Are you thinking of performing a network penetration test? If this is the case, then you need to understand the necessary steps in pen testing your network system. Discovering the network vulnerability early enough helps you have the upper hand over hackers who may want to exploit any loopholes in your network. You may also want to perform a penetration test to comply with security requirements and regulations. Whichever the reason, it is important always to be ready and pen test savvy. The following guide outlines the best practices when conducting your network penetration test.
Pre-Test Best Practices
Ensure to pay attention to the following practices before you begin your network penetration testing. First, you will want to set the time frame. Your daily business activities should not suffer just because of a penetration exercise. Ensure to plan the test outside the business hours to avoid disruption of network services.
Next you will want to define the scope. You need to be clear about the number of networks, the range of IP addresses, the number of computers on a network system, and the subnets to prevent any confusions. This strategy helps in allowing pentesters to attend to every network segment without causing harm to any other third party nodes.
Should your network security staff know? Sometimes you may use unannounced penetration testing to assess your network security staff alertness. However, such an action can cause problems. The security team can slow down the process, block it, or even cut off the connection to the web if not in the know.
Actual Testing Best Practices
Pentesters have to use the following best practices while performing a network penetration test on your company network systems. You will also be able to ascertain if the penetration expert qualifies and provides services as per the quality standards. Gather more information through customer websites, online information databases, and data mining services, as they provide more information on visible hosts to pen testers.
Perform a network survey. And through this process, pen testers can get vital information about organization’s IP addresses, Server names, open and closed ports, and the OS type running on the systems. Find existing vulnerabilities. Pentesters have to scan the network to determine the weaknesses available. They can use automatic or manual scanning methods for this stage. Combining these two can be very useful and accurate. It is advisable that the pen tester conducts a manual check after the automated scan.
Point out the targets and attempt penetration. Working within the customer’s time-frame is every pen tester’s drive. Therefore, choosing the proper targets from a large pool is necessary to avoid time wastage. Exploiting these targets can be done by standard tools which rates the vulnerabilities according to the severity. Pen testers would, however, customize the means and mode of exploitation in networks with high threat levels.
The Post Penetration Testing
This stage involves the activities that come after the network penetration process. They include report generation and clean-up of the network system. A well generated and written report is essential for assisting in planning risk management. It should be written covering an overview of the entire process with step by step account. Critical vulnerabilities should be given the highest priority, followed by the less dangerous types.
The clean-up process also involves the recording of all the logs and detailed records of all actions performed. To be on the safe side, the customer should have the network security experts double check for any loopholes. The best pen tester would be able to follow this guide and deliver the best results.