Network penetration testing is the process of attempting to penetrate a computer network or system from the outside, often using automated tools. It is different from regular penetration testing because it specifically targets networks and systems rather than individual devices. Network penetration testing can be an important part of your security plan, as it can help you identify vulnerabilities before someone else does.
In this post, we will discuss the basics of network penetration testing and everything you need to know about it.
Table of Contents
How Is Network Penetration Testing Different From Regular Penetration Testing?
Network penetration testing is different from regular penetration testing because it specifically targets networks and systems rather than individual devices while trying to gain access to the computer network system.
In general terms, there are two types of tests: black box (blind) and white-hat hacker’s attacks which are very similar in concept but differ greatly in execution due to differences between them such as black box testers have no access whatsoever to your environment while white hats will typically be given credentials for some level of access – typically only administrator privileges on servers that they need to test against. The goal of every pentest team should always be finding vulnerabilities before someone else does!
Why Is Network Penetration Testing Important?
Network penetration testing is an important part of your security plan because it can help in the identification of loopholes or vulnerabilities before any potential data breach. By doing so, you can help protect your organization from any potential attacks from hackers. Additionally, network penetration testing can also help you assess your risk posture and understand the potential impact of a cyberattack.
What Are The Common Types Of Network Penetration Tests?
There are several different types of network penetration tests available: internal audits, external assessments, and web application security scanning (WAS). Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, Internal Audits provide a complete picture but only focus on your organization; External Assessments are more comprehensive than Internal Audits because they look at other companies too! WAS Scans give an overview of what might be happening with third-party code that could potentially expose sensitive information about customers or employees – which means there’s no way for you to know beforehand exactly where all the risks lie without running these tests.
What Are The Basic Features Of Network Penetration Testing?
There are several basic features that are included in most network penetration tests:
- Identification of systems and services on the network
- Enumeration of users and groups
- Identification of open ports and services
- Scanning for vulnerable applications
- Exploitation of known vulnerabilities
- Report writing
- Recommendations on how to fix the problems found during testing.
Steps For Network Penetration Testing
Step 1 –
The first step is to identify all assets (including computers and networks) that could be compromised if an attacker were wanting to gain access.
Step 2 –
Next, enumerate users on the system with their roles so they can be properly assessed during testing. This may include administrators or other high-level personnel who might have more privileges than others such as being able to create new accounts for themselves without needing approval from anyone else! It also includes regular employees who may not know much about security but could still pose a risk because of their access level within your organization’s network – for example by having administrative rights over servers which would enable them to install malware onto these machines remotely from home or elsewhere outside of work hours when there aren’t any employees around anymore.
Step 3 –
Once all assets have been identified and their roles enumerated, you should then create a list of vulnerabilities that could exist for each asset type (e.g., servers, etc). This includes software packages such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Acrobat Reader which may not be up-to-date with security patches from the manufacturer – making it easier for hackers to exploit known flaws within these applications in order to gain access over time if left unchecked!
Step 4 –
Finally, run an external assessment on your organization’s network to identify potential security threats outside its boundaries; this will allow you to get more detailed information about what kinds of things are happening externally without having access inside where they might be occurring internally too (e.g., servers, etc). You may also want to consider running an internal audit if possible since this will give you a clearer picture of what potential risks exist within your organization’s network boundaries as well!
Step 5 –
The last step is to run some basic penetration tests or a software penetration test on any systems or networks identified by the external assessment that could pose a risk for your company – such as servers hosting sensitive information like credit card numbers (e.g., web applications), databases containing customer data (e.g., databases), etc.) If you don’t have access inside these systems/networks then consider doing some basic testing externally instead – this will allow us to identify potential vulnerabilities without needing any credentials from within them first!
Step 6 –
It is also recommended that after completing all of these steps, an internal audit be performed on your organization’s network to ensure there are no other security threats lurking undetected – such as outdated software packages or misconfigured firewalls which could leave it open for easy exploitation by hackers looking at exploiting known flaws within those applications in order gain access over time if left unchecked! This type of test may involve running multiple scans against different assets across your company; however, they should only ever be performed by authorized individuals who have been properly trained in how to use these tools and understand the potential risks involved!
Tools For Network Penetration Testing
- Astra’s Pentest: Astra’s Pentest is another scanning tool with a focus on web applications and IT networks; it has features like vulnerability detection and reporting that make for an easy-to-use interface when dealing with large amounts of data. The company and its pentesting services also provide more test cases for applications while doling out a very comprehensive, detailed vulnerability report. The tools also provide an enhanced vulnerability section so that the issue can be sorted based on the security requirements of each organization.
- Nmap: Nmap is a tool for network mapping and port scanning that can be used to discover hosts on networks as well as what services they offer. It also has a scripting language that allows users to create their own scripts so they do not have repetitive tasks manually done every time they run nmap – this makes it easier than ever before!
- Metasploit Framework: Metasploit is an open-source framework written in Ruby (which means anyone can contribute code) that helps you with penetration testing by providing tools like exploit development kits or payload generators which will make developing exploits much faster, simpler, and more reliable; the goal of metasploitable being “to provide information security professionals with a platform where they can learn about different types of attacks and how to defend against them” (Metasploit’s).
- Wireshark: Wireshark is a packet analyzer which means it allows users to see what data packets are being sent between computers on the network as well any other information about those packets such as source address destination port number etc. It also has filters so you can filter out certain types of sources from showing up in your results if need be! The tool does not require installation since all necessary files come packaged with the program itself, making this portable for use at home too!
- Nessus: Nessus is an automated vulnerability scanner that looks for known issues within systems by running through lists of known vulnerabilities and trying to exploit them. It also provides detailed reports on the findings which can help organizations remediate any issues that are discovered – making this a great tool for improving security posture over time!
- Netsparker: Netsparker is another scanner that focuses more specifically on web applications than Nessus does but still has many of the same features as that product such as reporting capabilities and vulnerability detection. This tool will also find any issues with cross-site scripting attacks (XSS) or other types for those who are looking out for these specific vulnerabilities in their networks!
- Nikto: Nikto is an open-source server information gathering tool that can be used to look up details about servers from a remote location – this includes things like what software they have installed, how old it might be since the last update time etcetera — making this very beneficial when trying figure out potential security holes within company’s infrastructure! It will also check if there are known vulnerabilities in any software packages running on your machine as well which may help you patch up some holes before hackers find them!
There are many other tools that could be mentioned when it comes to Network Penetration Testing, but the ones listed above should give you an idea of some of the more commonly used utilities. It is important to keep in mind that while these can be great resources and aides, they should not be your only line of defense – having a strong security posture starts with having well-configured systems as well as properly trained personnel! And always remember, if in doubt – ASK! There are plenty of people within the information security community who are more than happy to help out those who are looking to learn.
Finally, because network penetration testing is essential in your security plan, by identifying and addressing vulnerabilities, you can help protect your organization from potential attacks. Additionally, network penetration testing can also help you assess your risk posture and understand the potential impact of a cyberattack. The above mentioned are just a few examples of some of the most popular network penetration testing tools available today; however, there are many more out there so do your research before selecting the ones that will work best for you and your organization’s specific needs.