Safety of the software applications is a matter of great concern at a time when spammers and hackers are becoming smarter. Unlike in the past when software applications were being used for simple functions, they are being used for many crucial actions today. A good amount of highly confidential data is being transferred to the software applications and if they fall into the hands of unauthorized persons, there would be severe losses. Hence, it is necessary to protect the software applications. Here is the significance of penetrating testing.
What is Penetration Testing
Penetration testing or Pen testing as it is called more commonly is a type of testing of the vulnerabilities of the application which can be exploited by a hacker or a spammer. This is totally different from Vulnerability Testing as the later will identify and report vulnerabilities, whereas Penetration testing will explore vulnerabilities to find whether any malicious activities are possible.
There are different types of penetration testing and they are
- Network Services Test
- Client-side Test
- Web application test
- Remote dial-up war dial
- Wireless security test
- Social engineering test
Penetration Testing Process
Penetration testing process consists of four steps
- Identification of vulnerabilities is done at this stage. Potential areas that are prone to attacks will be identified.
- The list of vulnerabilities and attack prone areas will be ranked depending on the priorities.
- Plan the penetration testing that works from within the network and outside to see whether the application can be accessed unauthorisedly.
- If unauthorized access is possible, the entire system should be rectified. You need to run a series of repeated tests until the problem is solved.
Penetration Testing Tools
- Metasploit: - It is one of the most advanced penetration testing tools that can be used for web applications, servers and networks. Although it is a commercial product, unlimited free trials are available.
- Wireshark: - This is a protocol analyzer and a free version is available.
- W3af: - This is basically a web application audit framework and all versions are totally free.
- CORE Impact: - This is an expensive tool and generally used to identify mobile devices, networks and network device penetrations.
- Backtrack: - This is considered the best tool for packet sniffing and injecting but it works only on Linux. Free version is also available.
- Netsparker: - It has a web application scanner that can identify the vulnerabilities and suggests solutions. It is a commercial product. However, limited free trials are possible.
- Nessus: – It is the strongest penetration testing tool and it works in almost all environments. It is a scanner in real time and can make compliance checks, sensitive data searches etc.
- Burp Suite: - This is also a scanner and according to many penetration testing experts, testing cannot be completed without Burp Suite. This is a commercial product and cheap.
- Cain & Abel: – It is the right tool for cracking passwords and network keys. This is a free tool but exclusively for Microsoft Operating systems.
- Zed Attack Proxy (ZAP): – It works on almost all platforms and is a free tool.