According to a recent report on technology spending, 69% of organizations prioritize security and increase their cybersecurity budgets this 2022. The pressure to focus more on cybersecurity comes from the disturbing spikes in cyber-attacks over the last couple of years. To identify and prioritize risks and strengthen security posture, more organizations around the globe are undergoing regular penetration testing.
A penetration test simulates a cyberattack against your computer system to check for vulnerabilities and strengths. Penetration tests are important because they can help organizations mitigate security risks and avoid the costs of a cyber-attack. Here are the top ten things you should know about penetration testing.
1. What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing or pen testing is also often referred to as ethical hacking. It’s considered hacking because the pen tester follows the same process that a cybercriminal would perform to breach a system. The difference is that a pentester or ethical hacker is there to report vulnerabilities so that the organization can address its weak points.
2. Penetration testing methods
There are different penetration testing methods, including:
- External testing
- Internal testing
- Blind testing
- Double-blind testing
- Targeted testing
3. Other penetration testing techniques
Beyond the different penetration testing methods, other penetration testing techniques are also used. The top ones are the following:
- Black-box penetration testing
- White-box penetration testing
- Social engineering penetration testing
- Network service penetration testing
- Web application penetration testing
- Wireless penetration testing
4. Penetration testing can be broken down into five stages:
- Planning and reconnaissance
- Gaining access
- Maintaining access
- Analysis and WAF configuration
5. The scanning stage is typically done using static and dynamic analyses.
Dynamic analysis involves inspecting the application code while it is running, allowing the penetration test to scan its performance in real time.
6. The Analysis stage provides us with a report
During the Analysis stage, the penetration test details the specific vulnerabilities that were exploited and the sensitive data they could access. The report will also include how much time the pen tester could remain in the system undetected.
7. There are five main factors that determine the cost of penetration testing.
8. Experience is a major factor in the price of penetration testing because not all pen testers have the accreditation and service record of conducting a penetration test competently. The most experienced penetration testers have extensive knowledge of vulnerabilities and exploits outside of tool suites, an understanding of secure web communications and technologies, and the ability to script or write code and report writing skills.
9. The average cost for a penetration test for websites is between $500 and $1000, while pen testing for web apps and mobile apps can be as low as $700 and as high as $5000.
10. Black-box testing is the most expensive penetration testing technique. While white-box penetration testing can cost between $500 and $2000 per scan, black-box penetration costs can range from $10,000 to $50,000 per scan. With black box penetration tests, the pentester is provided with no information at all so that they can simulate the actions of an unprivileged attacker that has no internal knowledge of the target system.
In conclusion, penetration testing is an essential component of an organization's cybersecurity strategy. By identifying vulnerabilities and weaknesses in systems, applications, and networks, organizations can take proactive steps to protect their digital assets. If you want to learn more about how penetration testing can benefit your organization, get in touch with specialized experts for more information on our services.