Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, as required by an organization’s security audits, is an integral activity to gauge an organization’s level of resistance to security breaches. When performed by a contracted firm, or “Red Team,” penetration testing gives an organization’s security personnel real experience in dealing with intrusions. Similar to a fire drill, a penetration test forces them to develop an effective, working strategy in dealing with unexpected attacks.

Some engaged Pen Testing areas are:

  • Network Services
  • Web Application
  • Client Side
  • Physical
  • Wireless
  • Social Engineering
  • PLC/Alarm controls

The Types of Penetration Tests

We offer many types of pen testing services and also encourage crowdsourcing for application pen testing:

Black Box Testing

In a real world Cyber-attack, the hacker probably will not know all of the ins and outs of the IT infrastructure of a corporation. Because of this, he or she will launch an all-out, brute force attack against the IT infrastructure, in the hopes of trying to find a vulnerability or weakness on which they latch onto. In other words, in this type of Pen Test, there is no information given to the tester about the internal workings of the particular Web Application, nor about its source code or software architecture. As a result, this particular type of test can take a very long time to complete, so very often, the tester will rely upon the use of automated processes to completely uncover the weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This type of test is also referred to as the “trial and error” approach.

Example network based blackbox testing:

  • Firewall configuration testing
  • Stateful analysis testing
  • Firewall bypass testing
  • IPS evasion
  • DNS attacks
  • Secure Shell (SSH)
  • SQL Server
  • My SQL
  • File Transfer Protocol
  • Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)
  • External login pages

White Box Testing

White Box Testing In this type of Pen test, also known as “Clear Box Testing,” the tester has full knowledge and access to both the source code and software architecture of the Web Application. Because of this, a White Box Test can be accomplished in a much quicker time frame when compared to a Black Box Test. The other advantage of this is that a much more thorough Pen Test can be completed. But, this approach also has its set of disadvantages. First, since a tester has complete knowledge, it could take more time to decide on what to focus specifically on regarding system and component testing and analysis. Second, to conduct this type of test, more sophisticated tools are required such as that of software code analyzers and debuggers.

Gray Box Testing

As the name implies, this type of test is a combination of both the Black Box and the White Box Test. In other words, the penetration tester only has a partial knowledge of the internal workings of the Web Applications. This is often restricted to just getting access to the software code and system architecture diagrams. With the Gray Box Test, both manual and automated testing processes can be utilized. Because of this approach, a pen tester can focus their main efforts focus on those areas of the Web Application, which he or she knows the most about, and from there, and from there, exploit any weaknesses or vulnerabilities. With this particular method, there is a higher probability that more hard to find “security holes” will also be discovered as well.

The Penetration Testing Teams

Very often, when it comes, Pen Testing, the image of just one person doing the test is conjured up. But keep in mind, the best types of Pen Testing come into play when multiple testers are utilized and are broken down into three teams, which are as follows:

The Red Team

The Red Team can be considered as those individuals who are the actual Pen Testers. Their primary goal and objective are to mimic or emulate the mindset of an attacker, trying to break down through all of the weaknesses and vulnerabilities which are present. In other words, it is the Red Team which attacks all fronts possible.

The Blue Team

The Blue Team can be considered that personnel from within the infrastructure of the business itself. This can be the IT Security team, and their primary goal and objective are to thwart off and defend against any attacks from the Red Team. It is important that anybody participating on the Blue Team must possess the mindset of constant proactiveness and vigilance to defend the corporation against any and all attacks. If you think about it, both the Red Team and Blue Team can be viewed as the two sides of a particular coin, or the Ying and the Yang. The summation goal of these two teams is great to enhance the security posture of the corporation on a constant basis, by sharing feedback with another. However, this does not always happen. Thus there is the need for the Purple Team.

The Purple Team

The Purple Team can be viewed as the composite of both the Red Team and the Blue Team. In other words, the Purple Team adopts the security controls and tactics from the Blue Team, as well as the security weaknesses and vulnerabilities which are discovered by the Red Team. This is then all translated into a one, single narrative which can be shared across all of the teams fully to implement a policy of continuous and constant security improvements for the corpora In other words, the Purple Team can be viewed as literally the “bridge” between the Red Team and the Blue Team, to help instill a sense of continuous integration amongst the two. To fully ensure that the Purple Team is providing the most robust lines of communication and information, it should remain as a separate entity and neutral of all views and circumstances, so there is no bias.