Don’t let the title Security Testing vs Pentesting confuse you. You can choose one or the other depending on your requirements. Pentesting, or Penetration Testing, is actually a type of Security Testing. This article will discuss Security Testing in detail, focus on Pentesting, as well as the differences between Pentesting and other types of Security Tests.
Cyberattacks are often invisible to us. We are happy with the firewall that we installed three years ago, and an expired SSL certificate. Before we get into the discussion about Security Testing and Pentesting, let’s review some painful memories from major cyberattacks in the past. Fear is a powerful motivator.
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2014 – 500 million Yahoo accounts were compromised by an attack.
2017 – WannaCry ransomware infected 200,000 computers in 150 countries, resulting in financial losses of approximately 6 billion pounds.
June 20, 2021 – 8.4 billion passwords were compromised by the RockYou2021 hack. This name is in honor of the 2009 RockYou site breach that compromised 32 million passwords. A tribute!
These were mostly targeted attacks that were carefully planned for specific networks. However, a surprising number of websites are vulnerable to blunt mass attacks. Sites with weak passwords or common vulnerabilities are the targets of mass attacks. Most attacks can be avoided by simply testing your systems every once in a while. Let’s stop preaching about security. Let’s get on with the story.
What is Security Testing?
Security Testing is the process of scanning your network and physical environment for potential vulnerabilities that could cause a cyberattack or data theft, as well as other malicious activity. Security Testing is a broad term that encompasses a variety of techniques.
Security Testing can be divided into three types.
- White Box Security Test: This allows security testers to gain a lot of information about the target system’s internal structure. They arrive knowing the code and checking that everything is working properly.
- Black Box Safety Testing: The testers do not receive any information about internal system structure. They rely on input and responses. This is similar to the way an attacker would approach their move.
- Grey Box Security Test: The Grey Box approach is a mix of blackbox and whitebox. Although the code structure is not known by the testers, they do have access to crucial information such as login credentials. These tests are crucial to determine how much damage privilege-access attackers can do.
What is Penetration Testing?
Penetration testing, a type of security test in which security experts simulate hacking of your system to expose and exploit vulnerabilities, is called penetration testing.
You learn the following after a successful penetration test.
- What are the vulnerabilities in your system?
- What risk each one poses for the business
- How to fix them
There are many types of security testing
Security Testing, as we have said before, is a broad term. We’ll be learning about the various methodologies that are included in this umbrella.
It is the process of identifying users and devices within a network using a feature in the protocol. Network scanning is used by attackers to identify operating systems, servers, or services that are part of a network, and then search for vulnerable entry points. These vulnerabilities can be fixed by security experts using a similar approach.
This automated process involves scanning the target system with a program for known vulnerabilities and security loopholes. Scanners can find security holes in networks and software that is connected to them. Security experts and Pentesters use it as a foundational security exercise.
Hacking with ethics
Again, ethical hacking is a broad term that encompasses all activities carried out by security professionals to alert organizations about possible threats to their network, applications or site. Ethical hackers have a similar skill set to malicious actors, but they work within strict legal limits.
As the name implies, this is a process in which a group of security professionals attempts to penetrate your website, applications, or networks through weaknesses or vulnerabilities. The team exploits the vulnerabilities to a certain extent and then creates a report. The pentest report contains the vulnerability list, along with their risk score and guidelines for remediation.
What is the difference between penetration testing and security testing in general?
Penetration testing is a more advanced form of security testing that identifies vulnerabilities and helps you understand how they could impact your business. A vulnerability is, for example, a site with a broken plugin. The Pentester will assess the damage that a faulty plugin could cause to your site if it is exploited by an attacker. The Pentester will also demonstrate how defenses are responding to the threat. There are other distinguishing factors. Let’s take a look at them.
Your website / web application should be the most secure place on the Internet.
Security Testing vs. Pentesting
|Security Testing Other Than Pentest||Penetration Testing|
|This broad term covers a variety of security activities.||One of the many security measures. It’s a very special one.|
|It has a wide, but shallow, area of operation.||It has a small but deep area of operation.|
|Ends up with many potential vulnerabilities.||Ends up being a list with real vulnerabilities and risk scores.|
|Does not exploit vulnerabilities.||To assess vulnerabilities, you can exploit them.|
|It does not include detailed instructions for reproducing or fixing vulnerabilities.||Includes a detailed guide to remediation.|
|It is a good choice for companies looking for a broad surface security check.||Security protocols should be adopted by companies handling sensitive data.|
|Network scanning, which is a high-level security test, can take up to 20 minutes. Automated vulnerability scanners can take up 10 hours.||Penetration testing can take between 4 and 10 days, depending on the scope. Rescans can take up to 2 days.|
|Security testing reports include a list of possible vulnerabilities and security recommendations.||Penetration Testing reports provide more detail, including risk scores and guidance for remediation.|
Understanding the Pentest Process
Penetration Testing can be a complex process. You don’t have to worry about every step, especially if your company is efficient in penetration testing. You never know when you might need this information.
The Penetration test is usually divided into seven phases. Let’s quickly go through them.
Phase 1. Pre-engagement
This phase is where the client and security team discuss the scope for the pentest. They determine which assets they will leave out of the pentest. They discuss a strategy that allows the weaknesses to be exploited without interfering in business. These are the rules of engagement. This is where all information is provided to the Pentesters.
Phase 2. Reconnaissance
The Pentesters employ a variety of tools and techniques to collect information about the target. To achieve their goal, they can use either passive or active strategies. This phase is crucial in determining the direction of the entire Penetration Test.
Phase 3. Discovery
This phase includes the vulnerability scan and additional information. This phase identifies any vulnerabilities in the target system.
These vulnerabilities are linked to the threats identified in the previous phase. This phase will help you understand the risks associated with each vulnerability.
Phase 5. Exploitation
Some vulnerabilities that were discovered earlier can be exploited. To find out how much access they have through these loopholes, the Pentesters exploit them. They also attempt to increase their access through different methods.
All relevant information, including CVSS scores, is included in the Pentest report. The vulnerability’s risk is determined by their ease of exploit and the amount of access they provided. This report contains detailed instructions for developers on how to fix the vulnerabilities.
After the vulnerabilities have been fixed, most Pentesters will offer a rescan. Your network, site or application can be considered safe if the rescan finds no vulnerabilities.
Penetration Testing has special benefits
It is obvious that when we talk about Security Testing vs Penetration Testing we will highlight the special benefits of each. This is how Penetration Testing can outperform all other types of Security Testing in terms both of effectiveness and depth of coverage.
- When a security hole is exploited to gain entry to your system, you can see the real danger.
- Pentests are conducted from the perspective of an attacker. It helps you to focus on the most important attack vectors rather than having a superficial approach to security.
- You can get a detailed report on breaches that gives you real-time information about how a breach might affect your business. This makes it easier to plan your security resources.
- This data allows your developers to reproduce vulnerabilities and fix them.
Who should have a Pentest?
Some industries require penetration testing.
To comply with PCI DSS regulations, payment processing companies must conduct Penetration Testing.
Pentesting is required by healthcare institutions to comply with HIPAA guidelines.
IT service providers must conduct regular Pentesting to ensure SOC2 Type 2 compliance.
Regular Penetration Testing should be performed for any organization with internet-facing assets, or that holds and transmits sensitive information – credit card numbers, customer data, healthcare-related data, confidential government data, etc.
EcomServicesSummit makes penetration testing super easy for users
You are probably not concerned about Security Testing vs. Penetration Testing as a business owner, or choosing which test to use.
Your goal is to improve your security posture and get certified. This will allow you to continue business without fear of hackers and provide a high security ROI.
EcomServicesSummit security experts run 3000+ tests in order to find all vulnerabilities. Each one is examined and then a solution is found.
They begin updating your vulnerabilities on the Pentest dashboard dedicated to your company within a matter of days after starting security scans. The vulnerability monitoring, analytics and planning of remediation are done according to the severity of the threat.
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EcomServicesSummit makes it easier to remediate by providing video POCs that can be used to assist your developers. In case of a technical problem, the Devs have access to security engineers for assistance.
EcomServicesSummit offers several rescans after you have completed the repairs to make sure your system is clean. You will then receive a globally recognized certificate. Neat, isn’t it?
Your business’s nature, sensitive data, value to hackers and software used should all be considered when choosing a security test. When making this decision, it is best to seek professional assistance. All forms of security testing may work together to increase your security and repel cyberattacks.