To answer the question „Why perform Pen Testing?“, we first need to know what Pen Testing (see also www.itexperst.at) actually is.
It’s not common knowledge at all among the users of modern computer technologies. So let‘s start by bringing some light on the subject of Penetration Testing, more usually known as Pen Testing.
Assuming that most of the users, no matter if from the business or private side, do have some kind of idea of the many threats that the internet bring upon us, they have themselves installed some kind of protection against such threats. This protection is commonly seen as protective enough. But is it really? How can one actually really know? The ever changing and evolving technology also brings ever changing threats with it. Hackers or attackers with malicious intensions use the most sophisticated tools to retrieve any kind of information that could be valuable for them. So even if we try and keep our IT systems safe, we certainly don’t look at them with the eyes of a Hacker. But highly qualified and specialised testers can!
Pen Testers are basically White-Hat Hackers who use their skills (with your permission) to infiltrate your systems – thereby exposing your security weaknesses. They do this by exploiting weak password procedure, or creeping in through the back door, through any little crack in your armour. Once you know where the holes are, you can patch them with more security.
So, why perform Pen Testing? – Because performing Pen Tests gets to the nitty-gritty, actually exposing the true quality levels of your security standards.
While conducting Pen Tests on your IT-Network, the testers replicate all those pretty nasty actions the real-life hackers themselves would use to get into a network. Pen Testers additionally use their own special methodologies and IT-Tools to perform Pen Tests by penetrating the vulnerabilies in a certain IT-network, resulting in a high-quality report that will at a later stage, lead to making your Network safer. The whole testing process focuses on what resources the penetrated Computer system uses. And to start with, the tester is given the legal permission by his client, to try to „hack“ himself to the heart of the clients network. The Pen Test is always divided into various steps or stages.
At first, the tester tries to find out as much as possible about the object he wants to attack. What Servers is he using, what email client, operating system, etc. He tries to go down right to the deep details, because this is where he will learn about the weaknesses and ways to get in. In the second stage he will verify if the information he has gathered together is correct. He compares them to know vulnerabilities and then tests them.
An IT system can be Pen Tested in sections, or in its entirety. The tester can also test for risks emanating from within your own network, even if your website is well secured. At the end of the process you will probably know, that you cannot not ever be 100 % safe against intrusions or malware. But you have at least mended the most obvious holes in your system. And to answer the initial question – Why perform Pen Testing? – you’ll probably know the answer by now: To find out how vulnerable your IT really is.