penetration testing
  • Penetration Testing Made Easy With Top Cybersecurity Certifications

  • Published By:
  • Category: Education
  • Published Date: May 12, 2024
  • Modified Date: May 12, 2024
  • Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Featured Image Caption: Penetration Testing

The demand for ethical hacking technologies and a specialized workforce is surmounting at a staggering rate. Today, the world is sitting at a time machine of massive cybersecurity threats that happen every year. This has given way to a demand that never seems to die out. Instead, Fortinet reports that 83% of company boards recommend a higher security headcount, with the demand for trained certified cybersecurity experts.

The recent surge in cybersecurity attacks has fueled the demand for penetration testing. Several factors can be accounted for when looking at this staggering demand for penetration testing. Cyber threats, regulatory compliance, and SaaS platforms could be listed as some of the reasons. Penetration testing has become one of the most popular cybersecurity skills, its global market size is projected to reach USD 2.45 billion by 2024 with a future compound average growth rate of 12.6% through 2032 (Fortune Business Insights). Let us understand how penetration testing paves the way for a greater future!

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration Testing is an authorized simulated attack performed on a computer system that evaluates its security in real-time. It is a security exercise that involves cybersecurity professionals attempting to find and exploit vulnerabilities in a computer system. These simulated attacks easily identify weak spots in a system’s defense mechanism that attackers could exploit.

5 Stages/ Key Steps Involved in Penetration Testing:

Planning And Reconnaissance

The foremost stage in penetration testing involves defining the goals and scope of a test, including the systems to be addressed and the testing methods to be used. Gathering enough information fosters better comprehension of the target mechanism and its potential vulnerabilities.

Data Scanning

Scanning tools are used to understand how a target responds to the intrusions. This can be done using static and dynamic analysis.

Gain Access

This stage involves using web application attacks, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection, and backdoors, to unleash a target’s vulnerabilities. Testers try, and exploit these vulnerabilities, typically by escalating privileges, and data stealth, to understand the potential; damage.

Maintain Access

Gaining access is just a former step that must be built upon and maintained over time. If the vulnerability can achieve a persistent presence in the exploited system, it will enable the imitation of advanced persistent threats.

Analysis And Reporting

The penetration test results are compiled into a report detailing specific vulnerabilities exploited, and sensitive data accessed.

Methods of Penetration Testing:

  • External Testing- Targets the company’s assets visible on the internet to gain access and extract valuable data.
  • Internal Testing- A tester with access to an application behind its firewall simulates an attack by a malicious insider.
  • Blind Testing- Gives the name of the enterprise that is being targeted while allowing security personnel a real-time look into the actual application assault.
  • Double-Blind Testing- Security personnel have no prior knowledge of the simulated attack.
  • Targeted Testing- Both the security personnel and the tester work together to keep each other appraised of their movements.

5 Popular Penetration Testing Tools:

  • Network Mapper- Nmap uses IP packets to determine what hosts are available, what services to offer, and which operating systems they use. It is an open-source utility tool to carry out network inventory, service upgrade schedules management, and monitoring host or service uptime tasks.
  • Metasploit- An open-source framework that works with an exhaustive database of exploits, enabling pen testers to simulate cybersecurity threats on the networks.
  • Burp Suite Professional- A leading web security testing tool with advanced manual and automated features to identify core vulnerabilities. It allows assessors to generate and confirm the click-jacking attacks for potentially vulnerable web pages.
  • OWASP-ZAP- Zed attack proxy intercepts and inspects messages sent between the browser and web application; by altering them, and sending them to their destination.
  • Hydra- Ranked as the most effective pen testing tool for performing password and brute force attacks and supporting numerous protocols to attack as a parallelized login cracker.

3 Types of Penetration Testing:

1. The tester is provided the bare minimum information
2. Best-suited for a mature environment for vulnerability identification and remediation
3. Simulates an attacker with limited knowledge of the organization
4. The downside is that it is time-consuming
1. The tester is provided with a bit more of the information
2. It lends more clarity on the targeted attacks, without requiring the tester to spend time collecting the information  
1. The tester is allowed access to all internal documentation, configuration plans, etc.
2. Saves time that can be utilized for more stringent activities
3. Can be used to target specific concerns such as new features in an application, or new network segments

Benefits of Penetration Testing:

  • Exploring vulnerabilities
  • Exposes engineers to quality checks
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Manages risk
  • Saves on cost
  • Improves security posture with quick response time
  • Network security
  • On-time reporting

Why get certified in Penetration Testing?

With Ziprecruiter(.)com stating the average annual salary for a Penetration Tester in the USA as USD 119,895 per annum; it is expected to leave the business community asking for more specialized cybersecurity experts. This is where a credible top cybersecurity certification can level you up to a higher pedestal and make you a quick pick in front of your employers. Gaining skills via online penetration testing credentials is the way to go as the world faces massive cyber threat incidents year-on-year. Getting certified in futuristic cybersecurity skills will validate your competence in handling severe threat vulnerabilities as well as reflect upon your commitment toward building a thriving career as a penetration tester. Bring on astounding career growth with the best and the most trusted names in credentialling worldwide today!

Lucia Adams

By Lucia Adams
who is Senior data science analyst & computer science engineer with 10 years of experience as in data science at Sumo Logic.

Member since May, 2018
View all the articles of Lucia Adams.

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