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It is impossible to know when a hacker might target your IT system, but it is possible to make an educated guess as to how they might try to gain access. There are only a limited number of ways into a system through the network, and these are the common routes that hackers use regularly. For a company, or even an individual for that matter, who cares about the sensitive information being kept in their IT system, it is imperative that they consider having a penetration test done regularly.
Penetration testing, which is commonly referred to as pen testing, is the act of trying to break into your own IT systems—considered being “white-hat” hacking. That is to say, the act of doing a “pentest” is no different than what a hacker might do to get into your system, but if you or a company that specializes in penetration testing wants the test performed, it is “good” hacking.
The way that a pentest is performed changes from system to system and from user to user, but the result should be very similar. The test person should have found out whether the system in question can or cannot be hacked. Pentesting is usually performed with specialized tools that are based on the Linux platform. Several software frameworks are used to expose vulnerabilities. Some of these include Nmap, Metasploit Project, W3af, and many more. While each of these products behaves differently and uses unique approaches to achieve similar results, they are only as effective as the user understands the risks that these tools discover. It is, therefore, recommended to seek outside help when running severe pen tests.
These tools employ a variety of methods to check for ways into a network or system. This is accomplished by overloading certain aspects of a network while looking for errors that show up. Mistakes offer various possible entry points for hackers, including supplying the hacker with too much usable information about the system and exposing available ports and input streams.
It is also considered to be “offensive security,” which means that instead of waiting around for an attack that will test out your IT department’s security measures, a person or company can actively attempt the break-in themselves to help make decisions about the reliability of the system’s security setup.
The reasons are pretty clear as to why penetration testing should be performed regularly. The need for the offensive approach to security breach defense is critical in systems with valuable or sensitive information stored, such as customer databases, financial records, medical records, a company’s sales reports, legal documentation, etc. Holm Security offers a comprehensive penetration test that leaves customers with settled minds.