What is Pentesting

Learn Pentesting in 5 Minutes

What is pentesting?

Professionals in cyberspace perform penetration testing as a security measure to try and identify weaknesses in the computer system. The goal of this attack is to identify any vulnerabilities in the system that an attacker could exploit.

For example :

The situation can be compared to a bank employing a thief to attempt to break into their building and steal the vault. In the event that the would-be burglar is successful in breaking into the bank or the vault, the bank will obtain important insight into how they should strengthen their security protocols.

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Types of Pentesting:

  • Black Box Testing: The tester has no prior knowledge of the system.
  • White Box Testing: The tester has full knowledge of the system, including access to source code and architecture.
  • Gray Box Testing: The tester has partial knowledge, typically equivalent to what a typical user might have.

Different stages of Pentesting

  Planning and Reconnaissance: Define the scope and objectives of the test, gather information about the target (e.g., IP addresses, domain names).

  Scanning: Use tools to understand how the target responds to various intrusion attempts. This includes both static analysis (inspecting code) and dynamic analysis (testing in a running state).

  Gaining Access: Exploit identified vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access. Techniques may include SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), and other attack vectors.

  Maintaining Access: Determine if the vulnerability can be used to establish a persistent presence in the system, mimicking advanced persistent threats (APTs).

  Analysis: Compile the findings, detailing the vulnerabilities, the methods used to exploit them, and the data accessed.

  Remediation: Provide recommendations to fix the vulnerabilities found. This often involves patching software, updating configurations, and enhancing security measures.

  Retesting: After fixes are implemented, retest to ensure the vulnerabilities are resolved.

How is pen testing is conducted?

Pentests begin with a reconnaissance phase, in which an ethical hacker collects data and information to plan their simulated attack. After gaining the required information the focus shifts to gaining and maintaining access to the target system, which can be done using diverse set of tools.

Attack tools include software that generates brute-force attacks and SQL injections. There is also hardware specifically designed for pen testing, such as small inconspicuous boxes that can be plugged into a computer on the network to grant the hacker remote access to the network. In addition, an ethical hacker may employ social engineering techniques to discover vulnerabilities. For example, sending phishing emails to company employees, or even disguising themselves as delivery personnel to gain 

Common Tools:

  • Nmap: Network scanner.
  • Metasploit: Exploitation framework.
  • Burp Suite: Web vulnerability scanner.
  • Wireshark: Network protocol analyzer.


  • Identifying security weaknesses before they can be exploited by malicious actors.
  • Ensuring compliance with security standards and regulations.
  • Improving the overall security posture of an organization.


  • Requires skilled professionals with a deep understanding of security.
  • Potentially disruptive to normal operations if not carefully managed.
  • Legal and ethical considerations, especially when testing live environments.


Pentesting is an essential practice in today’s cybersecurity landscape. By simulating real-world attacks, organizations can identify and address vulnerabilities, ensuring their systems remain secure. Regular pentesting not only helps in maintaining compliance but also protects an organization’s reputation and improves its overall security posture.

For organizations looking to enhance their cybersecurity defenses, investing in professional pentesting services is a wise decision. The insights gained from these tests are invaluable in safeguarding against the ever-evolving threat landscape.

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