What is Penetration Testing?

Hackers continue to steal billions of dollars and millions of documents at an alarming rate while refining their techniques. One of these methods to defend against these assaults is Penetration Testing. This tutorial is an easy guide that will help to learn Penetration testing quickly. All you want to learn about Penetration Testing is covered in this tutorial. Here, we have packed the basics of Penetration Testing and its types, and many more. Okay! Let’s dive into the blog without any further ado!

Everywhere you look, technology is present. Businesses' reliance on information technology, such as the cloud, the internet of things, mobile devices, and social media, is growing at an alarming rate, which raises their cyber risk. You may discover a fresh headline about the most recent cybersecurity incident almost every day. Hackers continue to steal millions of records and enormous sums of money with worrying regularity while refining their techniques. Penetration testing is one method of defending against these assaults. We shall examine what penetration testing is and its various forms in this Tutorial. All of the following queries about penetration testing will be addressed.

Penetration Testing Tutorial - Table of Contents

What is Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing involves examining a system or network with various malicious approaches in order to find security flaws in an application. In this procedure, a legitimate simulated assault is used to exploit a system's weak areas.

This test's objective is to protect sensitive information from outsiders like hackers who might get unauthorised access to the system. Once the flaw has been found, it is leveraged to access sensitive data via exploiting the system.

A pen test is another name for a penetration test, and an ethical hacker is another name for a penetration tester. Through penetration testing, we can identify a computer system's, online application's, or network's weaknesses.

A penetration test will reveal whether the system's current defensive mechanisms are effective enough to thwart security intrusions. Reports on penetration tests also include preventative steps that can be performed to lessen the chance of the system being compromised.

If you want to enrich your career and become a professional in Penetration Testing, then enroll in "Penetration Testing Course Training". This course will help you to achieve excellence in this domain.

Why Penetration Testing?

In a business, penetration is crucial because:

  • Penetration testing is crucial to ensuring security since financial sectors including banks, investment banking, and stock trading exchanges want their data to be protected.
  • If a software system has already been compromised and the business needs to know if any dangers are still there in the system to prevent hacks in the future.
  • The most effective defence against hackers is preventative penetration testing.

Types of Penetration Testing

The types of penetration testing include those depending on the target's knowledge, the position of the penetration tester, or the locations where it is carried out. There are three different kinds of penetration testing:

  1. Black Box: In situations where the attacker is fully unaware of the target, black box penetration testing is used. The pen tester uses automated tools to find flaws and vulnerabilities, and this type takes a long time.
  2. White Box: White box penetration testing is when the target is completely disclosed to the penetration tester. The IP addresses, security measures in place, code samples, operating system specifics, etc. are all completely known to the attacker. It requires less time than black box penetration testing.
  3. Grey Box: Grey box penetration testing is performed when the tester knows little to nothing about the target. In this case, the target data, including IP addresses and URLs, will be partially accessible to the attacker.

How to do Penetration Testing?

The first step for a penetration tester is often to learn as much as they can about the target. Then he scans the system to find any potential weaknesses. And then he starts to attack. After an attack, he evaluates each vulnerability and associated risk. Finally, a thorough report describing the penetration test findings is delivered to higher authorities.

Depending on the company and the type of penetration test, penetration testing can be divided into a number of phases.

Step1: Planning Phase

The planning stage is the first. Here, the assailant learns as much as they can about the victim. Data examples include IP addresses, domain information, mail servers, and network topology. The scope and objectives of a test, as well as the systems to be tested and the testing techniques to be applied, are also defined during this phase. This is where an experienced penetration tester will spend the most of their time; this will aid in the subsequent phases of the assault.

Step 2: Discovery Phase

The attacker will engage with the target in an effort to find vulnerabilities based on the information gathered in the first phase. This makes it easier for a penetration tester to execute attacks utilising system flaws. Tools including port scanners, ping tools, vulnerability scanners, and network mappers are used at this phase.

The discovery phase of web application testing might be either dynamic or static:

  • Finding insecure routines, libraries, and logic implementation is the goal of static scanning.
  • In contrast to static analysis, where the tester passes different inputs to the application and records the answers, dynamic analysis is a more practical method of scanning.

Step 3: Attack Phase

This is the most important step and must be completed carefully. The actual harm is caused at this stage. For an attack to be launched on the target system, a penetration tester has to possess a specific set of abilities and methods. Using these methods, an attacker will attempt to obtain the data, infiltrate the system, launch dos assaults, etc. to determine the degree of vulnerability of the computer system, application, or network.

[ Check out Types of Cyber Attacks ]

Step 4: Risk Analysis & Recommendations

The ultimate aim of the penetration test is to gather evidence of the exploited vulnerabilities. This stage primarily takes into account all the previous processes as well as an assessment of the risks and vulnerabilities that may be present. Pen-testers occasionally offer some helpful suggestions to implement in this step to raise security levels.

Step 5: Report Generation

This is the last and most crucial action. The penetration test results are gathered into a thorough report in this step. Typically, this report contains the information below:

  • Recommendations from the earlier stage.
  • Identified vulnerabilities and the risk levels they carry.
  • An overview of the penetration test.
  • Ideas for improving future security.

Depending on the organisation and the kind of penetration test being undertaken, these phases may occasionally vary.

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Examples of Penetration Testing Tools

There are many different types of tools used in penetration testing, however, the key Pentest tools are:

1. Acunetix

Acunetix WVS provides security experts and software engineers with a variety of breathtaking capabilities in a simple, uncomplicated, and extremely durable device.

2. Astra Pentest

Astra Pentest is a security testing service that may be used by any company in any industry. Every vulnerability is found and the most effective repair is recommended thanks to a sophisticated vulnerability scanner and a group of skilled and motivated pen-testers.

  • Dynamic dashboard.
  • Business logic problems, price manipulation, and privileged escalation vulnerabilities are found continuously through CI/CD integration.
  • Utilize the login recorder addon from Astra to look behind the logged-in page.
  • Examine single-page apps and progressive web apps (PWA).
  • Reporting on compliance in real-time.
  • Absence of erroneous positives.

3. Intruder

Powerful vulnerability scanner Intruder identifies cybersecurity flaws in your digital estate, clarifies the risks, and aids in their correction before a breach may happen. It's the ideal solution for assisting with the automation of your penetration testing operations.

  • Your complete IT infrastructure has been subjected to over 9,000 automated checks.
  • Checks for cross-site scripting and SQL injection at the infrastructure and web layer.
  • Scan your system automatically whenever a new threat is found.
  • AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, API, Jira, Teams, and more have many integrations.
  • The Pro package from Intruder has a 30-day free trial period.

[ Check out Top 10 Automation Testing Tools ]

Roles and Responsibilities of Penetration Testers

A penetration tester's duties include:

  • To enable penetration tests, testers should obtain the necessary information from the organisation.
  • Identify weaknesses that could be used by hackers to attack a target computer
  • Pen Testers should behave responsibly while thinking and acting like genuine hackers.
  • It is important for penetration testers' work to be reproducible so that developers may easily correct it.
  • The dates when the test will start and end should be determined in advance.
  • During software testing, a tester should be accountable for any loss of the system or information.
  • A tester should maintain the privacy of all information.
Check out Top Penetration Testing Interview Questions and Answers that help you grab high-paying jobs

Manual Penetration vs Automated Penetration Testing

Manual Penetration TestingAutomated Penetration Testing
Running the tests for manual testing requires experienced specialists.When using automated test tools, less experienced experts can produce understandable reports.
Excel and other tools are needed for manual testing to be tracked.Tools for automation testing are centralised and uniform.
Sample outcomes in manual testing differ from test to test.Results from Automated Tests are consistent across all tests.
Users should keep memory cleanup in mind.Comprehensive cleanups will be made for automated testing.

[ Related Article: Automation Testing vs Manual Testing ]


The programme or system should be tested by testers who pretend to be hackers, and they must determine whether the code is created securely. If a security policy is effectively applied, a penetration test will be successful. To increase the efficacy of penetration testing, policy and technique should be considered.

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Last updated: 26 Feb 2024
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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