In this article I will not go into detail, at a technical level, on how to carry out attacks. We will explain why Website Penetration Testing (Pentesting) is a vital part of any effective security strategy and its importance.
To do this, we must first understand that in technology, the speed of change is an existing element that we must always keep in mind. What was a standard yesterday may be obsolete today. This is one of the paradigms on which security must be based. Because for a security strategy to be effective, technology, people and processes must be tested regularly to identify weaknesses in any of these areas. And one of the best ways to do this test is through simulated attacks that force us to build a series of protocols and a simulation of action that, in case of a real attack, we know how to act.
Due to the changing nature of technology, unlike security audits, pentesting should not be a one-off process for checking and detecting vulnerabilities, but rather a service that is always working, at all times. If we are exposed to attacks 24/7, we must protect ourselves 24/7. To do this, your system must be designed with support for Pentesting from the design phase.
According to the well-known Hacker Chema Alonso, an adequate security strategy requires that pentesters have the opportunity to apply themselves 100% at all times: “If your internal pentesting equipment cannot do a D.O.S. test when it wants to test the system, or cannot hit a website hard because the service may stop working, then you are lost”.
What exactly is Pentesting?
It is the cybersecurity technique that consists of attacking computer environments with a mission: to discover and exploit vulnerabilities with the aim of documenting the attack and collecting security information, so that system administrators can mitigate the breakdown of the system and serve as a means of preventing future attacks that could be carried out.
Pentesting is often confused with security audits or a vulnerability scan. However, one of the biggest differences is that pentesting does not stop at discovering vulnerabilities. It goes on to exploit these vulnerabilities in order to test and target simulated attacks that can come from the real world against the security of the company and the assets of an IT organization, whether digital or physical.
Just as there are many forms of attack, there are also many “pentests” that can be performed to test different security hotspots. But to summarize, the pentest must be designed to answer one question: “How effective is this security control against hackers and highly qualified cyber-attackers? Each organization, depending on its assets and security level, will need one type of pentest or another. A corporation that handles critical funds and personal data is not the same as an SaaS for exchanging crypto-currencies or an eCommerce that houses more general personal information.
How does Pentesting work?
Pentesters, as they are called, use software and manual methods to make a first recognition. They collect business information from the hacker’s perspective. They then identify vulnerable entry points and finally break into the system and report how they did it.
It is erroneously thought that the attacks are based on highly sophisticated NSA attacks, but there is a lot more to it than that. Most tend to exploit ignorance or, in the words of many hackers, “human stupidity.
One of the most common is through phishing, you know, the typical email that spoofs an address and seeks to get your user name and password or, that you install something on your system. A very simple example used by some hackers is to send a Word file with a macro (which is really malware). When you open it, the yellow bar for enabling Macros will appear. If you accept it, you have it inside. Or, without going any further, your mail will appear in a list of containers that were spammed and, because some of the pages / forums / services in which you registered with a new user, have poor password protection, they manage to get in and… magic. They have your user and password. Nothing else should happen, right? In principle no, but hackers, like me, know that you have 2 or 3 different passwords (at most). So by hacking an account, they can access a few…
Although, of course, there are complex forms that require a great deal of knowledge to be able to not only defend themselves, but also prevent. Therefore, a Pentester requires a wide knowledge of multiple technologies and operating systems.
The importance of Pentesting
As we have already said throughout the article, Pentesting is absolutely necessary. We believe that being the object of a hacker’s attack is something totally premeditated, or that it must be orchestrated by a group of assailants looking for something specific. But without going any further, most of the time it is something totally random. If you’re hacked, don’t feel special, you’re just a number.
As Penteting is a very important element within any organization and, it requires a technical level and a wide knowledge, we believe that we should promote this area. That’s why I bring you a free introductory course.