for a bad actor to gain in-depth access.
    • The idea is to imitate advanced persistent threats, which often remain in a system for months in order to steal an organization’s most sensitive data.
  5. Analysis
    • Report the results from the penetration test detailing:
      • Specific vulnerabilities that were exploited
      • Sensitive data that was accessed
      • The amount of time the pen tester was able to remain in the system undetected
    • Analyze this information with security personnel to help configure an enterprise’s WAF settings and other security solution applications to patch vulnerabilities and protect against future attacks.
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Penetration Testing Methods

External Testing – External penetration tests target the assets of a company that are visible on the internet, e.g., the web application itself, the company website, and email and domain name servers (DNS). The goal is to gain access and extract valuable data.

Internal Testing – In an internal test, a tester with access to an application behind its firewall simulates an attack by a malicious insider. This isn’t necessarily simulating a rogue employee. A common starting scenario can be an employee whose credentials were stolen due to a phishing attack.

Blind Testing – In a blind test, a tester is only given the name of the enterprise that’s being targeted. This gives security personnel a real-time look into how an actual application assault would take place.

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Double Blind Testing – In a double-blind test, security personnel have no prior knowledge of the simulated attack. As in the real world, they won’t have any time to shore up their defenses before an attempted breach.

Targeted Testing – In this scenario, both the tester and security personnel work together and keep each other appraised of their movements. This is a valuable training exercise that provides a security team with real-time feedback from a hacker’s point of view.

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Security Checkup

Conducting a penetration test on your own devices will help you secure them once vulnerabilities are discovered. Taking time to assess systems in terms of security will keep your devices malware free, up to date, and protect your identity from cyber-attacks.

Source: Incapsula

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