Do You Need Network Penetration Testing?

Posted on June 14, 2021 Security

Secure networks are crucial to cybersecurity. Without externally testing your networks, you never truly know if they are secure.

Enter Network Penetration Testing, an external solution to most network problems. With a comprehensive test, you will be able to identify all present issues but also prepare for any future ones. 

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about penetration testing. So that you can assure yourself of how truly important cybersecurity is.

Whenever you’re ready to learn more, keep reading and get your notes handy.

What Is Network Penetration Testing?

Network Penetration Testing is an ethical hacking in which the ‘pen tester’ will exploit and enter an IT environment. There are many types of penetration tests. Such as segmentation checks, application tests, wireless tests, and network tests.

Application testing looks for security problems due to coding flaws. Segmentation checks find misconfigured firewalls. But when network testing is done, the tester will look for security issues in the integration, design, and maintenance of workstations, servers, and network services.

Typically, a hacker will go for anything that transmits, stores, or processes personal information, as well as credit card data. If you’re in the health industry, this includes protected health information. The location in which data storage occurs is the Cardholder Data Environment (CDE), but other names apply as well.

In general, a Network Penetration Test will worry about the corporate zone (employee devices), shared services (IT admins, logging, directors, supporting servers), and the CDE (the servers themselves).

Internal/External Network Pen Testing

Internal penetration tests on a network will focus on the local organization environment. Any internal weakness can have significant side effects on the enterprise infrastructure.

Another reason why it’s important is that any malicious agent (hacker, employee, client) can use their understanding of the system to attack and corrupt the local network.

On the other hand, external penetration tests are used to discover issues that plague the external front over the public internet. This testing would examine how hard or how easy it is for another party to get access to the business network. 

This type of testing is less important but important, nonetheless. Hence, the best type of network testing will involve both spheres of involvement.

Types of Network Penetration Tests

First, there is black-box testing. In this scenario, the tester plays the role of a hacker with no inside knowledge of the system. This helps determine outside vulnerabilities on the network. 

To perform this type of testing, they should be familiar with automated scanning tools and methods of manual testing. As well as other mechanisms by which a hacker can gain access.

This type of testing does not necessitate an expert. There is no specification of the type of programming language necessary. The test is performed solely from the point of view of the user.

The majority of outcomes are delivered by comparison of the specifications of the system and the actual existing configurations.

Second, there’s white-box testing. This process is the opposite of the black-box method. Testers are given access to source code, architecture documentation, and much more. 

This type of testing is great for analyzing static code via comprehension of debuggers, source code, and usage of analytical tools. This is a comprehensive assessment to identify internal and external vulnerabilities.

In this testing, all independent paths of vulnerability are tested. Errors in syntax and typography are discovered. Logical flow and execution errors are identified and it’s ensured that logical decisions are verified against false/true values.

Third, there’s grey-box testing. In this case, the tester is subject to access user-level information. The testers can test the system with limited and particle access to the internal network and application. This method does not require any information related to program functions or personal customer data.

Do You Need a Network Penetration Test?

Network penetrating testing is great for finding the following issues:

  1. Misconfigured firewalls
  2. Misconfigured software
  3. Outdated systems
  4. Insecure protocols
  5. Unnecessary exposure

To discover these issues, a pen tester will test the perimeters of all zones in your network, examine access points and attempt to coordinate transmission between areas that are meant to connect. After this, they will test your critical systems. This includes any tech that is not connected to CDE but can give access if compromised.

The essence of pen testing is to find stepping stones. If they examine the shared services zone and try to compromise an employee device, would they be able to access the CDE? Could they upgrade their privileges?

There are five phases in any professional penetration test:

  1. The High-Level OVerview
  2. Automated Scans
  3. Issue Discovery
  4. Exploitation
  5. Documentation

So first one must understand the environment in which tests are subject to execution. After this, one must remove false positives and look for scan interference. 

With success in that step, one will identify the existing issues. Are protocols secure? Are services maintained?

Which security issues have been patched recently? What are the common trends for misconfiguration?

Being a comprehensive phase, the list of questions to address keeps going on and on. Next, one must determine the impact of existing issues. They will attempt to pivot and break the relationship between uncompromised and compromised servers.

And as a closing, they will recover test results as a deliverable. They will include descriptions of affected targets, existing issues, and how the issues will affect organization security. Finally, they will deliver a risk rating and reference on how to remove these issues.

Which Vulnerabiltieis Are Identified?

Among the listed vulnerabilities above and threats that professionals can detect on organization networks, the following are the most common issues that arise from network penetration testing. The list is not comprehensive, but it’s certainly inclusive.

Human Resources

Either because of human error or due to lack of training, security breaches often happen because of how users operate on the network. This includes improper password storage, coding errors, intentional theft, phishing, and lack of cybersecurity protocols

Pen testing can identify these problems.

Configuration & Design

Flaws in how a system is configured or designed will lead to vulnerabilities that criminals can and will exploit. Network penetration testing directly addresses these problems and provides a reference on how to resolve them.

Lack of Security Support/Tools

If your organization lacks cybersecurity resources, including risk management, cyber training, and threat scanners, it’s hard to ensure any type of security. Security training is essential because due to its lack, even the simplest of tools can breach your operations.

Without training or tools to support the training, you are open to a world of problems.

Unsecured Networks

Through penetration testing, security teams can also find that a network is vulnerable. Because it might be connected to open to pretty much anyone.

Connections are subject to assessment. They are secured before a business decides to use them for daily operations. Penetration testing is the solution to this problem.

Why Is Penetration Testing Important?

There is a mandate in the financial industry. Practically every business has to follow PCI-DSS regulation for ongoing penetration testing. A test will allow the enterprise to mitigate true risk and continue to operate without breaking the law.

Failures to protect data confidentiality will result in legal consequences and loss of reputation. Security attacks hamper organization revenue and affect accounting.

Penetrating testing not only helps you discover how long it takes for an attacker to breach. But also confirms how to prepare security for threat remediation.

If an organization’s security team is doing well and are confident in their outcomes, that’s great. the penetration will verify their beliefs.

Having a third party as an agent of how security actually performs is fruitful for how internal teams operate. Not only can a 3rd party measure security operator efficiency. But also identify gaps in the system to help them succeed.

Penetration testing allows companies personnel to respond to cyber attack types. For example, if a pen tester is attempting to breach a system without notice and succeeds, this is a failure to train staff on how to properly monitor security.

Furthermore, testing technologies before production is the best time to do so. Performing penetration testing on network technologies saves money and time. It’s much easier to fix problems before an application or network is life.

Pen Testing for You

Now that you understand the importance and value of network penetration testing, you are that much closer to deciding if you’d like to try it out.

If you’re interested in full-scale secure 3rd party penetration testing, get in touch with us and we will happily consult with you on your options.

We’ll take it one step further, not only will we identify the issues you have, but we will also resolve them.

Contact Us Today To Experience How We Can Save You Time, Money And Stress