Pentesting is a popular jargon in the world of cybersecurity. And if you don’t have a proper technical background, it might be a little confusing. However, it’s important to properly understand all about pentests and their importance. This article covers some of the most common questions concerning pentesting. It will surely help clear the doubts lingering in your mind.
1. What is a pentest?
A pentest or penetration test is a popular security practice that helps you identify and probe into all the vulnerabilities on a system. Testers do this by subjecting it to simulated cyber attacks.
Penetration tests also assess how much damage can result from the vulnerabilities found on the system. After the test, a report containing all this information and suggestions on how to fix the vulnerabilities will be made available to you.
2. Is a pentest different from a VA scan?
Yes, a pentest is different from a vulnerability assessment scan. A vulnerability assessment scan only enlists all the vulnerabilities on a system. Therefore, you can also get an idea of the potential vulnerabilities but not how they can be exploited. Also, VA scans are less intrusive and are meant to be quick and simple. It is automated and
On the flip side, a pentest has more functionalities. First, it uncovers all the vulnerabilities. Then, the vulnerabilities are exploited. Pentesting also helps understand the severity of the exploitation. It is mostly done manually.
3. When do you need a pentest?
A good rule of thumb is to conduct pentests when your system is not in a state of constant change but before deployment. If you conduct it too early and make changes after, it will render the test useless.
However, always make sure to conduct pentests whenever you make any changes in the system’s infrastructure. You should also conduct pentests if you notice the presence of malware or unauthorized traffic in the system.
4. Who conducts a pentest?
Certified ethical hackers, pentesters, or a penetration testing company conduct pentests. Pentesters usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in CS or engineering, information technology, or cybersecurity. Testers ought to be curious and creative as well. Uncovering vulnerabilities is like solving a hard but interesting puzzle and pentesters are people who have a knack for it.
5. How much does a Pentest cost?
There isn’t a single price that you can quote for penetration testing. It can cost you anywhere between $4,000 to $100,000. The exact price that you will have to pay for a penetration test depends on a few factors like:
- Size and complexity: The bigger the organization is the more you’ll have to pay. Obviously! Also, the number of devices, servers, networks, facilities, etc plays a huge part in deciding the penetration test cost.
- Experience: Pentesters with more experience are likely to charge more than those with less expertise.
- Methodology: There isn’t a perfect model of pentesting that works for every system. Pentesters choose an apt methodology after an initial assessment of your system.
- Remediation: Some pentesting services offer remediation after the pentest. Therefore, such services charge more than others.
6. How long does a Pentest take?
On average, pentesting takes about 1-3 weeks. However, it can range from 2-3 days to even months. The exact duration of a penetration test depends on factors like the size of the application or organization, the experience of the testers, testing restrictions, complexity, etc.
7. What type of methodology is used in a pentest?
The most popular and widely accepted methodology for pentesting is the Open Web Application Security Project or OWASP. OWASP is an online community that provides free resources relating to cybersecurity. These resources include updated pentesting checklists, methodologies, tools, and documentation.
8. How often should you conduct a pentest?
Usually, you need to conduct penetration tests once or twice a year. If you own a small company with a limited budget for pentesting, once in two years would also be fine. However, it also depends on the compliance requirements of your country or industry.
9. What do you gain from conducting penetration tests?
Regular pentests can provide you with a number of advantages, including:
- You can avoid a possible security breach. A penetration test can reveal and probe into any security weaknesses on your system.
- It may be used to evaluate the efficacy of the current web application firewall and other security safeguards.
- Pentesting can help to improve data security.
- Conducting penetration tests increases customer satisfaction and trust.
- It helps with compliance regulations like PCI-DSS or GDPR.
Pentesting is very important to secure your company against cyberattacks. It is therefore vital to fully comprehend what it is and what it will do for you. This post will assist in doing that.