Beginner’s Guide to Penetration Testing

Written by promotiondept

February 25, 2021

BeGInner’s Guide to Penetration Testing Since you are here to read this article,  we assume that you are already aware of the terms “hacking”, “hackers” and other words associated with unauthorised access. Penetration testing or ethical hacking is the process of attempting to gain access into target resources and perform actual attacks to find loopholes in the system and measure the strength of security. In this article we will learn about […]

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Beginner’s Guide to Petration Testing

Since you are here to read this article,  we assume that you are already aware of the terms “hacking”“hackers” and other words associated with unauthorised access. Petration testing or ethil hacking is the process of attempting to gain access into target resources and perform actual attacks to find loop in the system and measure the strgth of security.

In this article we will learn about petration testing, its requiremts and understand how real world ethil hackers perform hacking attacks.

Petration testing (also lled p testing) and Vulnerability Assessmt are both individual activities. Vulnerability assessmt is rried out to idtify the vulnerability of the system or network and patch that particular vulnerability with the creation of some controls. 

Although the modus operandi may be similar, the motives behind hacking and petration testing are polar opposites. Hacking is done with the inttion of using harm. It includes printing, attacks, gaining access, eloitation etc. And once the motive is fullfiled the hacker clears the tracks in other words, wipes the evidce. The target might not have any prior information regarding this.

Petration testing, on the other hand, is rried out with the motive of hancing the existing security level of the system. It is rried out with the approval of top managemt or delegates, who provide support for the testing.  Petration testing is the actual testing of the system by targeting and performing real attacks without having much information about the target systems. Many companies and governmt agcies hire petration testers to check the strgth of their security controls.

UK’s National Cyber Security Cter summarised ptesting in one line.”A method of gaining assurance in the security of an IT system by attempting the breach of system’s security, using some tools and techniques as an adversary might”.

There are 3 main type of petration testing: 

Here the attackers have no prior or predefined information regarding the target. They have to perform common attacks using tools and techniques without any knowledge of the target’s IP address, OS details or other information. This type of testing is lled covert or Red team testing

In this type of testing, attackers have some amount of information about the target like lotion, IP address, OS details, email ID etc. Based on the incomplete information at hand, they have to apply the appropriate method of attack and perform petration testing.   

White hat testing is comparatively downright testing with full fledged information about the target, where the hacker has all required information to perform the attack. This might include IP address, OS details, known vulnerabilities, applition version and so on. This is also known as overt testing or Blue Team testing. 

Petration testing helps organizations to guard their assets and prevt loss of data and financial or other assest. It may be rried out by a variety of cyber criminals including hackers, extornists, disgruntled employees or any other undesirable elemts.

It also helps to check the actual implemtation of compliance and find out the non-compliance in the tire system or network, which n evtually lead to big mistakes and result in business loss, heavy fines and defamation.

Petration testing helps shape your information security strategy by idtifying vulnerabilities and their impacts, and defining the likelihood of future attacks, that n be mitigated proactively.

Petration testing is more advanced than any other form of testing. In normal testing, the tester assumes that such a scario is unlikely to happ, wherein there’s an attempt at unauthorised access and hce might have skipped some functions.  

Petration testing on the other hand requires the tester to think of all possible scarios of attack and act like an actual attacker to design the perfect system and get the desired result.

To achieve this goal, the petration testing process is designed in major s. 

Penetration testing Methodology

In the planning phase, top managemt involvemt is highly recommded. With the help of delegates, the petration team idtifies the rules, objectives and goals to perform successful petration testing. Risk of testing, required permission to access the information systems, backup plan, alternative source allotion, required downtime etc. are rried out after discussionbetwe the tester and clit.(in se of white hat testing). Without proper planning, ptesting may lead to heavy data loss or any similar failure. It is also important to get approval from the managemt regarding the scope. Testing without managemt approval lead to major production/business impact. The petration tester n get fired or face legal action in some ses. 

In this phase, petration testers have to get as much  information as possible about the target. This includes but is not limited to IP address, OS, email IDs, lotions, network maps etc. In major ses, OSINT framework will help the tester to get most of the op information about the target. After getting all the required information, they have to start vulnerability assessmt using automated tools. Usually testers have their own database giving the details of the vulnerabilities. Once ough data has be gathered during the target discovery phase

This is the core process of any petration test. In this phase, testers idtify pottial vulnerabilities and get those vulnerabilities verified by eloiting them. If the vulnerability actually exists, th the attack takes place successfully. This phase includes a variety of attacks like social gineering, SQL injections, implemtation of the backdoors, malware attacks, phishing attacks and more. Also, the goal of this phase is to check if access n be maintained that evtually converts into privilege eslation that n keep stealing the organization’s data or keep acting as a threat for the system. 

Sometimes, ptesters will leave a clue on the target system that n be reviewed in the post eloitation phase.

The reporting phase is the final stage of petration testing where the test results are compiled as a PT report. This report includes all details about the petration test. For example,  

This report comes under the “confidtial” tegory and only authorised personnel should have access to this report. Note of the “Acceptable use” of this report must be mtioned in this report and agreed to by both parties.

Tools play a major role in petration testing.  These tools help to idtify security weaknesses in the network, server, hardware and applition. Petration tools are nothing but a software applition which is developed to check loop that are used by the actual hacker.  However, the same tools are also used by ptesters to check the threats that may compromise the security of the organization. This is like a weapon that n kill but also protect from the emies.

There are hundreds of tools available in the market to perform various petration testing operations. We will look at some of the most common tools used for petration testing which are helpful for common testing features and are widely accepted by most organizations.

Metasploit is a widely used petration testing tool framework. Using metasploit, testing teams n verify and manage security assessmts that keep white hat hackers a ahead.

Metasploit has a user fridly GUI interface along with a command line. It also supports all operating systems like Mac OS, Linux and Windows, But it’s more commonly run on Linux.  Metasploit allows testers to break into the system and idtify severe flaws. Testers n eloit the flaws and perform actual attacks with this toolMetasploit provides more than 1500 eloits using metadata.

Wireshark is the world’s most widely used network protocol analyzer. This tool helps testers to check what’s happing on the network at microscopic level. Wireshark helps for deep inspection of hundreds of protocols along with live ptures and offline analysis features. Wireshark also supports all major OS like Windows, Linux, MacOS, Solaris etc.

Powerful display filters, rich VoIP analysis, coloring rules, decryption ability and many other features make Wireshark an unbeatable industry leader in the market.

BeEF stands for Browser Eloitation Framework. This petration testing tool is used to check a web browser and elore weaknesses on the clit system and network. It also looks past harded network parameters and clit systems.

It n use more than one browser for launching directed command modules and further attacks in the context of the browsers.

Burp suit is ideal for testing web-based applitions.  Burp Suite is widely used by most information security professionals.Burp suite

This framework uses web based petration testing on the JAVA platform with automatic crawling pacity over the applition.It has features to map the tack surface and analyze requests betwe a browser and destination servers.

For 20 years, 30000 companies have be using Nessus tools for their petration testing process. This is the most powerful tool in the world with more than 45000 CES (Cyber Eosure Score) and 100000 plus plugins for snning the IP addresses, websites and completing ssitive data searches. Using Nessus testers n lote the weak points in the systems.  
Nessus

Nessus n be helpful for loting and idtifying missing patches, malware including all operating systems, applitions, mobile snning. Fully featured dashboard, wide range snning pacity and multi format report facility makes Nessus the best tool for VAPT worldwide.

Free, flexible, powerful, portable and easy to useNmap is an op source network discovery and security auditing tool.

Nmap

Nmap is useful to check and manage service upgrade schedules, monitoring host and running services with uptime, network invtory managemt etc. It uses raw IP packets to determine whether hosts are available or not. Nmap also helps to check what services are running hosts along with applition name, version, operating systems details. Testers n check what type of packet filters are in use. Nmap has the ability to sn a single system to large networks. It supports almost all operating systems.

Nmap is so popular that it has be featured in 12 movies including The Matrix, SnowdOcean’s 8, Die Hard 4, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo etc.

Aircrack NG is the tool for assessmt of wireless security. Aircrack n monitor ptured packets and transfer data to the text file which n help third party tools for monitoring processes. Using Aircrack, ptesters n crack WEP and WPA protocols. The CLI interface of Aircrack allows heavy scripting yet also supports GUIs and operating systems like Windows, OSx etc.

SQLmap

SQLmap is a tool to automate the process of detection and eloitation of SQL injection flaws into the applition and database servers. SQLmap comes with a powerful detection gine that supports all database managemt systems.  It supports all six SQL injection techniques like boolean based blind, time based blind, error based, Union based etc.

By providing proper authtition, IP address, port and database name it n bypass SQL injection and connect with the database.

ZAP is a free, op source petration testing tool for testing web applitions. It is also known as “man in the middle proxy” beuse it stands betwe the tester’s browser and the web applition so that it n intercept messages, modify if required and sd to the destination. It supports all major OSs and Docker.

It n also construct a map of the applition and record the requests and responses and gerate alerts if something is wrong.

SET (Social gineering toolkit) is an op source petration testing framework designed to perform social gineering attacks. It is designed to perform a human-side petration test to check if any human error n convert into a threat for the organization.

SET has a number of custom attack vectors in which targets n get trapped easily.  SET n be integrated with Metasploit framework. Using SET petration, testers n perform  Phishing attack, website attack, malware attack, create payload and eavesdropping, mass mailing etc.

These are the very basic and common tools used by petration testers or white hat hackers to find out major weaknesses in the systems or network. There are more than 300 tools available on speed OS for petration testing like Kali Linux, Parrot Security Operating system, Back, DEFT, Samurai Web testing framework, Node Zero etc. 

In this article we have learned what exactly petration testing is, and what is the importance of testing in the organization. The tools and techniques discussed n vary from organization to organization, but the objective will remain the same – to protect the assets of the organization from outside attackers. Skilled petration testers n find more and more loop, which th be patched to make systems more secure.

Mobile device security and cloud security are also eanding the scope of petration testing. As a petration tester,  one has to get ready and know about the vulnerabilities and testing in these areas as well. Remember, this is a game where a petration tester always has to stay one ahead of a black hat hacker, since ultimately there n only be one winner; either the attacker or the organization.

  • Objective of petration testing 
  • Tester team  
  • Scope (Target team / system / network) 
  • List of vulnerabilities idtified by the team 
  • Details of eloitation 
  • Key findings 
  • lculation of time during access and maintaining access 
  • Impact and analysis 
  • Tactil and strategic recommdations 
  • Summary 

  • Source

    How To Really REALIZE DREAMS COME TRUE?

    Happiness is for those who plan well and pursue. A profound among us have been proven those who have true dream to live for likely REALIZED IT. It is just simply the person working toward the DREAM days and night until accomplishment. There is a phrase of efficiency a head of you. Steps and obstacles at first seem tremendous. However, just with some times those difficult steps and challenges are so easy performance for you. There are also plenty of tools including VISUALIZATIONS and helps are around you.

    Beginner’s Guide to Penetration Testing Since you are here to read this article,  we assume that you are already aware of the terms “hacking”, “hackers” and other words associated with unauthorised access. Penetration testing or ethical hacking is the process of attempting to gain access into target resources and perform actual attacks to find loopholes in the system and measure the strength of security. In this article we will learn about […]

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    How To Really REALIZE DREAMS COME TRUE?

    Happiness is for those who plan well and pursue. A profound among us have been proven those who have true dream to live for likely REALIZED IT. It is just simply the person working toward the DREAM days and night until accomplishment. There is a phrase of efficiency a head of you. Steps and obstacles at first seem tremendous. However, just with some times those difficult steps and challenges are so easy performance for you. There are also plenty of tools including VISUALIZATIONS and helps are around you.

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