A penetration test is a simulated attack against an organization in which ethical hackers use many of the same tools, techniques, and procedures as a real attacker would use. By simulating attacks by real-world threats, pen testers can identify vulnerabilities in an organization’s systems and evaluate the effectiveness of security solutions and incident responders. The results of the assessment can then be used to improve enterprise cybersecurity by patching vulnerabilities, closing security gaps, and improving incident response processes.
Penetration testing is designed to simulate a real-world threat to an organization. By doing so, it provides multiple benefits, including:
Process Evaluation: A penetration test provides the opportunity to test incident response processes in a realistic but no-risk environment. This makes it possible to evaluate how well existing processes are working and make improvements before they are tested during a real attack.
Penetration testing and vulnerability scanning are both intended to identify vulnerabilities and other security issues. However, they differ significantly in terms of technique and the types of issues that they can detect.
Unlike a penetration test, vulnerability scanning is performed wholly using automated tools. These tools contain databases of signatures of known attacks such as CVEs and vulnerabilities included in the OWASP Top Ten list. The tool assesses whether the target systems may contain these vulnerabilities and generate an automated report describing all discovered vulnerabilities and their severity.
Penetration testing provides deeper insight into an organization’s vulnerabilities than a vulnerability scan. While vulnerability scanning identifies security issues in an organization’s attack surface, penetration testing involves exploiting and combining these vulnerabilities to gain deeper access.
Vulnerability scanning is often part of a penetration test, identifying low-hanging fruit and potential places where a pentester can start their assessment. However, a pentest goes deeper, which provides a better understanding of the impact of various vulnerabilities and helps to eliminate false positive detections.
Penetration tests can be performed in many different ways using various tools and techniques to assess the security of certain systems. However, all pen tests can be generally divided up into three main categories:
A penetration test is a realistic simulation of a real-world attack against an organization. This process includes the following steps:
In addition to providing industry-leading security solutions, Check Point also offers penetration testing services. Based on deep experience tracking cyber threats and developing solutions, Check Point’s Cybersecurity Resilience Testing (CRT) helps to evaluate the effectiveness of your organization’s defenses against modern cyber threats and address identified vulnerabilities based on cybersecurity best practices.