Penetration Testing

PENETRATION TESTING

Get a real-world look at how attackers could exploit your vulnerabilities—and guidance on how to stop them—with our pen testing services.

WHAT IS PENETRATION TESTING

A penetration test, also known as a pen test, is a simulated cyberattack against your computer system to check for exploitable vulnerabilities. In the context of web application security, penetration testing is commonly used to augment a web application firewall (WAF).

Pen testing can involve the attempted breaching of any number of application systems, (e.g., application protocol interfaces (APIs), frontend/backend servers) to uncover vulnerabilities, such as unsanitized inputs that are susceptible to code injection attacks.

Insights provided by the penetration test can be used to fine-tune your WAF security policies and patch detected vulnerabilities.

PENETRATION TESTING STAGES

The pen testing process can be broken down into five stages.

Planning and reconnaissance

The first stage involves: Defining the scope and goals of a test, including the systems to be addressed and the testing methods to be used. Gathering intelligence (e.g., network and domain names, mail server) to better understand how a target works and its potential vulnerabilities.

Scanning

The next step is to understand how the target application will respond to various intrusion attempts. This is typically done using: Static analysis – Inspecting an application’s code to estimate the way it behaves while running. These tools can scan the entirety of the code in a single pass.
Dynamic analysis – Inspecting an application’s code in a running state. This is a more practical way of scanning, as it provides a real-time view into an application’s performance.

Gaining access

This stage uses web application attacks, such as cross-site scripting, SQL injection and backdoors, to uncover a target’s vulnerabilities. Testers then try and exploit these vulnerabilities, typically by escalating privileges, stealing data, intercepting traffic, etc., to understand the damage they can cause.

Maintaining access

The goal of this stage is to see if the vulnerability can be used to achieve a persistent presence in the exploited system— long enough for a bad actor to gain in-depth access. The idea is to imitate advanced persistent threats, which often remain in a system for months in order to steal an organization’s most sensitive data.

Analysis

The results of the penetration test are then compiled into a report detailing: Specific vulnerabilities that were exploited. Sensitive data that was accessed; The amount of time the pen tester was able to remain in the system undetected This information is analyzed by security personnel to help configure an enterprise’s WAF settings and other application security solutions to patch vulnerabilities and protect against future attacks.

In security as in life, the hardest weaknesses to pinpoint are your own. Fortunately, we have no problem thoroughly documenting all of your flaws. In fact, it’s kind of our job. And that’s a good thing: Knowing your vulnerabilities—and the ways in which attackers could exploit them—is one of the greatest insights you can get in improving your security program. With that in mind, our Penetration Testing Services team will simulate a real-world attack on your networks, applications, devices, and/or people to demonstrate the security level of your key systems and infrastructure and show you what it will take to strengthen it. 

The best way to stop attackers is to think and act like an attacker. Which is why, unlike many security firms, we don’t hire recent grads or people with more experience in IT than security as pen testers. Instead, we find good people who know about bad things. Things like ATM hacking, multi-function printer exploitation, automobile keyless entry attacks, endpoint protection bypass techniques, RFID cloning, security alarm system bypasS-you get the idea. And those kinds of people? They’re way more than security experts—they’re bonafide hackers.

To stay perpetually one step ahead of attackers—and help others do the same—our testers devote 25% of their time to conducting research and contribute to the security community, publishing articles, presenting at conferences, developing and releasing open source testing tools.

The best you can hope for from most penetration tests is a long list of problems with little context on how to fix them or where to start. Helpful, right? IMEG Commercial Pen Test Solutions provide a prioritized list of issues, based on the exploitability and impact of each finding using an industry-standard ranking process.

What can you expect? A detailed description and proof of concept for each finding, as well as an actionable remediation plan. And because we understand that risk severity is only one factor in prioritizing remediation efforts, we’ll also provide insight into the level of effort needed to remediate the findings. In addition, you’ll receive:

  • An attack storyboard that walks you through sophisticated chained attacks
  • Scorecards that compare your environment with best practices from an attacker’s perspective
  • Positive findings that call out what security controls you have that are effective

We believe that good security begets good compliance. That’s why everything we do—from our investment and commitment in analytics—is focused on helping you better understand attackers and how to defend against them. This extends to our penetration testing services; every company’s network and challenges are unique, so our penetration testers tailor their methods and attack vectors for each engagement. We also conduct penetration tests on our own network and products regularly, to ensure they’re always up-to-date in detecting real-world attacks.

PENTRATION TESTING METHODS

EXTERNAL TESTING

External penetration tests target the assets of a company that are visible on the internet, e.g., the web application itself, the company website, and email and domain name servers (DNS). The goal is to gain access and extract valuable data.

INTERNAL TESTING

In an internal test, a tester with access to an application behind its firewall simulates an attack by a malicious insider. This isn’t necessarily simulating a rogue employee. A common starting scenario can be an employee whose credentials were stolen due to a phishing attack.

BLIND TESTING

In a blind test, a tester is only given the name of the enterprise that’s being targeted. This gives security personnel a real-time look into how an actual application assault would take place.

TARGETED TESTING

In this scenario, both the tester and security personnel work together and keep each other appraised of their movements. This is a valuable training exercise that provides a security team with real-time feedback from a hacker’s point of view.