A penetration test (also known as pentest) may sound scary, but it’s really just a test of your security systems to identify weaknesses and vulnerabilities before the bad guys do. As with many things in life, you want to do this as effectively as possible and as safely as possible, especially if you’re considering hiring someone else to do it on your behalf. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the best way to carry out penetration testing like a pro and give you the information needed to make an informed decision about how you want to test the security of your network.
1) Know your tools
There are many tools available for use in your next pentesting project. Here are five different tools you can use for each of the phases of pentesting: reconnaissance, scanning, exploitation and post-exploitation. One of the most well-known tools is Metasploit, which is often used during exploitation because it provides over 300 exploits.
2) Understand your goals
Penetration testing is the process of analyzing the security of your system by making attempts to break into it. There are multiple techniques for conducting this type of assessment, including vulnerability scanning, fuzzing, and social engineering. It’s important that you know your goals before beginning any assessment so that you can apply the appropriate technique.
3) Prepare your environment
The most important step in the process is creating your environment. This is often overlooked, but it can be the difference between success and failure. We recommend using Kali Linux or BackTrack as your operating system, because they are designed for that purpose and come with all of the hacking tools you’ll need to get started. The next step is choosing what type of test you want to conduct: network, physical, or web.
4) Perform the tests
In the first level of penetration testing, you should be trying to figure out what is available on the network. You can do this by using tools such as Nmap or Shodan. This will give you an idea of how many targets are available for exploitation. In the second level, you want to go after specific vulnerabilities by using tools such as Metasploit and Wireshark.
5) Analyze the results
The best way to analyze the results of your penetration test is by using the kill chain strategy. This breaks down the process into its five different stages: recon, initial exploitation, lateral movement, maintaining access, and exfiltration. The idea behind this strategy is that an attacker will follow this same process once they’ve infiltrated your system. It helps identify any weak points in your security infrastructure that need addressing before being attacked again.