Understanding Internal Penetration Testing
Internal penetration tests are an essential part of cyber security and involves detecting, exploiting & assessing weaknesses in your internal network. These vulnerabilities could be exploited by a potential attacker if they landed within your network, so it’s vital they are remediated quickly and effectively.
By having knowledge of vulnerabilities within your network you can begin to outline a strategy to help you begin remediation.
Internal penetration tests may be conducted on the network with the aid of vulnerability assessments. Depending on the scope of the test it may also be worth considering other types of internal penetration testing such as a crown jewels assessment or assumed breach.
The Purpose of Internal Penetration Testing
Internal penetration testing seeks to strengthen an organisation’s security posture, stay in line with industry regulations and protect sensitive data from potential cyber-attacks. The results of the test are documented via a penetration test report which will aid your organisation in not only understanding your security risk but help identify key security remediations.
Aspire’s specialists work together with clients to create a bespoke plan on all penetration assessments creating appropriate strategies for evaluation purposes.
The Process of Internal Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is an essential step in strengthening the security posture of any organisation. This four-part approach comprises Planning, Discovery, Attack and Reporting.
This four-part approach often includes but is not limited to; reconnaissance, vulnerability assessments and exploitation activities to identify potential weaknesses and address them accordingly.
Reconnaissance and Intelligence Gathering
The process of internal penetration testing begins with reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, essential steps that inform the testing plan. This includes observing and mapping out internal networks as well as pinpointing potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities on target systems.
Penetration testers utilise this data to develop a specific approach for their tests. In order to gather such information, they must take certain actions first such as identifying connected devices associated with the network being tested.
Having identified an accurate scope of the network will not only help penetration testers gain a better understanding of how an organisation’s systems work but it will also provide them an opportunity to create a tailor-made test plans tailored towards attacking any security issues found along the way.
This is why conducting initial reconnaissance using intelligence gathering techniques is so critical when carrying out any kind of internal penetration test: by gaining more insight into its architecture, reasonable strategies can be developed, leaving less room for mistakes once actual testing commences.
Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis
In internal penetration testing conducting a vulnerability assessment is necessary in order to find and assess any present flaws within the infrastructure, this can involve into automated scanning as well as manual testing, so that all vulnerabilities are identified and analysed extensively. Through this process of assessing potential threats, it’s possible to identify risks while determining their severity.
Exploitation and Validation
Penetration testing of internal networks aims to assess the networks durability and reaction by using any discovered vulnerabilities that mimi8c real-world attacks. This phase is paramount for determining how efficient existing security measures are as well as areas in need of development.
During exploitation penetration testers take advantage of weak spots in the target network. To validate these discoveries, they verify and authenticate the vulnerability.