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Network Penetration Testing Methodology: What It Is, And How To Do It

In today’s economy every business needs to ensure they’re taking adequate measures for information security and data protection. Network penetration testing helps find holes in your network before malicious attackers do – it isn’t just about preventing attacks; it helps protect sensitive company information from falling into the wrong hands. The best way to prevent breaches is through proactive cyber defense and network penetration testing is one of the most important steps you can take to achieve that. In this blog post we’ll discuss what network penetration testing is, how it’s done, and why it’s important for all businesses to do.

What is Network Penetration Testing?

Network penetration testing is a process that helps identify vulnerabilities, or weak points in your network. This can be anything from a hole in your firewall to an unpatched bug. Network penetration testing methodology includes the use of both automated and manual techniques, as well as tools such as vulnerability scanners and social engineering software.

Why Is Network Penetration Testing Important?

Network penetration testing is important because it helps improve network and data security by identifying vulnerabilities in your network infrastructure. It can help you:

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  • identify if a breach has occurred
  • find out how an attacker got inside the network
  • learn where sensitive information lives so that it can be better protected 

You might think these things are obvious, but without network penetration testing they’re only educated guesses. Network penetration tests provide accurate results about what’s actually happening on your network which means you’ll know exactly where to invest resources for best protection of company assets. By finding holes in your network before malicious attackers do, companies reduce their risk exposure and avoid costly breaches or damage to business reputation.

To aid the internet community in the fight against cyberattacks and vulnerabilities, OWASP compiled a list of the top ten assaults known as the OWASP Top 10 for a variety of technologies including Web Application, Cloud, Mobile Security, and so on. OWASP Penetration Testing is the process of testing the top 10 security risks listed in the OWASP top 10.

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How to do Network Penetration Testing?

There are three main network penetration testing methodologies:

1. Manual Penetration Testing

Manual network penetration testing requires a security analyst to try and break into the network by manually trying various exploits they can find. This is typically done with tools such as Backtrack Linux, which contains thousands of different types of hacking tools that an ethical hacker or cyber criminal would use in order to compromise your network.

2. Automated Network Penetration Testing (aka vulnerability assessment)

Instead of relying on an individual pentester’s experience and knowledge this approach uses software automation to conduct the tests themselves. Using automated network penetration testing reduces time and cost required for conducting regular assessments while still providing consistent results each time it runs. The downside is that these kinds of tests only provide you general network security status and do not necessarily identify network vulnerabilities.

3. Hybrid Penetration Testing

This approach is a combination of manual penetration testing methodologies with vulnerability assessment. The benefit here is that you get the accuracy provided by automated network penetration tests combined with the ability to specifically test for your business needs, which makes hybrid network penetration testing methodology most popular choice among companies today

What Tools Do I Need?

Network penetration testers use various tools during their work depending on what they’re trying to find out or accomplish at any given time. Some common network pentesting tools include:

  1. Vulnerability scanners such as Nessus or OpenVAS – these are typically used in automated network pentests.
  2. Social engineering software like SET (Social Engineer Toolkit) – this tool helps create phishing campaigns to expose network vulnerabilities .
  3. Exploitation frameworks like CANVAS (Commercial Network Vulnerability Assessment and Management Solution) or Metasploit – these tools help pentesters come up with new attack vectors on the fly.
  4. Network sniffers such as Wireshark – this tool helps identify network traffic patterns that might yield exploitable.
  5. Data persistence software like Meterpreter Session Extraction Tool (METS)- this tool can extract information about sessions stored in memory by Windows’ Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS), which may include passwords, hashes, user names, etc.
  6. Web application scanners like Astra Pentest & Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner – These are popular choice among companies today because it scans for SQL Injection attacks and other common exploits used against web applications network
  7. Discovery tools like Nmap – This tool helps map out your network and identify potential attack vectors

Summing Up…

Network penetration testing is an important step in a company’s security strategy. It helps identify potential vulnerabilities and issues that may occur to the network, so it can be fixed before any harm occurs. If you are considering this type of service for your own organization, make sure you do some research on reputable companies who offer network penetration testing services. You’ll want to find one with experience and expertise in IT networks because these types of tests should not be done without taking precautions against them being harmful or unsuccessful due to improper protocols.

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