This tool is important and necessary enough to know the risks your company faces. To have a real understanding of the dangers your company faces, there are certain tools that you need to understand and appreciate. Otherwise, you might underestimate the security holes that could put your company at risk. Fortunately, there is good news: thanks to pentesting or penetration tests, such security holes can be pinpointed.

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing includes a series of penetration tests based on attacks on IT systems to identify their weaknesses or vulnerabilities. They are designed to classify and determine the extent and impact of security breaches. As a result of such tests, you can get a fairly clear idea of ​​the dangers to your system and the effectiveness of your protection [1] [2] .

Penetration tests help determine the likelihood of an attack being successful, as well as identify security holes that are the result of low-risk vulnerabilities that are exploited in a specific way. They can also identify other vulnerabilities that cannot be detected by automated network software or custom software, and can also be used to assess whether security managers are able to successfully detect and respond to attacks.

How Penetration Testing Is Performed

There are several types of pentests, classified according to the type of system information. Whitebox pentests know everything about the system, applications, or architecture, while blackbox pentests don’t know anything about the target. Keep in mind that this type of classification is a practical necessity, since often testing conditions are based on user criteria.

After that, you need to choose one of the various penetration testing methods. The choice will be determined by the characteristics of the system or even made in accordance with external requirements in the company. In any case, the available methods include ISSAF, PCI, PTF, PTES, OWASP, and OSSTMM, among others. Each method has a lot of its own nuances, but their deep knowledge is necessary when implementing penetration tests.

Which method should you choose?

According to a number of experts, PTES and OWASP are quite good types of penetration testing, due to the way these methods are structured. According to them, the Penetration Testing Execution Standard (or PTES), in addition to being adopted by many reputable experts, is already a model used in tutorials for penetration testing systems such as Rapid7 Metasploit.

On the other hand, the Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM) has become the standard. Although these tests are not particularly innovative, it is one of the first approaches to a universal framework for a security concept. Today, it has become a reference point not only for organizations that want to develop high-quality, organized and effective penetration testing, but also for a number of companies.

Alternatively, the Information Systems Security Assessment Framework (ISSAF) organizes data around so-called “assessment criteria,” each of which has been compiled and reviewed by experts in each security application. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard ( PCI DSS ) was developed by a board of leading credit and debit card companies and serves as a guide for organizations that process, store, and transmit cardholder data. It was for this standard that PCI-penetration testing was developed.

The number of methods and frameworks is quite large, they are vast and varied. As mentioned, choosing between the two will depend on understanding your company’s needs and knowing the required security standards. But by doing everything right, you can protect your systems much more efficiently by knowing in advance where and how they might fail. Invaluable information for those who know how to use it.