External Penetration Testing: All You Need To Know
So, what exactly is external penetration testing? Well, the best way to describe it is as a “hack” of your system from the outside. Crazy right?
You might be thinking, how can somebody hack into my site or product if I’m not even on it and nobody else should know about it? It might be a tad bit overwhelming but we’re here to help! This post encompasses everything you need to know about conducting an external penetration test. Knowing all this, you can find those vulnerabilities before they become an issue for you.
What is External Penetration Testing?
External penetration testing allows an individual or company to find any security gaps that may be present in your web application before other people stumble upon them and cause problems. Your goal as a business owner or developer should always be towards 100% full protection.
A penetration test is a method for evaluating the security of a web application by simulating real-world attacks. This allows you to find out your vulnerabilities and fix them before attackers do it first!
External vs Internal Penetration Testing
First off, external tests involve outside hackers who have no knowledge of how your system works. On the other hand, internal testers will likely know everything about it already thanks to being part of your team or having access from day one.
Another difference is that the time testers take to complete external tests usually ranges from a couple of days up to two weeks. Meanwhile, internal ones can go on for months at a time depending on how big they are.
External tests also don’t require any kind of special approval like external ones do. That’s because external testers will hack your system from the outside and report back to you with their findings.
External Penetration Testing Process
First off, pre-engagement is when the testers start getting everything set up; this includes setting clear expectations with your team(s) about what exactly will happen during the process.
This is where you can let the testers know what you expect from your external pen test. This also gives you the chance to go over any concerns or questions that may come up before moving forward!
2. Scope Defining or Reconnaissance:
Next is scope defining or reconnaissance where the testers find out all there is about your application/website using publicly available information (or sometimes not so public).
This is usually where they’ll look into your company’s external footprint. This can include things like what IP addresses you own, who the target audience might be, and any other information that will come in handy!
Then comes exploitation. This involves whatever it takes to get into your systems. These attacks depend entirely on the vulnerabilities found during the first two stages.
Here’s when we start using external penetration testing methods to check if there are any weaknesses. This will involve manual and automated pentesting using vulnerability scanners to scan the external network, and try things like default or weak passwords on external resources, and anything else that might give hackers access to your network!
4. Reporting & Remediation:
Once that’s done, we’ll move on to reporting & remediation. This is where you learn about your external security gaps and how to fix them before they’re found by external attackers too!
These two steps go hand in hand (and usually come after exploitation). After external penetration testers have gone through and found any vulnerabilities that exist, they’ll give you a report on what they’ve done. The next step is to fix them so we can go back in and see if it’s good!
5. Re-Scan & Certification:
After all this analysis is complete, clients are often provided with a report detailing what was tested along with their external security gaps as well as ways for improvement moving forward if needed.
Finally, re-scanning & certification means coming back after some time has passed with an updated version of our software/application scanner. External penetration testers need to go back in and re-scan your systems after you’ve had a chance to fix any vulnerabilities.
If everything is good, we’ll give the green light that they’re ready for another external pen test or vulnerability assessment!
If you’ve never heard of external penetration testing, it is the act of scanning your company’s network to identify vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. External Penetration Testing can be a great way for organizations to assess their vulnerability from an outsider’s perspective, which will help them identify weaknesses in their system before they are exploited by someone who doesn’t have benevolent intentions.
If you’re concerned about your data security, don’t forget to conduct external penetration tests as well as internal ones! It will be worth it in order to make sure that no one can access personal information on your network without permission.