What is Penetration Testing and Why Does it Matter?

Businesses of all sizes in the Philippines are increasingly relying on IT systems and networks to run their operations. As such, it’s becoming more important than ever to make sure that these systems are secure from potential attackers. One of the best ways to do this is through penetration testing tools.

The process of using network penetration testing tools, also known as pen-testing or ethical hacking, is the process of simulating real-world attacks on a computer system or network to find security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors. By identifying and addressing these vulnerabilities, businesses can harden their systems against attackers and reduce the risk of a successful attack.

What is Penetration Testing?

As we mentioned above, penetration testing is a type of security test that is used to assess the effectiveness of an organization’s IT infrastructure. A penetration test simulates a real-world attack on your system in order to identify vulnerabilities that could be exploited by malicious actors.

Penetration testing is an important part of any security program, as it helps you to identify weaknesses in your system before they can be exploited by criminals. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about penetration testing, including how it works, the different types of tests that are available, and some of the top software and tools that are used by penetration testers.

How Do Security Penetration Testing Tools Work?

Penetration testing generally consists of four stages: information gathering, scanning, exploitation, and post-exploitation.

The first stage, information gathering, is when the tester gathers information about the target system. This information can be gathered through public sources such as Google or through more direct methods such as social engineering.

Once the tester has enough information about the target system, they will begin scanning for vulnerabilities. This can be done using automated penetration testing service or manual methods.

If the tester finds any vulnerabilities during the scanning stage, they will attempt to exploit them to gain access to the system. Once they have gained access, they will conduct a series of tests to determine what information they can glean from the system and what actions they can take on behalf of the attacker.

Finally, once the tester has completed their tests, they will document their findings and provide recommendations for mitigating any identified risks.

Types of Penetration Tests

Broadly speaking, there are two types of penetration tests: black-box tests and white-box tests. Gray-box testing, another popular type, is a combination of the two.

Black-box Testing

Black-box testing is a method of software testing that relies on public information and social engineering attacks to gather information about the system under test. This type of testing is often used to assess the security of a system, as it can help to identify vulnerabilities that may be exploited by attackers.

While black-box testing can be an effective way to evaluate security, it is important to note that it can also be time-consuming and may not always produce accurate results. In addition, black-box testing should always be conducted in conjunction with other methods of testing, such as white-box testing, in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the system under test.

White-box Testing

White-box testing is a method of testing software that takes into account the internal structure of the code being tested. Unlike black-box testing, which focuses solely on the functionality of the system under test, white-box testing takes a more holistic approach, looking at how the system is built and how it works to identify potential flaws.

This type of testing is typically conducted by developers or QA testers who have a deep understanding of the code base. White-box testing can be used to find both functional and non-functional defects in software. In many cases, it is used in addition to black-box testing in order to provide a more complete picture of the quality of the code being tested.

Gray-box Testing

Gray-box testing is a testing method that falls between black-box and white-box testing on the spectrum of test access. In gray-box testing, the tester has partial knowledge of the system under test. This type of testing is typically used when the tester has access to limited information about the target system.

Gray-box testing can be useful in situations where the tester does not have full access to the code or internals of the system, but still has some knowledge that can be leveraged in designing tests.

When designing tests, the tester will take into account both the functionality of the system and the internals that are known. This approach can help to uncover errors that would not be found with black-box testing alone. Gray-box testing is an important tool for testers who want to ensure that their tests are comprehensive and effective.

Top 8 Penetration Testing Tools and Software

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1. Nmap

Nmap is a versatile network exploration and security penetration testing tool that can be used to scan for open ports on systems. It is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, and it can be used to assess the security of networks and identify vulnerable systems.

Nmap can be run in stealth mode to avoid detection, and it can be used to conduct port scans, enumerate hosts, and perform OS fingerprinting. In addition, Nmap can be used to launch denial-of-service attacks. While Nmap is a powerful penetration testing tool, it is important to use it ethically and responsibly. Malicious use of Nmap can result in network downtime and may even lead to legal consequences.

2. Rapid7 Nexpose

Rapid7 Nexpose is a vulnerability management tool that helps you find, prioritize, and fix vulnerabilities across your system. Nexpose is available in both on-premises and cloud versions. Pricing starts at $2,000 per year for the on-premises version and $3,600 per year for the cloud version. Nexpose is a comprehensive vulnerability management solution that offers many features and benefits.

With Nexpose, you can scan your system for vulnerabilities, prioritize them by risk level, and generate reports to help you track your progress. You can also schedule scans and create alerts to notify you of new vulnerabilities as they are discovered.

In addition, Nexpose includes several built-in security controls to help you mitigate risks. For example, you can use Nexpose to block malicious IP addresses or quarantine compromised systems. Rapid7 also offers various professional services to help you deploy and use Nexpose effectively.

3. Kali Linux

Kali Linux Is a Debian-based Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. It is available as a free download from the Offensive Security website.

Kali comes with over 600 pre-installed penetration-testing programs, making it a powerful tool for ethical hackers and security professionals. The distribution includes a wide range of tools for tasks such as reconnaissance, vulnerability scanning, information gathering, exploitation, privilege escalation, password cracking, post-exploitation, and more.

Kali also provides an extensive collection of resources for challenges such as reverse engineering and malware analysis. In addition to its many features, Kali Linux is also highly customizable, allowing users to tailor the distribution to their specific needs.

4. Metasploit Framework

The Metasploit Framework is another powerful penetration testing tool that can be used to test the security of systems and networks. It provides a comprehensive set of utilities that can be used to launch attacks or exploit vulnerabilities. The Metasploit framework is available as a free download from the Rapid7 website.

Metasploit can be used to launch attacks against systems using known vulnerabilities. It can also be used to exploit vulnerabilities to gain access to system resources. In addition, Metasploit can be used to generate reports detailing the results of security tests. These reports can be used to assess the security posture of systems and make recommendations for improving security.

5. Burp Suite

Burp Suite is a web application security testing platform that combines several different tools into one integrated package. The suite is available in both free and paid versions, with the paid version providing more advanced functionality. Prices for the paid version start at $399 per year.

Burp Suite is a popular choice for web application security testing because it is easy to use and provides a comprehensive set of features. The suite includes tools for performing tasks such as website crawling, fuzzing, and brute force attacks. Additionally, Burp Suite can be used to scan for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting.

6. Wireshark

One of the most important tools for penetration testing is WireShark. It is an open-source packet sniffer that can be used to see all the traffic on a network. This includes all the data that is being sent and received by all the devices on the network. This is valuable information for a penetration tester because it can be used to find vulnerabilities.

For example, if there is unencrypted traffic on the network, a hacker could intercept it and read the data. WireShark can also be used to sniff for passwords and other sensitive information. In addition, it can be used to monitor traffic for suspicious activity. This makes WireShark an essential tool for any penetration tester.

7. Nessus

Nessus is a commercial vulnerability scanner developed by Tenable Network Security. It can be used to identify hosts and services on a network, as well as scan for over 60,000 known vulnerabilities. Nessus is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Nessus is a highly versatile tool that can be used to conduct various types of tests, including remote network audits, server infrastructure assessments, and web application vulnerability scans. Nessus is also one of the most widely used tools for compliance testing, as it can be used to verify compliance with multiple industry-specific security standards.

8. Pentera

Pentera is one of the most common penetration testing tools in the Philippines and can be used to test the security of any website or web-based application. Pentera works by launching a series of attacks against the target system, attempting to exploit any vulnerabilities that may be present. It can be used to test for a variety of different security issues, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and directory traversal. On top of this, Pentera can also be used to test for common web server misconfigurations, such as weak passwords and insecure file permissions.

While Pentera can be an invaluable tool for security professionals, it is important to note that it should only be used in a controlled environment, such as a lab or test network. Attempting to use Pentera on a live system could result in serious damage or disruption.

If you’re not currently using network penetration testing tools as part of your business security protocol, now is the time to start.

Kital is the leaders of cybersecurity for businesses in the Philippines and we’re here to provide you with top-notch penetration testing tools. We proudly carry Pentera, the latest pen-testing tool on the market, and we can help you implement it into your existing security plan. With Pentera, you can rest assured that your business is safe from malicious attacks by cybercriminals. Contact us today to get started!

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