Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

9/19/2018
09:40 AM
50%
50%

8 Keys to a Successful Penetration Test

Pen tests are expensive, but there are key factors that can make them worth the investment.
Previous
1 of 9
Next

(Image: AntonKarlik)

(Image: AntonKarlik)

In 1880, Prussian Field Marshal and military theorist Helmuth von Moltke the Elder wrote what can be translated in English as, "No plan of operations reaches with any certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main force." He meant that all plans are great until they run into reality.

That statement resonates today in cybersecurity. Many security professionals vet their security plans with reality via a penetration test, aka pen test, where a red team of white-hat hackers does their best to defeat the defenses established by the blue team of security. It is frequently an eye-opening experience for the blue team and their managers.

While virtually every security plan for an organization of any size calls for pen testing, these exercises tend to be expensive and frequently disruptive. It pays to make them as effective as possible. So what's the difference between a costly pen test that puts a tick in a check box versus one that's a legitimate tool for improving security?

Putting in the work to properly prepare for a pen test can lead to solid security benefits for the organization. More than half of the steps to a solid pen test occur prior to when the testing begins. That's not terribly unusual - aphorisms about practice, planning, and perfection are common - but it reinforces the idea that pen testing is not the sort of activity that can be taken lightly. And if it's going to be most effective for the organization, it can't be taken as an activity just for the sake of making auditors, regulators, or insurers happy.

The following steps for a successful pen test were gathered from personal experience, conversations with professionals including Tod Beardsley, director of research with Rapid7, Yonathan Klijnsma threat researcher at RiskIQ, and Stephen Boyer, founder and CTO of Bitsight Technologies, as well as numerous discussions with researchers at Black Hat USA and DEF CON 2018.

Have you been part of a pen test that has been highly valuable - or not? What steps did you find critical to making the pen test matter? Let us know in the comments section below.



 

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Previous
1 of 9
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
44% of Security Threats Start in the Cloud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/19/2020
Zero-Factor Authentication: Owning Our Data
Nick Selby, Chief Security Officer at Paxos Trust Company,  2/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9405
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
IBL Online Weather before 4.3.5a allows unauthenticated reflected XSS via the redirect page.
CVE-2020-9406
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
IBL Online Weather before 4.3.5a allows unauthenticated eval injection via the queryBCP method of the Auxiliary Service.
CVE-2020-9407
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-26
IBL Online Weather before 4.3.5a allows attackers to obtain sensitive information by reading the IWEBSERVICE_JSONRPC_COOKIE cookie.
CVE-2020-9398
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-25
ISPConfig before 3.1.15p3, when the undocumented reverse_proxy_panel_allowed=sites option is manually enabled, allows SQL Injection.
CVE-2015-5201
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-25
VDSM and libvirt in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Hypervisor (aka RHEV-H) 7-7.x before 7-7.2-20151119.0 and 6-6.x before 6-6.7-20151117.0 as packaged in Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization before 3.5.6 when VSDM is run with -spice disable-ticketing and a VM is suspended and then restored, allows r...