cyber security

4 Popular Misconceptions About Penetration Testing – Bent and Broken!

Penetration testers are often asked questions like, “Is penetration testing enough to secure my personal and sensitive data?” when, in fact, penetration testing is a part of a full risk assessment that involves analyzing one’s own systems for vulnerabilities before cyber-criminals do and exploiting them to fully comprehend the extent of damage a breach could cause to an organization. With the help of a penetration testing report, the organization has a chance to increase their security before malicious attackers destroy critical data or expose sensitive data in the market.

Here are some other popular misconceptions about penetration testing that must be dispelled immediately:

1. “Pen Testing Is Only for Large Companies”

According to the Data Breach Investigation Report by Verizon, over 60% of breaches hit smaller businesses, while according to UPS Capital, a mere 10% of all small businesses provide protection to customer and business personal data, resulting in a loss of approximately $84,000—$148,000.

Penetration testing can help your business remain secure from malware attacks like Trojans, ransomware, and phishing attacks, most of which aim to destroy or gain personally identifiable information (PII) or financial benefits.

2. “Pen Testers Have Little-to-No Knowledge About the Systems They Are Targeting”

There are three types of penetration testing, of which one of them provides the penetration tester with no knowledge about the system they are targeting, other than the information that is already freely available to the public. This type of penetration testing is known as black-box testing.

The other two types of testing are:

  • White Box Testing: The penetration tester uses knowledge about programming code to examine the outputs after having full visibility of what the targeted program is supposed to do.
  • Gray Box Testing: The penetration tester has knowledge limited to how the system components function and interact but will not have a comprehensive understanding about the internal program.

3. “Pen-Testing Only Concentrates on Technical Aspects and Not Physical Security”

Traditional penetration testing tests your network, applications devices, and physical security to stimulate a real-world attack by a malicious cyber-criminal, to identify the areas where your security posture can be improved.

There are various types of penetration tests that are conducted like:

  • Network Penetration Testing: Identifies network and system vulnerabilities like wireless network vulnerabilities, weak passwords and default accounts, and system misconfigurations.
  • Application Penetration Testing: Identifies cross site scripting (XSS), SQL injection vulnerabilities, and flaws in the HTML code.
  • Physical Penetration Testing: Identifies weaknesses in the physical security such as locks, cameras, and sensors.

4. “Only Third-Party Vendors Conduct Pen-Tests”

Penetration tests can be conducted by full-time employees, employees on a contractual basis, or third-party vendors, as long as your company is getting the protection they need.

Should you opt to hire a third-party vendor to do your penetration testing, it is advised that a thorough background check on the third-party vendor is conducted and that the test is conducted on a contractual basis, to ensure that exploited data is not misused.

When done right, penetration testing can be help organizations remain secure, in fact, in this modern age, it is quite imperative for organizations, regardless of what industry they cater to or how large or small scale they are.

Learn More About Penetration Testing

EC-Council University, through its online degree programs, trains candidates on ethical hacking and penetration testing. Through the degree programs (Bachelors and Masters), you will have the chance to attain the coveted Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH) credential, while in the Master of Science in Cyber Security – Specializing in Security Analysis, you will also have the opportunity to challenge the most advanced penetration test – the Licensed Penetration Tester (L|PT) Master.