How Penetration Testing Jobs Will Be Affected by Automation

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The increasing impact of automation on our day-to-day life is noticeable everywhere. It has dramatically influenced the field of cybersecurity and changed the way ethical hacking, penetration testing, and other domains of cybersecurity function. When it comes to penetration testing, automated methodologies have improved and made the results way more accurate. A common fear is that automation will take away penetration testing jobs. But it is not true.

“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” – Bill Gates


Automation comes with many advantages. In general terms, this innovation has changed the way a workplace functions [1]. When it comes to cybersecurity, it will surely change multiple status quos. Let’s examine why you need automation penetration testing, its advantages and disadvantages, and how you can learn automation.

Need for Automation in Penetration Testing Jobs 

Automation penetration testing plays a crucial role in the toolkit of a security professional. It allows penetration testers to detect vulnerabilities in your business environment by performing consistent scans that automatically detect security gaps in your most unprotected systems.

The IT industry is one of the top consumers of the automation competition. There are several products on the market that wholly or partly automate certain tasks with high accuracy. The major motivation to automate security tasks is to prevent human errors, shorter response times, and cost-effectiveness.

An example is the automated pentesting software. Automation will transform the security industry. The shortage of talents has compelled most organizations to automate their security needs, and the cost-effectiveness of these products makes them attractive.

Another reason for automation in penetration testing is the risks of a severe breach based on enhanced network connectivity and dependence on data confidentiality and accessibility. These days, the attack needs to be detected within seconds to prevent severe consequences. Automation for penetration tester will be like an assistant with foresight to detect what the human mind may ignore.

So, there is no chance that penetration testing jobs will become redundant once automation is introduced. Even though automation simplifies work, human involvement is still essential for peculiar cases that do not suit the automation structure.

 Advantages of Automated Penetration Testing

So, what are the benefits of automation in penetration testing?

 High-quality security checks

One of the advantages of using automated pentesting processes is guaranteeing high-quality security checks devoid of human errors. Add to this, and it will also arrange the findings to help priorities your security challenges. The penetration tester can focus on more advanced issues with the power of automation.

Fast response time

Automated penetration testing is faster than manual penetration testing, which increases the speed of detecting new security loopholes and fixing them. Now, there is no need to wait for days or weeks for a human to draft penetration testing reports. These automated tools perform regular scans and deliver reports almost instantaneously.

One of the limitations of manual scans is that the security professional need to spend long periods drafting reports. The downside is that, during this timeframe, the security environment has undergone changes several times since the last test. Due to this, some new misconfigurations and loopholes come up that weren’t there when the manual pen test was conducted initially.

Automated pentation testing tools conduct vulnerability scans daily, or sometimes twice a day. Thus, you can test your environment and identify possible vulnerabilities and misconfigurations quickly.

Simple, flawless, and more effective

Automated penetration testing tools make security tests simpler. The pentester gets with minor errors, and results are more effective. They focus on real security impacts and real-world attacks. The issues detected are described in a language that even non-technical readers can understand without eliminating the technical aspect needed by the IT team.

Implements different entry points

Unlike manual penetration testing jobs, where the tester is given a specific entry point to penetrate, automated penetration testing tools exploit series of entry points to run the same pen test to uncover vulnerabilities and security gaps [2]. Although a human can still run series of pentests through different entry points, further penetration tests would require a considerable budget.

Compliance Standards

Your organization can meet specific compliance standards frameworks like PCI DSS through automated vulnerability assessments [3]. These tools also make it easier for your organization to concentrate widely on the necessary penetration testing requirements.

Disadvantages of Automated Penetration Testing

Even with their stellar advantages, automated penetration testing tools aren’t without their disadvantages. For one, automated penetration testing tools don’t recognize web application platforms. They may acknowledge something like a web server at the services/ports point. However, they can’t recognize that you hold an IDOR vulnerability in your internal SSRF or API in an internal web page that the tester can apply to pivot further.

The current web stack is complicated due to this reason. Even specialist scanners, such as web application scanners, find it difficult to detect vulnerabilities that aren’t low-hanging fruit (e.g., SQLi or XSS).

Will Automation Take Away Penetration Testing Jobs?

All signs indicate the fact that automation will not take away penetration testing jobs. Any domain that has adapted automation has an increased employment rate with new skills replacing the old ones. It will, in fact, reduce the divide between the vacancies and empty positions. As the penetration testing market adopts automation, we will see certain changes like:

  1. Ease of learning penetration testing, which right now is only limited to a certain section of professionals.
  2. Ease of understanding penetration testing process and non-IT employees, senior management, and students able to figure out the process for better results.
  3. The Development of new penetration testing tools will again require a new breed of the workforce.
  4. Better resilience against cyberattacks with chances of predicting one in advance.
  5. Effective counter against phishing, spoofing, sniffing, etc., which will make the employees more cyber aware.

This is the best time to learn penetration testing certification. As an aspiring professional, you would find new horizons to develop your skills and find quick placement.

Learn Automated Pentesting with CPENT

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 testing. The community of the CPENT certifications targets actual job-focused competencies rather than taking an all-purpose approach to IT Security. This is why CPENT gives you a detailed advanced practice in labs.

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What is automated penetration testing?
Automated penetration testing allows you to remove threats to your business by performing regular vulnerability scans that automatically detect security gaps in your most unprotected systems.
What tools are used for penetration testing?

There are different tools used for penetration testing. some of the essential penetration testing tools are:

  • Nessus
  • Powershell-Suite
  • Metasploit
  • Wireshark
  • Zmap
  • Burp Suite
  • Xray
  • Hashcat
  • Netsparker
  • John the Ripper
  • Hydra
  • BeEF
  • SimplyEmail
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