Penetration testing, also known as pen testing or ethical hacking, is the practice of testing a computer system, network, or web application to identify vulnerabilities that an attacker could exploit.
The goal of penetration testing is to assess the security of the system and provide actionable recommendations for improving it.
There are several steps involved in a typical penetration testing engagement:
This is the initial phase of penetration testing where the tester gathers information about the target system, such as IP addresses, domain names, and open ports.
This information can be obtained through public sources, such as search engines and social media, or through more advanced methods, such as network scanning and social engineering.
Once the tester has gathered information about the target system, they will use tools to scan for vulnerabilities.
This can include network scans, vulnerability scans, and application scans. These tools will identify known vulnerabilities and potential attack vectors.
Once vulnerabilities have been identified, the tester will attempt to exploit them.
This can include injecting malicious code into a web application, gaining unauthorized access to a system, or escalating privileges on a compromised system.
After successfully exploiting a vulnerability, the tester will typically continue to gather information and try to maintain access to the system.
This can include installing backdoors, creating new user accounts, or stealing sensitive information.
Once the testing is completed, the tester will document their findings and provide a detailed report to the client.
The report should include a summary of the testing performed, a list of vulnerabilities identified, and recommendations for mitigating or eliminating them.
It is important to note that penetration testing should only be performed with the explicit consent of the system or network owner and should be conducted in accordance with legal and ethical guidelines.
In summary, Penetration testing is a method of identifying vulnerabilities in systems, networks or web applications, by simulating an attack from a malicious actor.
It is a way to evaluate the security of the system and provide actionable recommendations for improving it. It can be done in several steps such as reconnaissance, scanning, exploitation, post-exploitation and reporting.
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