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What Is Penetration Testing?

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What is penetration testing?

Penetration testing is a way of trying to exploit the weaknesses of an organizations security defenses. Penetration testing may come in many forms and test different types liabilities. A few years ago people debated as to whether or not penetration testing was even needed. Now most people realize it is absolutely necessary. Although most people, when thinking of security breaches, think of network security in relation to hackers, there are many other security areas that must be tested. Some of these areas are physical security, telecommunications security, and environmental security. Other areas that may be tested are operating systems and applications, and social engineering. All of these areas are vital to the security of an organization. A breach in any of these systems may cause great detriment to the organization financially and a degradation of customer trust. Application and username/password weaknesses may be tested by using automated tools. These tools may also be used to find harmful software (virus, malware) which may lead to unlawful access to a company’s system.
The best penetration tools supply the following options:
1. Easily deployed, configured and used
2. Scans systems easily
3. Distinguishes weaknesses based on severity
4. Verification of weakness automated
5. Test weakness previously found to make sure they are no longer viable
6. Able to produce logs and reports on the weakness of the system
Not all weaknesses can be found by automated testing. There also needs to be manual penetration testing done. This testing may be done by users who are familiar with the system and are able to leverage their knowledge during a breach attempt. The tests should continue to be repeated until the systems cannot be breached; but testing does not stop there. Penetration testing is an ongoing continuous job....

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