Penetration Testing: Stress Test Your Digital Defences Against Real Attacks
Put Our Ethical Hackers to the Test
You’ve built up strong defenses for your business’s digital assets. Your firewalls are hardened, endpoints protected, and data encrypted. But how do you really know your systems are secure against the latest cyber threats? This is where professional penetration testing comes in.
Penetration testing, also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, is the practice of authorized simulated cyber attacks against your computer systems and networks. The goal is to evaluate the security of your IT infrastructure by proactively attempting to exploit vulnerabilities before they can be taken advantage of by real malicious actors.
Find weaknesses before hackers do. Pen testing identifies vulnerabilities that already exist in your environment that could be exploited by cyber criminals to infiltrate networks, steal data, disrupt operations and more. Knowing about these security gaps and weaknesses allows you to address them before your systems are actually breached.
Improve defenses. Our highly skilled team of penetration testers provide actionable recommendations to fix identified vulnerabilities and enhance security measures based on the latest advanced attack techniques. This allows you to strengthen your defenses and significantly lower risk.
Meet compliance requirements. Many industry regulations and standards like PCI DSS, HIPAA, FFIEC, GLBA, and SOX require annual penetration testing as part of compliance. Successful pen testing provides solid evidence of due diligence for auditors.
Validate security controls. Penetration testing helps validate that your security solutions like next-gen firewalls, IDS/IPS systems, endpoint protection, SIEM solutions, and antivirus are all configured properly and operating as intended.
Enhance security team skills. Observing seasoned penetration testers up close helps your in-house IT and security staff improve their own skills in defending against the newest evolving methods of attack used by advanced hackers and nation-state groups.
Justify security spending. The results of penetration testing assessments clearly demonstrate the ROI for IT security investments and reinforce the need for addressing discovered gaps and vulnerabilities.
Improve incident response. Understanding how an external attacker or malicious insider is able to infiltrate the network arms incident response teams with knowledge that can be used for more effective threat detection, containment, and remediation.
Stop attacks earlier. Finding weaknesses through proactive testing prevents attackers from exploiting them to gain an initial foothold in the early stages of a cyber attack. This allows breaches to be stopped earlier before significant damage occurs.
Bolster credibility. Being able to state your systems and applications have been recently penetration tested by an independent firm adds credibility that proper security due diligence is being performed.
Our deep penetration testing services are designed to closely mimic the sophisticated methods real-world attackers would use to compromise your networks and gain access to your critical systems and sensitive data. Here’s an in-depth look at how our structured testing process works:
1. Planning, Scoping and Reconnaissance
We start out by learning about your specific business environment, objectives, and requirements through an in-depth scoping process. This phase involves:
Interviews with key IT staff to understand your systems, networks, applications, and current security policies and controls.
Defining the scope and rules of engagement. We work closely with you to set the parameters of the pen test including defining in scope systems, out of scope systems, and any limits or restrictions like avoiding denial of service attacks.
Finalizing a schedule and getting necessary approvals. Specific testing dates are set and logistics coordinated to work around your normal business operations. Any preliminary network or systems access needed is granted.
Reconnaissance and information gathering to identify potential weaknesses before attempted exploitation. This includes open source research, metadata analysis, technology fingerprinting, port scanning, infrastructure modeling and more.
2. Vulnerability Analysis
After thorough reconnaissance and information gathering, the next testing phase attempts to actually find vulnerabilities present in your environment. This vulnerability analysis stage involves actively probing systems and intentionally attempting to circumvent security controls including:
Web application scanning – Your web applications and APIs are tested for vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), broken authentication/access control flaws, insecure direct object references, CSRF issues, business logic weaknesses, etc.
Network device scanning – Network equipment including firewalls, routers, switches, load balancers, VPN endpoints and more are checked for vulnerabilities like default or weak passwords and outdated firmware or software.
Wireless scanning – Your wireless networks are surveyed for rogue access points, misconfigured or outdated WAPs and controllers, weak encryption, and authentication flaws.
Mobile app testing – Any mobile apps are tested for insecure data storage, authentication weaknesses, privacy leaks, reverse engineering risks, and more.
Cloud infrastructure assessments – Cloud resources are examined for misconfigurations in IAM policies, poor key management, insufficient logging, and other cloud-specific risks.
Password audits – Password strength and account lockout policies are checked. Cracking attempts test the real-world security of user credentials.
Services interrogations – Any exposed services like RDP, SMB, SMTP, SSH, etc. are thoroughly interrogated for vulnerabilities.
Social engineering – Your employees are tested with phishing, vishing (voice phishing), smishing (SMS phishing), and USB drop attacks.
Configuration reviews – System configurations are audited for insecure settings, weaknesses in platform hardening, overly permissive file permissions, etc.
3. Exploitation and Post-Exploitation
The exploitation phase involves verifying vulnerabilities through active exploitation attempts to actually compromise assets. Post-exploitation focuses on testing lateral movement capabilities and maintaining persistent access. This may include:
System hacking – Gaining administrative or root level access to servers, workstations, network devices, and any accessible systems by chaining together multiple vulnerabilities.
Password cracking – Obtaining account credentials through password guessing, brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, rainbow table attacks, and other methods.
Network access – Moving laterally between network segments and escalating privileges using tunneling, pivoting, Pass the Hash attacks, and other techniques.
Data exfiltration – Actually extracting or deleting unauthorized data from compromised systems to model intellectual property theft, ransomware attacks, and other data breach scenarios.
Maintaining access – Testing the ability to create backdoors, plant rootkits, establish reverse shells, manipulate logs, and other methods to maintain persistent access to compromised systems.
4. Reporting and Recommendations
Once the penetration test is complete, we deliver a comprehensive technical report detailing:
An executive summary of all critical findings and highlights for management.
Detailed descriptions of each vulnerability found, how it was identified, and steps for reproducing it along with real evidence like compromised files or data.
Severity ratings for each finding based on CVSS standards and impact analysis.
Specific remediation recommendations and best practices for fixing every issue identified during testing.
References to vendors and CVE details when relevant.
Prioritized roadmap for addressing discovered vulnerabilities based on severity levels.
Throughout the test, we document all activities extensively. You receive recordings, packet captures, system logs, screenshots, and other evidence proving any successful intrusions.
Our flexible penetration testing process is designed to minimize business disruptions while still delivering maximum security intelligence. Here are the typical phases and steps:
1. Initiate Testing
Project kickoff call to define scope and objectives
Logistics coordination for onsite and remote testing requirements
Providing necessary network/systems credentials and access
2. External Penetration Testing
Attempts compromise from outside your network perimeter pretending to be an external attacker
3. Internal Penetration Testing
Tests for insider threats by attempting to gain elevated privileges and move laterally through systems as an authenticated user with standard access rights
4. Social Engineering Testing
Tests your employees’ security awareness through simulated phishing, phone, and USB drop attacks
5. Web Application Penetration Testing
Comprehensive testing of all internet facing applications and APIs
6. Report Delivery
Complete written report detailing all findings, analysis, recommendations, and evidence
7. Remediation Validation
Optional re-testing to validate fixes for any critical vulnerabilities identified
We conduct testing across multiple phases which gives your IT team time to make fixes and improve defenses before more advanced exploitation techniques are attempted. For organizations with limited windows available, we can compress testing activities to complete in as little as 1-2 weeks.
What if you successfully breach our systems?
Any successful intrusions achieved during the penetration test are actually beneficial findings as they enable us to convincingly demonstrate the full exploitation potential. We work extremely closely and transparently with your IT staff throughout testing to ensure minimal disruption. All activities are fully documented and completely reversed as part of project completion.
What can be tested?
Penetration tests can be customized to target just about anything including externally facing servers, internal network devices, web applications, cloud infrastructure, wireless networks, mobile apps, IoT devices, and more. Tests can be internet-facing only or include internal networks and systems. Just define the scope and we’ll ethically hack it!
Do you actually exploit vulnerabilities?
Absolutely. Simply identifying theoretical vulnerabilities with automated scanning tools is not enough to provide a true picture of risk. We take penetration testing to the next level by actively exploiting found vulnerabilities to prove which ones represent a valid pathway for system compromise or data breach. This accurate demonstration of real-world exposure is what allows our clients to focus remediation efforts in the right places.
What are the outputs?
At minimum, you receive a comprehensive written report detailing all findings, severity ratings, proofs of concept, and actionable recommendations for remediation. Raw technical data gathered during testing like vulnerability scan reports, packet captures, system logs, etc. can also be provided. We offer ongoing status calls and dashboard access to keep you continually informed throughout the duration of the penetration test engagement.
How can you help remediate issues?
We don’t just identify vulnerabilities, we help correct them too. Along with our findings, we provide specific solutions and configuration adjustments needed to address each security weakness found. Our experts can provide vendor references and best practice guides tailored to your specific environment. We optionally offer re-testing services after remediation to validate that vulnerabilities have been properly addressed.
How often should penetration testing be done?
Most industry regulations and standards require external and internal penetration testing to be performed at least annually. However, for high-risk environments, tests can be conducted as frequently as quarterly. We recommend testing not just on a routine calendar basis but also after major infrastructure changes, new application deployments, new wireless networks, cloud migrations, or any security incidents.
Can you test our physical facilities too?
Absolutely. Our physical penetration testing services assess the security of your buildings and physical access controls. Testing is conducted both during working hours and after hours to identify vulnerabilities in your physical security, CCTV systems, access control systems, and employee security practices.
What compliance requirements can pen testing help meet?
Regular penetration testing covers key components of many regulations and standards including PCI DSS, HIPAA, NIST, GLBA, SOX, GDPR, and state data security laws. We can provide required documentation like testing plans and reports.
Ready to Test Your Defenses?
Don’t let cyber criminals be the ones to find weaknesses in your armor – identify and fix those holes before they become full blown breaches. With our independent penetration testing, you can find vulnerabilities before attackers do and strengthen your defenses.
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