Employing Network Penetration Testing to Pinpoint Your Vulnerabilities
Posted: Jul 06, 2019
Hackers have been finding innovative ways to gain access to an organization’s confidential data and it is becoming more difficult to safeguard the information from the eyes of the malicious elements. The only way to effectively curb such attacks is to use the same techniques the hackers use and identify the loopholes in the security of the system before the hackers could find it and access the data for wrongful purposes.
One of the important loopholes that hackers majorly look for is in the network system of the organization. To prevent any such entries into the organization’s server, the network system should be made fail-proof. So to test the network systems, network penetration testing is used.
What is Network Penetration Tests?
Network penetration tests generally involve ethical hacking which is used to identify the vulnerabilities inside a network system. This test involves a set of systems that help to explore the network system and find any loopholes in the network that could potentially be used as an access point for future attacks by the hackers. This employs legal methods to simulate hacking on the network. The testers who perform these tests have complete authorization to conduct these hacks.
Network penetration test identifies security issues on the network which can contribute to data loss, crash of the servers or loss of confidentiality of certain important information. When these tests are stringently conducted, there are possibilities to identify and eliminate almost all the loopholes in the network system. This will help to find out the weaknesses in a network system and can help to improve the business security, or in the worst case, can help prepare in recovering from the data losses and more such hacks. One should be careful when conducting these hacks and must follow all prerequisites and make the system ready else it can result in disastrous results.
How to Perform Network Penetration Testing
Here are some of the simple to-do things before, during and after a network penetration testing.
Before the Test
Before starting the network penetration testing, it is important to know the number of networks, the computers connected and the range of IP addresses inside the particular network. This is essential to avoid any unattended systems that may be hacked by malicious persons. Therefore, make sure to account for the security of every system connected in the loop.
While choosing the time to perform the tests, it will be convenient to select the time such that there aren’t many persons online. This will be helpful to prevent any stoppage of the work or lead to the total crash of the network due to the heavy usage which can lead to severe consequences in the servers as well as in the security of the network. Don’t forget to get the testing documented else it will be same as the hackers accessing it as the testers follow the same procedures as the hackers but for good intentions. Signed document is the proof that the hack is authorized and the hacking is only for security purposes.
During the Test
The testers will start performing the test by scanning for vulnerabilities in the network. This process can be automated or can also be performed through manual QA testing. When one is employing automated network scanning, the final results may include some false alarms; therefore, one will need to do a manual check of the results from the automated testing.
The testers generally perform a network survey by using any of the open source tools available in the market. The hackers will usually look for access by collecting the IP addresses, the details of domains and servers and the information about the ports with the help of various software and the testers will try to do the same through the network survey. The testers will also be performing the tasks on the similar lines – thinking in the way a hacker would and try to gain access to the data. When there are multiple systems and servers in a network, instead of combing through each and every system, some take a wise decision and act like a hacker would and start with the servers. Hackers use a lot of tools to crack the servers and passwords and the testers will also have to use the same tools and see if they are able to gain access to the network.
After the Test
After the test is over, the testers have to make sure to keep a detailed record of the actions performed so that there is no room for errors. If by any chance the testers inadvertently left any port or server open after the testing, an audit of a proper detailed report can help identify the problems easily without again accessing and searching in the network.
Also, create a complete report about the results of the network penetration testing highlighting the most dangerous vulnerabilities that need to be addressed immediately and report the state of the security of the network systems of the organization.
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Jessica Cyrus has started her career as a QA- Engineer at Nexsoftsys,which is a software consulting company.