Penetration testing, also known as pen testing, is a form of ethical hacking used to reveal vulnerabilities in a network’s device. It is a common practice for companies to hire “good hackers”, or white hackers, to test their security system. This helps the company to pinpoint areas of weakness which can be updated with stronger defenses. Penetration testing is a difficult skill, therefore, several years of training in software engineering, computer science, or some related field is usually required to be successful in the penetration testing field. Due to its popularity, there is a steady increase in demand for penetrations testing employees.
There are penetration testing services that offer a step by step analysis of a security’s system and provide feedback about potential risks involved with the system’s current security. Typically, the team consists of engineers and researchers. There are several testing services available that look at different aspects of the system’s security.
Mobile Application Penetration Testing tools test the security of mobile operating systems. Some of these devices include Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Windows. Mobile device applications tend to have more vulnerabilities due to their relative newer development. The process for analyzing the security of mobile devices is quite different from desktop devices due to differences in hardware and software architecture.
An application programming interface, or API, penetration testing tools are used for collaborative penetration projects. The interface makes it more convenient for developers to interact with third person parties. API penetration services use the interfacing tools to run security assessments of web services. By definition, a web service is a language that is based on HTTP and XML. An API penetration test requires an API file, a data processing request, and the associated URLs to run.
Web application penetration testing tools analyze different aspects of a web app to identify potential weaknesses. There are a few reasons to run a check on web apps. Companies who need to comply with the security standard must have their security checked anyway. The other reason may be for personal security.
External Network penetration testing tools look at the security of one or several network environments. The process is more involved and therefore will take longer to complete compared to a penetration test for a single device. The first step in this process is known as a footprint analysis or reconnaissance. This analyzes information specific to the company of interest that may be valuable for a potential attack. The next step, called “system service and vulnerability identification” looks at individual devices and servers to see which ones respond to unauthorized requests. This is followed by exploitation. Once the unauthorized request has been accepting, the program will log the information for further evaluation so updates can be made. This tells the person that there is a potential vulnerability. This leads to the final step, which is reporting. A summary and technical report are sent out that outline specific screenshots of the moments leading to the breach in security.