Grey-box penetration testing is often used to show the level of access a privileged user can gain and the potential damage they could do to your systems. It is also used to simulate a cyberattack that has breached the perimeter of your network. The second reason why penetration testing is necessary is to uncover previously unknown vulnerabilities. In the worst case scenario, there are exploitable vulnerabilities in your infrastructure or applications while the leadership team assumes the assets are protected.

Another non-technical attack method is the use of social engineering, such as posing as a help desk employee and calling to request a user’s passwords, or posing as a user and asking for a password reset. The security risks your organization prioritizes should not be based solely on point-in-time assessments, as in traditional penetration testing. Continuous penetration testing provides invaluable insight into the evolving risk profile and attack surface of your environment. You may find that risks you thought were a priority don’t actually justify the investments you’ve made in tools.

Penetration testing is important to determine the vulnerability of an organization’s network and the extent of damage that can occur if the network is attacked. It is important to note that depending on an organization’s policies, testers may be prohibited from using certain tools or techniques or restricted to certain times of web application penetration testing day or days of the week. Penetration testing also poses a high risk to the organization’s networks and systems due to the use of real vulnerabilities and attacks on production systems and data. Because of the high cost and potential impact, annual penetration testing of an organization’s network and systems may be sufficient.

Professional IT experts will attempt to access your system using a variety of methods to identify vulnerabilities and show how those vulnerabilities can be exploited in your system. This way, the solution can be supported to prevent the risk of an actual cyber attack in the future.

The thought of being unassailable leads to decisions that result in a further lack of awareness as attackers test your assets. Penetration testing is different from vulnerability scanning, a method of identifying known vulnerabilities. Penetration testing can be invaluable, but it requires a lot of work and expertise to minimize the risk to the affected systems. Systems can be damaged or taken out of service during penetration testing, although it is beneficial for the organization to know how an intruder might take a system out of service.

The process involves finding vulnerabilities and conducting proof-of-concept attacks to show that the vulnerabilities actually exist. Penetration testing should play an important role in the overall security of an organization. Just as policies, risk assessments, business continuity planning and disaster recovery have become integral parts of an organization’s security, penetration testing should also be included in the overall security plan. Among the most popular penetration testing distributions is what is known as “Backtrack.” The entire distribution was designed from the ground up for penetration testers. The distribution comes with several security tools pre-installed, configured and ready to use. When you go to the Backtrack link, you can choose between an .iso image or a VMware image.