Penetration Testing

A penetration test is a popular method of analyzing the security of a computer system or network by simulating an attack by a malicious cracker. In this process, an active analysis of the system for any weaknesses, technical flaws or vulnerabilities is done by experts.
The idea is to assume the viewpoint of crackers and exploit the security vulnerabilities. Protocol Solutions offer a complete report on the vulnerabilities discovered including damage assessment and means to control it.How to conduct Penetration tests?They are conducted in several ways. Generally, they are of three kinds, White Box testing, Black Box testing and Grey Box testing. The decision as to which testing method will be used depends on the knowledge of system that is available to testers.If there is no knowledge of system and its resources, the first task of testers is to determine all information about the system. Testers locate the system and look for its extent as well. Then they start testing. This is called Black Box testing.If testers have at hand information like network diagrams, source code and IP addressing information, they can begin testing immediately. This is called White Box Testing. Somewhere in between lies the Grey Box Testing.The rational behind this is that even a cracker who has malicious intent will not be able to hack until he has complete information. Crackers usually indulge first in Reconnaissance. They gather information like Open ports, VPN finger printing and operating system used. Then once they have a skeleton of the system, they start looking for vulnerabilities and means of exploiting them.It is usually believed that the black box method is the best method of Penetration testing.They range from a simple scan of an organization’s IP address space for open ports and identification banners to a full audit of source code for an application.
Web applications are most prone to security threats. Their security is always a matter is matter of concern. Web applications technologies are so diverse that any developer can not look after the validation issues completely.Poor authentication mechanisms, logic flaws, unintentional disclosure of content and environment information, and traditional binary application flaws like buffer overflows are potential vulnerabilities.When dealing with a web application for penetration testing, all this is taken into account, and a methodical process of input/output or “Black Box Testing, code auditing or White Box Testing, is applied.It requires a thorough understanding of the backend of all applications and the nature of data handling.The Open Source Security Testing Methodology Manual (OSSTMM) is a popular peer-reviewed methodology for performing security tests and metrics. The OSSTMM test cases are divided into five channels, which collectively test information and data controls, personnel security awareness levels, fraud and social engineering control levels, computer and telecommunications networks, wireless devices, mobile devices, physical security access controls, security processes, and physical locations such as buildings, perimeters, and military bases.Penetration testing for Virtual Private Networks is extremely essential as it is connected to internet so authentication and encryptation are important issues to consider.
Penetration testing is extremely essential for large organizations as they are spread over large geographical areas and many users have access to various databases and applications.Besides protecting their own data, regulations also require companies to prove from time to time that they have extensively safe and secure means to handle sensitive data.Since, penetration testing involves revealing entire IT infrastructure to the testers it is essential that all testers are verified employees with good work records.Penetration testers are experts in their field with extensive experience. They should offer their expertise with complete integrity.

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