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What You Need to Know About Network Penetration Testing

Posted on Jul 15, 2021 6:22 am

Network penetration testing is a process that security professionals use to test security. In most cases, of an organization’s network and systems by simulating cyber-attacks.

But what exactly does it entail? Well, it’s a little complicated because of the very depth of this science. However, let’s see what we can explain.

The goal of this article is to give you information about NPT. This is so you can make better decisions in your business.

Whenever you’re ready to learn about the importance of NPT, keep reading and take your notes out.

What Is Network Penetration Testing?

NPT is when security specialists assess systems for vulnerabilities to real-world threats. This generally entails performing technical tests on networks or applications. In most cases, with permission from the owner of said system.

They occur either internally or through a contracted third-party firm.

Pentesters may employ several different techniques depending on their objectives. These include vulnerability scanning, port scans, password cracking. But also denial of service attacks and social engineering.

Organizations have been using pentest results for years to better understand how they are approached by hackers. This is so that they can take appropriate steps to protect their systems.

Over the past few years, NPT has been popular with many organizations as a security strategy. And now that we are seeing many new advanced persistent threats (APT) emerge in addition to data breaches such as Target, Sony, Home Depot, and JP Morgan Chase these tests have become vitally important for defending against modern cyberattacks.

Today’s attackers use sophisticated techniques like spear-phishing campaigns or malware injection. Even widespread social engineering schemes like phishing emails with malicious attachments.

The best way for businesses to combat these types of attacks is by conducting NPT. Both on web applications and networks before they are compromised.

How Are Penetration Tests Done?

In general, a network penetration test can be broken down into separate steps.

The first step is to identify the target. This could be a web server or any other network node on which an attack would have consequences.

The second step is to research and map out vulnerabilities using tools. These can be Nmap, Nessus, and Metasploit. This is done to gather information about potential exploits against a given system.

In the third step of executing these exploits, attackers will use security flaws. Primarily, those that they found during their reconnaissance phase. This is so that they can gain access to sensitive data such as passwords or personal records.

Finally, it’s important for companies performing penetration tests to document how systems were compromised after testing. This means creating detailed reports with screenshots from every test performed.

This ensures that all vulnerabilities map out. Network penetration tests are imperative. They reveal how systems are subject to attack in the future.

Why Network Penetration Testing Is Essential to Business Security?

Without network penetration testing, businesses would not know about the faults in their systems. This would leave them open to hackers. Those who could then easily break in and steal sensitive data or cause other damage. Network penetration tests are essential.

Companies can identify which systems need more security. Primarily, based on the results of a hacker’s attack and take action before it’s too late.

Network penetration testing helps businesses:

  1. Identify what systems are vulnerable to a hacker’s attack
  2. Protect against future attacks and vulnerabilities by installing security patches or updating configurations
  3. Know what to do in the event of an actual attack
  4. Save money in the long-term
  5. Secure important data from those who might exploit it

Network penetration testing software is one of the most important things for business continuity and data security. It should only occur after an organization has taken appropriate measures. For instance, such as implementing security policies and practices.

It’s also critical for businesses to rank which systems need more protection. This might include servers, applications, or databases.

With enough information from network penetration tests, companies will know where their risks lie. Allowing them to take action accordingly before something terrible happens!

Types of Network Penetration Tests

Network penetration testing can occur in so many ways. Each method tailors to the environment, requirements, and technical specifications.

Some of the most popular methods are:

Network vulnerability assessment

This is a process that takes into account the entire network infrastructure. Primarily, to identify potential vulnerabilities. It helps identify missing patches, configuration errors, and security misconfigurations.

Mapping of Networks:

The mapping of existing data flows occurs by determining who accesses information. So that they have an idea where their risks lie before it’s too late!

Incomplete Patching:

There are many ways in which hackers use incomplete patching as a vector for attack. This includes software updates (which might not always work), firewalls, or antivirus programs

Default Passwords:

Default passwords on devices like routers need to change as the first step in reducing risks. You’d be surprised by how many large companies forget to do this.

Default passwords are the most common security risks for companies. Specifically, those that do not have specialized IT teams.

Insecure Networks:

Insecure networks are one of the leading causes of home network penetration testing. It exposes many vulnerabilities that might not otherwise arise during operations.

WiFi security:

Wireless LANs (WLAN) allows wireless connections between devices. Typically over short distances using IEEE 802.11 standards or Bluetooth technology.

Bluetooth technology can be quite vulnerable when there is a human factor involved. 

RFID tags:

RFID tags work by sending an identification code. Primarily from an RFID tag-equipped card or another item. Typically located within the line of sight.

RFID tags are common in buildings that use keycard entry. These systems are easily manipulated with social engineering.

Sensors:

Sensors are devices that collect data from their environment. Then convert it into an analog or digital signal for use in an electronic control system.

Sensor data helps make breaches look seemingly normal. This makes security specialists think that nothing has happened.

Analog Sensors:

Analog sensors measure physical quantities such as light levels, water temperature. But also pressure (force per unit area), humidity (water vapor content). This is done via active components like resistors, capacitors, and inductors.

Digital Sensor Networks:

Digital sensor networks consist of spatially distributed nodes equipped with environmental sensing capabilities. These can monitor locations where direct access is not possible. This type of network requires two-way communication between the nodes to transfer data.

Cameras:

Cameras monitor a specific area. Both capturing still or moving images that can be transmitted in digital format. A surveillance camera is an example of this kind of sensor.

Cameras come in a variety of forms with many different capabilities. However, cameras are quite easy to breach into if unsecured. They are some of the easiest systems to break into, especially on older models.

Wireless Sensors Networks:

These are part of spatially distributed sensing devices connected over wireless media. Wirelessly sensed information may include temperature, water level, light levels.

These are then converted into electronic signals for processing at central stations. These are located within the range of the wireless network base station. These typically contain both transmitters and receivers.

Analog Subsystems:

Analog systems consist principally of open-loop control components. For instance, potentiometers, voltage and current sensors, variable resistors. These connect through a common wiring harness.

Digital Subsystems:

Digital systems consist principally of closed-loop control components like analog. But they operate through electronic signals in the form of logic level voltages. They can also operate with currents with no moving parts to wear out.

Embedded Systems:

Embedded systems are computer-related devices embedded into seemingly unrelated products. They are subject to a specific design for specific purposes.

Embedded systems are quite common for tech-driven retail stores. As well as companies that experiment with digital product flexibility.

Network Penetration Testing for You

Now that you understand the essence of network penetration testing and how it works. You are that much closer to making use of it in your business.

NPT is one of the best investments a tech-friendly business can make. Specifically to ensure that their hard work is not exploited by others. 

Without pentesting, companies are left to their own devices, quite literally. And this can be a problem with a weak in-house IT team and inexperienced staff. Not to mention, untrained employees. 

If you’re interested in a variety of NPT services available to you right now, get in touch with us and we will happily ensure the security of your enterprise.

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