Penetration Testing Tutorial: What is PenTest?

Penetration Testing

Penetration testing, often known as pen testing, is a sort of security testing which is used to find flaws, hazards, and dangers that an intruder may abuse in software applications, networks, or online applications. The goal of penetration testing is to find and evaluate all potential security flaws in a software program. Pen Test is another name for penetration testing.

The chance that an intruder would damage or obtain unauthorized access to a network or any data held inside it is referred to as vulnerability. Vulnerabilities are typically found by chance during the software planning and implementation phases. Common threats include design flaws, setup flaws, software issues, and so forth. Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing are the two techniques that Penetration Analysis is based on (VAPT).

Why is Penetration Testing Necessary?

Penetration is critical in business as -

  • Financial institutions such as banks, investment banks, and stock exchanges require their information to be safe, and penetration testing is critical to ensuring safety.

  • The software system has previously been attacked and the business needs to know if any dangers are still there in the system to prevent further intrusions.

  • The greatest weapon for cybercriminals is proactive penetration testing.

Penetration Testing Varieties

The sort of penetration test used is typically determined by the extent of the assessment and whether the business wants to replicate an intrusion by a worker, a network administrator (internal sources), or an external factor. Penetration testing is classified into three types −

  • Black Box Testing

  • White Box Penetration testing

  • Grey Box Penetration Testing

In black-box penetration testing, the analyst has really no understanding of the process being examined. He is in charge of gathering data on the chosen network or system.

In white-box penetration testing, the test conductor is frequently given comprehensive knowledge about the network or systems to be evaluated, like the IP address schema, source code, OS specifics, and so on. This may be viewed as a prototype of a cyber attack by any domestic factor (Employees of an Organization).

In grey box penetration testing, a test conductor is given just a limited understanding of the system. It is an intrusion by an outsider who has gotten illegal entry to a company's network infrastructure documentation.

How to Carry Out Penetration Testing?

The following tasks must be carried out in order to carry out a Penetration Test-

Step-1- Preparation Phase

  • The assignment's range and approach are decided.

  • For establishing the range, current security rules and norms are employed.

Step- 2- Discovery Phase

  • Obtain as much data about the system as possible, particularly data in the system, users, and passwords. This is referred to as “Fingerprinting”.

  • Inspect the ports and investigate them

  • Examine the system for flaws.

Step-3- Attack Phase

  • Discover fixes for a variety of weaknesses. To take advantage of the system, you must have the proper security permissions.

Step-4- Reporting Phase

  • Analysis needs to provide specific results.

  • The dangers of discovered dangers and their effect on a company

  • Ideas and possible responses

The primary goal of penetration testing is to collect system data. There are two methods for gathering information -

  • In terms of the host, the 'one to one or 'one to many' frameworks: A tester uses features in a sequential manner against either a single target host or a hierarchical collection of host system (e.g. a subnet).

  • 'Many to one' or 'many to many' model: The tester employs numerous hosts to carry out data collecting procedures in an arbitrary, rate-limited and non-linear manner.

Penetration Testing Tool Examples

Penetration testing employs a number of different tools, the most significant of which are −

  • NMap - This tool is being used to analyze ports, identify operating systems, track routes, and search for vulnerabilities.

  • Nessus - This is a conventional network vulnerability scanner.

  • Pass-The-Hash - this tool is mostly used to break passwords.

Penetration Testers' Key responsibilities

The objective of a penetration tester is to −

  • Testers must obtain the necessary data from the company in order to conduct penetration tests.

  • Look for weaknesses that might allow attackers to compromise a target machine.

  • Pen testers should think and behave professionally like genuine hackers.

  • Penetration testers' work must be repeatable so that developers can easily repair it.

  • The start and end dates of the testing process should be specified ahead of time.

  • A tester must be held accountable for any system or information leakage that occurs during software testing.

  • Data and information should be kept secret by a tester.

  • Data and information should be kept secret by a tester.

Manual Penetration vs. Automated Penetration Testing

The following table highlights the major differences between Manual Penetration Testing and Automated Penetration Testing −

Manual Penetration TestingAutomated Penetration Testing
Manual testing necessitates the use of skilled personnel to carry out the testsWith fewer expert technicians, automated test tools deliver concise findings.
Manual testing necessitates the use of Excel as well as other tools to keep records of it.Tools for automation testing are centralized and consistent.
Sample outcomes in manual testing differ from test to test.The findings of Automated Tests don't really differ from one another.
Consumers must keep in mind to clean up their memoryExtensive cleanups will be performed on Automated Testing.

Drawbacks of Penetration Testing

Penetration testing is not capable of detecting all flaws in a system. Time, money, range, and Penetration Tester abilities are all limited.

When we perform penetration testing, the following adverse reactions can occur −

  • Data corruption and loss

  • Relaxation Period

  • Expenses will rise.


Testers must test the program or system as if they were a genuine intruder, and they should verify to see if the code is properly created. If there really is a proper security policy, a penetration test would be efficient. Penetration testing strategy and procedures must be in order to improve the effectiveness of penetration testing. This is a thorough Penetration Testing beginner's handbook.