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5 Common Mistakes Made by Inexperienced Penetration Testers

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Penetration testing is today a standard industry term. Everyone knows that this methodology will determine safety issues or security flaws in their internal systems. But while we are familiar with this word, not much can be said about the knowledge of the procedure. Poor quality penetration testing tools, incomplete data, and missing details from reports are just a few issues that may arise when penetration testing is done without senior management or someone responsible knowing what it is.

Many businesses hire inexperienced or new penetration testers with incomplete knowledge so that they can save money. It can lead to significant damages. This blog will cover some of the common mistakes that happen in these scenarios.

What Is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing is the exercise aimed at finding the weaknesses hidden in cybersecurity measures. These flaws should be covered before a cybercriminal learns about them and exploit them for their advantage.

While it is a well-known fact that pentesting is the ultimate medium to close security gaps, it is not free of issues. Some businesses believe that it will solve all their cybersecurity problems, but there are limitations to penetration testing. Incomplete knowledge from both parties can be harmful in many ways. Relying solely on the pentester is certainly not a good idea. Many of these mistakes are committed by penetration testers, and the reasons can be many. Being aware of these common mistakes will help you address any problems you may face when conducting a pentest.

Common Penetration Mistakes

It is never a wise idea to hire an inexperienced penetration tester. Before bringing a professional on board, you should always do some basic research. Knowing some basic details like the following will help you make an informed decision:

  • The time spent by a professional as a pentester.
  • Feedback and testimonials from other clients.
  • Degree earned for the qualification.
  • Different types of pentesting
  • The reputation of the institute/college from where they have earned their degree.

A penetration tester with incomplete knowledge will create more damage than helping. Here are some of the common penetration testing mistakes that you should know about:

<h3> Applying inadequate tools </h3>  

Several burp suites are available for penetration testing. However, you need a certain level of expertise to know which tools to use and how to use them. Otherwise, your penetration testing method would be substandard, and you’ll only put the client at more risk. Experts recommend multiple tools because one tool may be inadequate for your pen-testing objective.

Even if you obtain commercial software for penetration test, it might do more harm than good if it hinders the internal IT team’s activities. While organizations can hire third-party vendors instead of obtaining commercial testing tools, it will still be temporary.

Not using proper authentications 

One of the most unpopular and unethical penetration testing methods is to break into a system or a network without prior authorization. An example can be when an inexperienced pentester diverts from the original objective and starts testing other vulnerabilities that they are not authorized for at that moment. This situation can lead to work coming to a halt. Often, inexperienced penetration testers fail to provide the list of areas they’ll be testing during a particular cycle which should not happen. An issue like this will shut down the internal operations and cause significant damages.

Failure to prioritize risks

A pentester must prioritize risks. You need to know the areas that will suffer from the most damages during a cyberattack. It will also help in finding the gaps that will lead to bigger breaches. Using this analysis, you can develop focused security strategies around aspects where a malicious hacker could benefit the most.

Most modern penetration testing professionals use the power of automation to save time. But this will be of little help if they don’t prioritize the risks.

 Using outdated tools 

Cyber attacks are common and unpredictable. New penetration testing methods keep you updated to face these new challenges. Cybercriminals are using sophisticated tools and techniques to cripple your networks. So, you too need to stay up-to-date with industry trends and the latest tools in the market.

Many penetration testers continue to use old tools even after the version updates or goes out of practice. They prefer this because either they are comfortable using it or they intend to save money. Outdated tools may not be able to detect some vulnerabilities, and as a business leader, you should avoid professionals who don’t have the latest versions in their arsenal.

 Results can be misleading 

The results from your penetration test can be misleading if you don’t use realistic test conditions. It is observed that certain organizations with strong cybersecurity measures also become victims of cyberattacks because they rely on the results a little too much. A real cyberattack is launched in creative ways and without warning. You should also consider the risks of phishing and human errors. Such penetration testing risks can be avoided if you, as a business leader, hire cybersecurity staff who themselves know about the crucial constituents of penetration testing reports.

Penetration Testing Is for Everyone 

Yes, penetration testing courses can only be mastered by an experienced, ethical hacker or a professional who has worked in the same field. But that doesn’t mean that it is limited to the said professionals.

Penetration testing, or at least the basic understanding of penetration testing tools and techniques, is for everyone. Whether it is the senior management member of the company or the IT team, everyone should know about it. You can start with the basics, and it catches your interest, go for a penetration testing certification course.

You can also start learning basics with these expert-led webinars:

Why A Pentesting Report Is Extremely Important

Penetration Testing: Zero To Hero

Intelligence Led Penetration Testing

You can attend these and many different webinars on different aspects of cybersecurity and elevate your knowledge base.

 Master Penetration Testing with EC-Council’s Certified Penetration Testing Professional 

The CPENT or Certified Penetration Testing Professional is a unique certification program that allows candidates to attain two certifications with just one exam. It is a flexible exam that is proctored in different parts of the world and tests your general knowledge of penetration tests. What makes CPENT a versatile penetration testing certification is that it targets real job-focused competencies rather than taking an all-purpose approach to IT Security. CPENT gives you a detailed advanced practice in labs to avoid penetration testing risks while on the job.


Is pentesting legal?
Yes, it can be legal depending on whether you have authorized access to use the computer systems for your penetration testing exercise. Nevertheless, some states in the U.S. still consider it is hacking even while the process takes place with the mutual consent of the penetration tester and the client.
Are penetration testers in demand?
The simple answer is a resounding yes. Automation is now part of human life and as technology evolves, the demand for penetration testers will also increase. Every industry is utilizing technology to simplify tasks, which means there would be vast scope for cyber-attacks.
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