Penetration Testing Guide for Beginners - The Hack Network

Hackers’ Guide To Penetration Testing

Pen testing is an ethical hacking process  organizations use to assess vulnerabilities of a system, network, or application. Vulnerabilities can occur because of Poor architecture designs, weak coding, wrong configuration and only an ethical hacker can disclose those vulnerabilities. The end product of penetration testing is a report containing the explanation of vulnerability, assessment procedures taken, solutions, and recommended actions. This article is a guide to what is penetration testing is and how it works.

What are some Advantages of Penetration Testing?

Penetration testing has excellent advantages for the company’s infrastructure because it scans and exploit vulnerabilities more effectively by demonstrating how hackers can access your system and obtain the data. They use a similar procedure of how cybercriminals can breach your infrastructure. The process of standard penetration test would more accurately demonstrate the actual risks of the exploited vulnerabilities.

In online infrastructure, ethical hackers can perform pen-testing to test Intrusion Prevention Systems, Intrusion Detection Systems, and Web Applications Firewalls. Because the procedure would alert any cybersecurity infrastructure vulnerabilities during the test, you need an independent ethical hacker. They can provide you with an expert opinion about the current status of security and possible enhancement.

Who Needs Penetration Testing?

Online digital infrastructure, websites, organizations, or companies with an online presence or mobile application need to conduct a pen test regularly. Companies should assess before and after changes and on a periodical basis. Hackers can identify new vulnerabilities throughout time as cybersecurity threats also keep developing. Any system or application that would go live should go through penetration testing first. A pen test has also become an inseparable part of modern infrastructure maintenance.

What Are The Importance of Penetration Testing?

Every business with an online presence needs to perform penetration testing for the following reasons.

  • The company needs ethical hackers for pen-test because they ensure the best performance of current infrastructure, including the configuration and implementation.
  • Develop solutions to address vulnerabilities in the infrastructure, process, and application.
  • To examine and chain the effects of vulnerabilities found in the infrastructure of the security system.
  • Input validation control assessment. The test ensures that the system only accesses sanitized input. The multiple tests can assess the effectiveness of current controls.
  • Improve the responsiveness of your current security system. A pen test would expose how the current teams respond to intrusions. This exposure allows you to improve the process and procedures of internal incident response.
Is Penetration Testing and Vulnerability Assessment The Same Thing?

Penetration testing and vulnerability assessment are two major security test procedures. However, they’re not the same thing, majorly referring to its scope of the procedure, software used, and validation.

Scope of procedure: The vulnerability assessment covers the whole infrastructure while the penetration testing targets specific components of the system or application with a predetermined scope.

Testing Tools: Although a penetration test uses customized scripts as penetration testing tools, a vulnerability assessment uses dedicated vulnerability scanning tools like Qualys or Nessus.

Scanning Targets: While a vulnerability assessment scans for known security vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, a pen test aims to exploit vulnerabilities on the scanned components and chain them together to reveal how hackers can gain access.

Validation: A penetration test validates the results to reveal particular vulnerabilities or false positives that a vulnerability assessment does not cover.

Customization: Based on the tools used, an advanced penetration testing test allows script customization to target specific vulnerabilities, make it more intelligent while a vulnerability assessment isn’t likely customizable.

Hackers use both penetration tests and vulnerability assessments to achieve comprehensive yet detailed results.

What Are the Types of Penetration Tests?

There are some different types of penetration tests based on the frameworks and methods used, including

Internal Infrastructure Penetration Test

Because the internal system and network may host sensitive traffics and credentials, This type of penetration ensures a complete system and network scan to uncover vulnerabilities and exploits used to gain access.. Running network penetration testing can reveal the actual health of the internal network.

External Infrastructure Test

The test runs on external infrastructure by checking for ports open on VPN gateways, bypass authentications, and other mechanisms designed to exploit services. The external ranges keep developing in terms of quality and quantity that make external infrastructure tests regularly conducted.

Web Application Penetration Test

The web is the primary online presence of an organization. Web applications may host multiple vulnerabilities anywhere they accept input which include API frameworks, forms, server platforms, and so forth. They have to apply the test after implementing changes before the application goes live.

Mobile Application Penetration Test

This test reveals multiple vulnerabilities of a mobile application and includes how the input is securely accepted, stored, and transmitted. The mobile application penetration test also exploits the openness of the application’s web services.

Wireless Penetration Test

When dealing with a wireless connection, encryption becomes the subject of attempts and hackers will attack a wireless network that employs WPA and WEP encryption to gain access. The penetration test for wireless networks would reveal the current security vulnerabilities of the network.

Desktop Penetration Test

An organization’s server and network infrastructure, including the endpoints or connected desktops, faces multiple threats. The desktop penetration test helps you identify vulnerabilities in your endpoint security and this type of pen test is ultimately inevitable. Especially for any organization who employs desktops as their endpoint.

Who Should Perform Penetration Test?

A licensed ethical hacker typically conducts a penetration test with an order of the client company. An independent third-party security expert is the ideal entity to perform penetration testing jobs with a comprehensive report containing the list of vulnerabilities found, solutions, and how to implement the solutions.


The use of penetration tests is inevitable for any organization with an online presence. It uncovers multiple vulnerabilities in the infrastructure within the scope or component agreed by the tester and client company. Although there are various types of penetration testing websites, desktop, mobile applications, wireless networks, only a licensed ethical hacker should perform penetration tests.

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