Pentest, a critical tool for IT system hacking assessment

IT systems and IT networks can be assessed with an efficient method which process consists in simulating an attack that would come from an malicious user or software. It allows detecting potential security failure. This test is called Pentest, or penetration test.

 

Risk management, a major issue for 2.0 organisations

Risk management is one major issue for business leaders. With the digital boom, IT has become a strategic concern that occupies an important position in the dayly management of an organisation. Financial and personal data are part of the global information that must be protected in order to ensure stability to the company.

Some cases prove that having its computer system hacked and its data stolen car be lethal for a company. The recent case of Ashley Madison, which clients database was stolen, actually chocked the whole world and completely ruined the image of the company that was well-known for its confidentiality policy.

Facing the exponential amount of computer attacks these last years, any business leader caring about the growth of his company must monitor its IT security on a regular basis.

Pentest, a powerful control tool for business leaders

Unlike basic security audits, a Pentest shows the consequences of a vulnerable computer system. This methods allows assessing the degree of risk of an IT network. The pentest can even forecast the real risks threatening the organisation.

There are three types of analyses :

  • The pentest whitebox : the tester uses information provided by the company
  • The pentest blackbob : the tester has no information about the company and acts as a potential hacker
  • The pentest greybox : the tester has the level of information needed to assess the different dangers coming for the IT system

Why deploying a penetration test ?

Company usually deploy audits such as the Pentest when they want to precisely evaluate their IT system security. This is an efficient method that arouses the interest of IT teams for security breaches and that tests their reactivity in different pre-determined situation.

This test is usually led for three reasons :

  • Check that financial data is not exposed during the transfers
  • Secure users data
  • Find security breakes in a web IT system.

The Pentest allows observing the consequences of a potential intrusion and simulating a hacking attack. Unlike classic vulnerability tests that involve automatic tools, the Pentest includes the human factor in the test. It therefore evalutates the explotation of the breach and it takes the human creative skills into consideration. During the test, the client defines the field of application and asks the consultant to verify the penetration rate inside the system.

With the Pentest, problems are rapidly identified and adequate solutions can be found in order to efficiently protect the data against a computer attack. Despite the deployment and the use of automated vulnerability management tools, it is crucial to have the Pentest run by experts in order to grant reliable results.

The differents steps of the Pentest process

The process used by testers first identifies the vulnerabilities of the systems. It then takes correctives measures that allow to remove breaches as the tests advance. There are 4 main phases of the Pentest :

  1. data gathering
  2. vulnerability acquisition
  3. the exploitation of detected breaches
  4. the result analysis and preparation of the report

During step 3, in case an exploitation is possible, it is necessary to start over with step 1. The data related to the detected breach is gathered and its vulnerability is assessed. The process is repated in loop depending on the number of detected breaches in the system. This allows evaluating the real dimension of the breach(es) and consequently, to find adequate solutions.

Indeed, running a Pentest helps understand the level of exploitation of the breaches and their consequences whereas a simple vulnerability scan only detects their presence. The comprehension of the consequences remain theorical.

Solution recommended by Nellsoft

Nellsoft recommends two simple and efficient solutions to verify the vulnerability of your system :

  1. MetaSploit Pro remotely evaluates the vulnerability level of your system. It is used for developing and executing exploits against a remote computer. Once the breach is identified, the exploit develops a payload directly inside the system.
  2. Nellsoft provides the professional service to efficiently lead a penetration test

 

For further information, please contact us.

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