What is a penetration testing report?
We’ve all heard the saying that goes, “a system is only as strong as its weakest links.” This is not far from the truth since penetration testing, or penetration testing, is the process of hacking a system in order to identify its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. After the test, the penetration tester develops a report of their findings that is presented to the C-suite of the business. The C-suite must analyze the report and ensure that the recommendations are implemented accordingly.
How is a penetration test conducted?
Before we get into the business impact of a penetration test report, it is important to understand how the penetration test is conducted. Since we already know that a penetration test seeks to identify vulnerabilities in a system, the vulnerabilities are identified by scanning the information system using various penetration testing tools. Nmap is a good example of the tools used to scan a network. A Nmap scan provides the penetration tester with the system’s vulnerabilities, which could be exploited by malicious hackers. A system’s vulnerabilities can include SQL injection, buffer overflow, input validation,etc. The penetration tester may decide to exploit any of these vulnerabilities and infect the user with malware.
A trojan horse is a good example of malware used by attackers. A trojan is a type of malicious code or software that looks legitimate but can take control of your computer. Once in the system, the ethical hacker uses the trojan to propagate an attack. These attacks include DoS, where the user is denied access to essential services or resources in a network or DDoS attack where the penetration tester sends multiple requests to a system’s website, with the aim of exceeding its request limit hence hindering the functionality of the website. These are just but a few examples of attacks that could be launched successfully by the ethical hackers once in the system.
How Does a Pentesting Report Impact a Business?
The report obtained from the penetration test aids a business in many ways. These include:
- Identifying vulnerabilities: a penetration test will identify areas where the system is vulnerable to attacks and provides remediations for each.
- Show real risks: after identifying vulnerabilities, penetration testers will hack into the system and show the business the risks it faces in the event of a malicious attack.
- Shows the systems defense capabilities: the defense of a system is measured by how hard or how much time it takes for an attacker to hack into it. Penetration testers will measure the defense capability of the system and provide ways to improve it.
- Business continuity: a penetration test provides the business with a business impact analysis report. This shows the extent to which an attack will impact the business. This report helps in formulating a business continuity plan. A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that outlines how the business will maintain its operations after an attack or disruption.
These are just but a few examples of how penetration testing impacts a business. Above all, businesses must conduct penetration testing on their systems as per regulations and certifications. An example is the ISO/IEC 27001 standard or the PCI regulations, which stipulate that businesses have to conduct these tests with a certified penetration tester regularly.
How to Become a Certified Security Analyst
Once you become a Certified Ethical Hacker, obtaining the EC-Council Certified Security Analyst (ECSA) certification will take your penetration testing skills to the next level. Unlike most other pen-testing programs that only follow a generic kill chain methodology, the ECSA presents a set of distinguishable comprehensive methodologies that can cover different penetration testing requirements across different verticals.With this knowledge, you can bring peace of mind to an organization knowing their network is more secure from today’s biggest and toughest cybercriminals.